21st Century Planning and Downtown Organizations
You'll learn about:
The role business improvement districts, downtown development authorities and other quasi-governmental organizations play in public engagement and advancing the role of planning in communities.
The opportunities and challenges that arise when planning occurs among multiple organizations.
Opportunities for municipalities to utilize BID-like organizations as partners in implementation.
Downtowns across the country are experiencing a renaissance. Since the end of the great recession, urban centers have seen gains in population, jobs and economic generating activities. This growth not only benefits downtowns, but entire cities and metropolitan regions. Planning is a vital component to that trend, and in order to ensure continued growth and prosperity it is important planning remain front and center in the public discourse. To that end, business improvement districts, downtown development authorities and other quasi-governmental and non-profit place management organizations, which often lead or partner with municipalities to complete planning initiatives, are vital to the future health of our cities. This session will touch upon recently completed planning initiatives that embody this trend and provide lessons to planners on how to successfully manage plans being led by multiple organizations. The primary case study will be GR Forward, a comprehensive plan and investment strategy for Downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan that outlines opportunities to utilize Downtown as an investment hub and economic generator for the City and the entire West Michigan Region. The plan was completed through collaboration between Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), the City of Grand Rapids and several other partners. The session will include a presentation with representatives from the City, DGRI and the multi-disciplinary consulting team to give insight into the importance of collaboration across community leaders, provide an overview of the GR Forward process and outcomes, and offer lessons to other cities for utilizing organizations outside municipal government to advance planning raise the expectations for how plans should be done.
, Bishop Land Design
Confirmed SpeakerScott Bishop is the Founding Principal of Bishop Land Design BLD, a registered landscape architect and a human ecologist. He works around the world and designs within a variety of environments and ecologies including Eastern Africa, the Middle East, North America, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. Scott is currently the Professor of the Practice in the Urban Landscape and Sustainable Urban Environments programs in the School of Architecture at Northeastern University. He was recently Visiting Critic at Syracuse University, the Cejas Eminent Scholar at Florida International University and a visiting critic at the University of Puerto Rico. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design as a studio critic for the Department of Landscape Architecture, and he directed the Stoss Studio for the Sasaki Distinguished Visiting Critic Award at the Boston Architectural College. During his decade of leadership at Stoss, the firm earned the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Architecture. Scott holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic.
, Grand Rapids
Confirmed SpeakerTim Kelly, AICP is the Vice President of Planning and Development for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
, Interface Studio, LLC
Confirmed SpeakerScott is an urban designer and planner with degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgia Tech. He is the founder of Interface Studio, an inventive and imaginative planning and urban design firm in Philadelphia. Scott’s experience encompasses community revitalization strategies, city-wide housing plans, waterfront design, downtown revitalization, design guidelines and economic development and he has led projects in diverse locations such as Detroit, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Macon and Philadelphia. His work has utilized creative public outreach techniques in each project to enhance communication and collaboration between city officials, business leaders, non-profit organizations and local residents. Interface Studio's locally and nationally recognized work has resulted in creative and achievable actions that have been implemented at the community and city level. Scott is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, serves on the Boards of the Design Advocacy Group and Citizen's Planning Institute in Philadelphia and was nominated for a Pew Arts Fellowship in 2014. His research on urban design, emerging technologies and sustainability has been presented and published both in the United States and Europe.
, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
, Grand Rapids
Confirmed SpeakerAn award-winning planner by trade and an economist at heart, Kristopher Larson has spent the last decade helping good cities become great. Career stops as an urban designer and an economic developer enable him to speak with an enlightened enthusiasm about how the confluence marketplace dynamics, architecture, and the public realm translate into defining, place-making experiences. Larson currently serves as President & CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), the organization that administers both the tax increment finance and self-assessment districts for Michigan’s second largest city. In that stead, Larson sets the course for public and private improvements within the Downtown area and manages an annual budget over $7M. He has held positions on both the public and private sides of community leadership, with career stops in the Midwest and on both coasts of the United States. Prior to joining DGRI in 2012, Larson served as the Vice President of the Downtown Long Beach Associates from 2009-2012, and as the senior Planner at the Raleigh Urban Design Center (UDC) from 2007-2009. At the UDC, he led the development of the 20-year plan for Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Additionally, Larson also worked to develop a set of market-based metrics and benchmarks to guide public policy development. His work in defining the nexus between planning, policymaking, and market-based economics is heralded by planning enthusiasts and critics alike. Before joining the UDC, Larson served as the Deputy Director of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. In that role, he helped gain the commitment of the City of Raleigh to invest nearly $300 M in public infrastructure in the Downtown. Within five years, that public investment yielded over $2 Billion in private investment. His proven ability to position organizations and communities for success is derived from a combination of strategic positioning, unrelenting passion, and facilitating inter-organizational collaborations that yield powerful results. An insatiable learner, Kristopher is constantly seeking to expand his knowledge of cities through service as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association (IDA), and as a member of American Planning Association (APA). The IDA has awarded three Pinnacle Awards, their highest honor, to his projects in the fields and Planning, Advocacy, and Marketing. Additionally, Kristopher has been honored as a member of the “40 under 40” in both Long Beach and Grand Rapids, and in 2014 was named Grand Rapids’ “Young Professional of the Year”. In 2010, he earned the certified planner credential, AICP, from the APA, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NC State University.