Columbia, Missouri Downtown Charrette
As cities look to build upon recent success in revitalization, they are finding new tools and techniques to reinvest in existing underutilized infrastructures, reconnect residents with local histories, repopulate vacant and blighted areas, restore local economies, revitalize natural assets, and rewealth their communities for decades to come. The City of Columbia collaborated with the design team, local property owners, business owners, developers, institutions, and residents to create a preferred 15 – 20 year plan for two focus areas located in the downtown area. The Plan presents the preferred option plans for priority areas in detail, synthesizes all of the development, transit, economic, and sustainability recommendations and assessments to the City of Columbia, and ultimately operates as the guiding document for the future vision. The first node is the North Village Arts District, which has a long history of community arts, current reinvestment in former industrial sites, consolidated land ownership, prominent institutional presence, and unique neighborhood fabric and identity. The second is the Broadway & Providence area, defined by open spaces and natural features, large underdeveloped parcels of land, the edge of the public housing, consolidated land ownership, and numerous historic assets and streets.
Downtown Columbia comprises a diverse community of residents and users, a scale and use of urban fabric well suited to walkablity, and vibrant street life. However, the Downtown Core suffers from poor visibility from major arterial roads, lack of a clear boundary and coherent entrances from the east and west, and land vacancy on the periphery of the district that hampers connectivity and walkability to surrounding neighborhoods. The Vision for Downtown Columbia addresses these challenges by capitalizing on the strengths that define Downtown. The Vision calls us to: “Build upon Downtown Columbia’s historical and cultural heritage and legacy; support continued, incremental reinvestment and revitalization; develop a walkable downtown and surrounding neighborhoods framed by great streets, parks, and public space; and encourage environmental stewardship, the creation of social capital, and economic development.”
North Village Eco-Arts District creates a new gateway to the downtown by enhancing the existing character of institutional development at the entry points and edges of the node; completing andextending the street network to form new connections; and establishing a neighborhood centered on a new park and market, well-served by multiple modes of transportation, and defined by a diversity of housing, and an eclectic composition of people.
The Broadway & Providence priority area is to create a new central, green civic space by expanding Flat Branch Park, surrounding it with dense new development and infill development, and connecting the areas with urban boulevards, bike boulevards, and signature streetscapes.