As NP wrote about in July, the City of Richardson, Texas launched the Collins/Arapaho Transit-Oriented Development and Innovation District Study in April 2018 with the intention of creating a vision and plan for a 1,200-acre industrial area within the city. The district is at the heart of Richardson’s Telecom Corridor®, which has been a job center and hub of technology and innovation in the region.
The American Planning Association’s Texas Chapter has recognized the project for its excellence in economic development planning with a Silver Award, to be celebrated at the organization’s upcoming conference in November. These awards recognize efforts to transform economies and stimulate economic development.
In September the City received a Made to Move grant in recognition of its efforts to improve mobility; it is among five cities that will share $500,000 in funding. The city will implement a “road diet”, which will remove driving lanes and add bicycle lanes and an at-grade pedestrian crossing to better integrate the light-rail station with the planned Innovation District as well as help install the City’s first roundabouts to help calm traffic.
In addition to the placemaking efforts that NP wrote about in July, the Study puts forward strategies to update the district’s older, industrial building stock in order to attract new businesses and support entrepreneurs who are looking to start or scale up. The City is considering ways to incentivize the modernization of buildings and enable greater zoning flexibility in industrial zones. Currently, the City is reviewing a draft form based code for the district.
The OnMain District in Dayton continues to move forward with several important milestones. The District encompasses a 38-acre former fairgrounds site, which is being re-imagined as a new mixed use, pedestrian friendly development in the heart of the city.
Demolition on the existing fairground buildings has been completed setting the stage for redevelopment. In addition, the project hit another key milestone when the Dayton Planning Board approved the plan for redevelopment.
OnMain is a direct result of the Fairgrounds for the Future process, for which NP provided real estate, economic development and feasibility analysis. NP is continuing to provide support to OnMain Inc. – the master developer and manager of the property.
Sarah Kelly, AICP and Kyle May, AICP will be speaking, with Erin Barger of Envision Athens and Kevin Hively of Ninigret Partners, at the American Planning Association’s National Conference in San Francisco, California on Tuesday, April 16 at 8:30 am. The session, Tackling Equity: Crafting Communities of Opportunity, will draw from experience in three parts of the country (Montgomery, Alabama; Northwest Dayton, Ohio and Athens-Clark County, Georgia) to demonstrate that planners can play a pivotal role in improving opportunities for disadvantaged populations by managing processes that are bold, honest and committed to incremental change.
Forward Together, an ambitious project to establish a shared vision for Flint and Genesee County’s economic future, kicked off in February with the first convening of the 24-member Steering Committee. The effort is supported by a unique partnership between the City of Flint, Genesee County, and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.
Through a highly participatory and inclusive process Forward Together intends to create a community-developed vision and blueprint for achieving economic vitality in the region. NP will provide economic analysis for the Planning NEXT lead consultant team.
New Haven, CT was among the 50 cities recently announced by the National League of Cities to participate in the $100 million City Innovation Ecosystem Program. This program recognizes cities that have made specific and significant commitments to support their local innovation economies and provides resources to help grow a new generation of talent and innovation driven businesses.
New Haven’s commitment is to double the number of professional software coders by 2022. This goal is part of the city’s new joint effort to become “the city that codes”. The effort has three key strategies:
· Inclusive recruitment to engage those in the community currently detached from the tech sector;
· Skill development through informal clubs, short academies and other stepping stones to skills; and
· Professional-level training at a new satellite location of Silicon Valley’s Holberton School.
New Haven’s program builds from the city’s recent work to support innovation through CTNext’s Innovation Places program. Ninigret Partners, working with the Elm City Innovation Collaborative and other local partners, prepared the strategic plan and submission that led the award for the CTNext program. NP has also been actively involved in providing strategic advice to the city on growing its digital and biotech sectors.
What exactly is economic development? And what does it take to do it well?
These are the kinds of questions that Urbanophile Aaron Renn dives into with NP's Kevin Hively and Interface Studio's Scott Page in a recent podcast. This is the second of two podcasts, the first of which focused on talent.
Kevin and Scott provide insights on the best ways to understand your local economy as well as key factors for economic growth, particularly in the downtown and innovation district context. Here's a hint...it's a lot more about evangelists and patron saints than it is about real estate.
Take a listen.
Talent is the primary criteria for economic development these days. So what can cities do to attract, grow and retain it? And what are the up and coming cities that have a shot at being the next hot place people want to be?
Take a listen to Urbanophile Aaron Renn's interview with NP's Kevin Hively and Interface Studio's Scott Page to find out. Using the Amazon HQ2 decision as a launch point, they offer up insights on how we can better understand the potential for talent in a place and what economic developers and planning professionals actually can do to influence the growth of talent in a city.
NP is pleased to announce a variety of news this month:
Comprehensive Planning in Greenville, SC
NP is part of the Planning NEXT led team for the update of Greenville, SC’s Comprehensive Plan. GVL2040 will be a two-year effort aimed at updating the city’s 2009 comprehensive plan. The city, located near the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. Greenville is a highly rated city on a number of best places to live, best places to visit rankings. It has numerous assets including a thriving food and cultural scene, the innovative Clemson University International Car Research Center, and a pedestrian friendly, picturesque downtown often held as a national model for other cities. NP will be responsible for the economic development strategy elements of the plan.
UGA Supported Athens Innovation District Launched
A year ago Ninigret Partners wrapped up the Athens Innovation Initiative project that provided Athens Clarke County GA with a roadmap to gain greater economic benefits from its growing creative and entrepreneurial community. One of the immediate outcomes was the announcement of the Athens Creative Development Campus. Part of our work for Athens pointed out the growing research base and entrepreneurial energy at the University of Georgia.
Another key outcome of our work was the President of UGA appointing an internal task force to look at a UGA driven Innovation District to build on our findings. The Innovation District Task Force recently delivered its final report to the President, which outlines a strategic vision and corresponding action steps to create a campus hub that sits adjacent to the downtown to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and industry collaboration. Last week the University of Georgia’s President Jere W. Morehead assigned a launch team to oversee the initial stages of the Athens Innovation District.
Envision Athens Wins Outstanding Planning Award
Just this month the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded Envision Athens with the Outstanding Planning Process Award—recognizing the quality and completeness of the overall planning process. As part of the Envision Athens process, NP provided a detailed economic assessment including a focus on economic infrastructure and workforce availability. Here is link to earlier reporting on our work for Envision Athens.
NP Welcomes Its Newest Team Member
NP welcomes Keelia Kentor to the NP team. Keelia brings with her experience in transportation planning, city planning, and campus master planning. She will up our game for physical planning and has already been instrumental in research related to transportation corridor and housing studies this past summer. And the best part – we are also less graphically challenged thanks to her design abilities! For more info about Keelia check out our About Us page.
NP has worked in a number of older industrial cities across the country. Many of these are struggling to rebuild their downtown core due to fundamental a chicken or egg dilemma: “I need amenities like retail and restaurants to get people downtown but without people already downtown how do I get restaurants and retail”?
NP advises our clients to take small, impactful interim steps to prove a market exists. For instance, recently NP worked on a restaurant incubator program for Brockton, MA. During the course of the study it became clear that the concept required too much capital for a market that wasn’t quite ready to fully believe in the downtown as a destination. So, we suggested an interim strategy around a low cost, pop up idea on an empty site.
And what do you know – Prova! Brockton happens. The best part – Prova literally translates to “proof”. We love the crowd funding aspect to show community support, the low cost approach to design to reduce the risk of failure and activating an empty lot in a strategic location. We can’t wait til it opens.
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