Friday, May 1, 2015

Commercial District News Round Up

Your 'One New York' Cheat Sheet
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio released 'One New York' which is a plan to "preserve and enhance New York City’s role as a leading global city."  If you don't have the time to read this 332 page behemoth, this link gives you the quick run down.  What we personally found very exciting was the consideration given to the role that neighborhood business districts play in the health of the city and the quality of life of local residents.
Photo credit: Demetrius Freeman
Companies Trade Suburbs for City Life
Trend watch: a reversal from decades of company exodus to the suburbs, some companies are now looking at urban downtowns as the next frontier to growing their companies, as well as attracting and retaining a younger workforce that is renting more and drawn to more walkable communities. Expedia plans to move to downtown Seattle and likewise Motorola Mobility plans to head downtown Chicago.
Image source: Wall Street Journal | Image credit: Expedia
Asheville Just 'Happened' to Develop a Nice Downtown - Or Did It?
A long and slow process to rebuild downtown Asheville has produced great results, taking community involvement and optimism.  Its downtown was once barren in the 60's and 70's after the effects of a one-two punch - a highway through downtown and Asheville Mall. Check out the before and after pictures and process recounted by a long-term local.
Photo credit: Romantic Asheville
Heart of the Community program selects six new cities to receive placemaking grants
Non-profit organizations in six U.S. cities will receive Placemaking grants from Southwest Airlines to assist in renewing "underutilized public spaces."  The cities and spaces are:
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: Civic Plaza
  • Ft. Myers, Florida: Lee County Regional Library
  • Jacksonville, Florida: Hemming Park
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 4th & Wisconsin Area
  • Portland, Maine: Congress Square Park
  • St. Louis, Missouri: Strauss Park 

Image source:
Urban Blight Isn't Just Bad To Look At, It's Bad For Your Health
Not an extensive study but points to connection between urban blight and health, of note heart rate. Heart monitors were strapped to volunteers and monitored when they were in blighted areas versus greener open areas. The study coordinator is confident this study will lead to a larger study.

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