Prospect Avenue Nodal Study: Wrapping up Phase I

Phase I of the KCDC urban design studio’s main project, the Prospect Avenue Nodal Study, is coming to an end. KCDC students presented their findings to a group of professionals on Monday, October 1st, and to the project advisory group on Wednesday, October 3rd. The establishment of the project boundary and conclusions driven from cross-mapping allowed us to create a conceptual framework or an overall understanding of Prospect Avenue.

Development of a study area
(maps left to right: topography, highways, neighborhoods, & 1/4 mile)

The initial project boundary was from Independence Avenue on the North to the 75th Street on the South, however, initial analysis indicated the need to further establish the project boundary. In order to achieve this, we investigated different factors and conditions that influence Prospect Avenue:

  1. Initiatives and Plans: Investigating the boundary lines of existing plans and initiatives conducted in Kansas City. Kansas City Playbook took hierarchy.

  2. Watersheds: Considering floodplain and hydrology elements within Kansas City.

  3. Neighborhoods Along Prospect: Defining lines of established neighborhoods touching Prospect Avenue and any other adjacent neighborhoods.

  4. Census Tract Blocks: Mapping common subdivisions of people into a cohesive boundary around Prospect Avenue based on census data.

  5. ¼ Mile Walk Boundary: Specifying the distance traveled from Prospect Avenue after walking approximately 5 minutes.

  6. 71 Highway: Charting the major highway division along Prospect Avenue; 71 breaks Prospect Avenue into two east and west sides. Since its construction, 71 Highway has displaced over 10,000 people.

It’s important to note that the project boundary is not set in stone; it will remain flexible throughout the project and may respond to additional findings throughout the process.

In addition to furthering the project boundary, we continued to push the mapping a step further. Once inventory mapping was complete, it was essential to start cross-mapping to establish the key conditions of Prospect Avenue:

  1. History: The present conditions of Prospect Avenue are a result of the past conditions. We are calling these conditions “barriers.”

  2. Land Programming: There is an overall lack of day-to-day services. Vacant parcels could be used as an opportunity to gain some of these missing services.

  3. Transportation: 71 Highway is the highest traveled transit line in the metropolitan area.

  4. Social-Economics: Not many people work and live within the boundary. There is a racial discrepancy between work and living.

  5. Physical Conditions: Large scale physical cross-corridor connections and significant viewsheds tie Prospect Avenue back to Kansas City.

  6. Urban Morphology: The urban form is poorly defined. Patterns and unique blocks are established from the change in urban form.

  7. Architectural identity: Five residential types are found along Prospect Avenue. Existing visual patterns are cohesive but fragmented.

Continuing the further development of a conceptual framework will guide the next phase of the Prospect Nodal Study. The conceptual framework will include the issues and conditions that arise from the findings. Our vision, mission, and goals create a roadmap of where we want to go and how to get there.

Vision: Our vision is a community-focused platform that establishes a cohesive urban concept for the future of Prospect Avenue, leveraging the corridor as a uniquely desirable place within Kansas City.

Mission: Our mission is to create a conceptual framework through the identification, evaluation, and exploration of the current conditions which define the Prospect Corridor. The intent of the framework is to encourage social connections and economic growth through strategic design intervention and development policies. Catalytic nodes are selected for strategic exploration using the conceptual framework developed through the analysis of the Prospect Corridor.

Goal: Our goals are to test and propose a design platform for:

  1. Cultural Identity Development

  2. Safety and Security

  3. Diverse, Affordable, And Quality Housing

  4. Economic Opportunity

  5. Environmental Quality

  6. Responsive (Alternative) TOD Strategies

  7. Reintegration into the Greater KC Area

We will continue to further the vision, mission, and goals of Prospect Nodal Study as the project continues. Our next professional review is set for October 22nd. We will present progress findings to receive feedback and input that will help us continue to push the project further. 

Lastly, on October 11th, the KCDC held its first public lecture of the 2018/19 academic year with Brent Ryan, Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. During the lecture, Brent discussed his book The Largest Art which provides a new foundational theory of urban design that is based on a more pluralistic, democratic vision of the city. Brent’s lecture is significant to the Prospect Avenue Nodal Study because it provided a theoretical framework for looking at and understanding the city which is aligned with the analytical design considerations for the project. The analytical categories that Brent proposed as part of his new manifesto on urban design (scale, time, property, agents, and form) allow us to further understand our analytical findings and strategically organize them to generate a basis for urban design iterations.

Meet the 2018-19 KCDC Studio

As a studio, before moving forward and discussing our project any more we wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves so that when you visit our Instagram (@KCDesignCenter) or read through our newsletter you will be able to put a name to a face.

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ALEX OVERBAY

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Independence, MO

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at HOK in Tampa, FL.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I chose KCDC for the unique opportunity to work on real design studies for Kansas City with students from multiple design disciplines.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “My favorite part has been the research. I enjoy learning the history of the city I grew up in and I'm excited to help make it a better place through design.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I'm looking forward to learning how to blend our skills between architects, landscape architects and planners to make our designs stronger than they would be if we worked independently.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “I personally love being close to my family while I'm finishing my last year of school. It's good to be home.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “There may have been a bigger selection of secondary classes to choose from, but I still enjoy the classes I was able to find here in Kansas City.”

ANDREW YOUNG

Department: Urban Planning

Where are you from?: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at TranSystems Corporation in Kansas City, MO.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “My interest in urban design compelled me to attend school in Kansas City rather than returning to Manhattan. Hands-on experience provided in this setting will be invaluable as I seek a career post-graduation.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Discovering all the nuances of an area in Kansas City I’m unfamiliar with.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Finishing.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “The amount of cultural opportunities to engage in and the pride citizens feel toward their community.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Of course, nothing beats game-day in Manhattan.”

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ASHTON MCWHORTER

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Overland Park, Kansas

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at Merriman Anderson Architects in Dallas, TX.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “The opportunity to work cross-disciplinary in a studio interested me the most and having the experience of working on an Urban Design project.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “My favorite part of the project so far has been looking at the history of the project area and learning how to map information.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I am looking forward to starting to narrow down areas of focus and begin planning and designing.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “My favorite part about being in Kansas City is being able to live at home and going home to my dogs everyday.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “The thing I miss most about Manhattan is the community of friends in the college of Architecture, and not being on campus for my brother’s first year of college.”

BASIL FREEMAN

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at BRR Architecture.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “A great opportunity to study in Kansas City”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Looking at broad scale information that deals with the condition of Kansas City.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “To see what kinds of improvements would be needed for the study area.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “Access to all the amenities of downtown.”

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CALEB WAGNER

Department: Landscape Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at EDSA in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I am interested in Urban Design and want to further develop my knowledge and skills of understanding and designing for the future urban environment.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Being able to work in a real life setting and a place that has been a part of my life since birth.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Giving back to the great city of Kansas City.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “It will always be home.”

CHARLIE VUE

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at HTK in Topeka, KS.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I plan to work in KC for a long time after graduation, and I believe the KCDC program is a great place to start. I hope to work effectively with my fellow classmates for the community and learn more about Kansas City along the way.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “The best part so far is working with others and pinning up our work, remembering that everything that is done is done collectively and for the people of Prospect.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I am looking forward to drawing analyses of where potential nodes along Prospect may be as well as envisioning how they may help the communities around them.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “I enjoy walking through the various areas of Kansas City such as downtown or the city market and eating the food around there.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “There are three things that I miss: I miss my friends who are on campus, I definitely miss the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex, and I miss shopping at Dillons.”

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CHELSEY THIBODO

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Kansas

Study Abroad or Internship: N/A

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “To be closer to home.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “ Learning about the history of Kansas City.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “The end! Seeing what recommendations we come up with!”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “It’s home.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Radina’s”

DENNIS TONG

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Belton, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at HOK in Tampa, FL.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “It’s a unique opportunity for a different style of learning!”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Understanding the needs and wants of a the Prospect Corridor and thinking of way to improve the lives and health of its residents.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I’m really looking forward to pulling a project together that will help the residents of KC!”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “I love the culture and environment of the area. It’s also really great to have a studio downtown to take in and understand the urban fabric of Kansas City.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Chick fil a always being close by.”

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ELANA CARTER

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Quincy, Illinois

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at HTK in Overland Park, KS

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “Because I was excited to be apart of a program that focuses on group projects and city improvements, and I was also excited to work downtown in the great city of Kansas City.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Collaborating with other students, and getting to know a new part of the city.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “To see the outcome of a new vision that can actually help people in this area.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “The architecture, food, and the people.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Trees.”


GEORGE AGUILAR

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Design build of an integrated water management system that articulated the pre-existing qualities of the space.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “The integration of the KCDC into their community allows for design complexities to be solved through unique avenues of focus.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Working as a group has been an integral part of the current process and provides multiple perspectives which challenge the initial thoughts of just one individual.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “The integration of the KCDC and the community is the one aspect of which I am most excited about.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “The culture in Kansas City is truly unique and there is no place like in the world.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “The campus amenities.”

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JADENN KELLEY

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Independence, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at Merriman Anderson Architecture in Dallas, TX.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I found it interesting that the departments mix and the strong connection to KC.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Precedent study, its interesting to see where this project could go”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I can't wait to get to the nodes, and really implementing the culture of Prospect into.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “Being close to my family.”

JAYE PETERS

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Shawnee, Kansas

Study Abroad or Internship: Study Abroad in Orvieto, Italy.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I wanted to be challenged in a different way than I have been before in my academic career. Working as a team on a project is something I knew I needed to begin preparing for and KCDC offers the perfect opportunity for this. Not to mention the networking and truly hands-on experience that comes with being located in the heart of downtown!”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “The site visit! It was more informative than I'd imagined it would be and I love the fact that our studio is so closely located to our site. I also enjoy that, because it is a group effort, I am being introduced to so many new people and their strengths. I definitely have something to learn from each and every one of my classmates.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Potentially making a difference not only on the Prospect Corridor, but in the city as a whole. Prospect is a major artery of East KC and through successful design decisions, the identity of the Corridor can have major positive changes.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “Besides being close to my family, I really enjoy the feeling of being in a downtown setting. I feel as though it connects our studio to a large variety of people and information that we can use to further our project that would just not be available in a small town like Manhattan.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Of course I miss the classmates I have been in studio with for the last 4 years, and many of my previous professors, but I wouldn't change my situation.”

LAUREN SILVERS

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: St. Louis, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Internship at Bergman, Walls & Associates in Las Vegas, NV.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “The collaboration aspect.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Inventory Mapping.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “The development of Nodes”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “KC is my second home, all my friends and family are here.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “College Campus Experience.”

MICHAEL WEST

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Study Abroad in Orvieto, Italy

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “To learn about the planning profession and urban design in a more real context.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Learning from the landscape architects and planners.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Developing my skills as an urban designer.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “The local culture and food.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Just Pizza Shuttle.”

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RACHEL RANKIN

Department: Landscape Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Study Abroad in Copenhagen, and Internship at Clark Condon Associates in Houston, TX.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “Having a studio in a downtown area is such a rejuvenating feeling and really inspires me day to day. This is also a unique studio in that it is much more collaborative than most other academic environments.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “I really appreciate that we are doing in-depth analysis and mapping. This step is crucial for a project this size in determining issues and problem-solving, which typically gets cut short due to deadlines.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I am hoping that some of our findings actually lead to real solutions within the Prospect corridor community.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “Living in Kansas City and having a studio in the downtown area is such a unique experience for K-State students. KC is progressing and becoming a city where young people thrive, business is booming, and everyone still has a mid-western attitude.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “K-State games.”

REGAN TOKOS

Department: Urban Planning

Where are you from?: Omaha, Nebraska

Study Abroad or Internship: Interned at Confluence.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I wanted to be in Kansas City and do a project grounded in reality.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Making maps”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Engaging with the community.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “All the fun activities and art in the city.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Mainly missing some of the campus communities and activities I had to leave behind.”

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SAM GREEN

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Interned in San Francisco

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I chose the KCDC program because I liked the aspect of doing studio in an Urban Environment and working with people from other disciplines.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “My favorite part of the project has been learning more about the history and demographics of Kansas City.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I'm looking forward to developing a plan for the Prospect corridor which will be a great challenge considering its history and location.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “I love the rapid urban renewal currently happening in the city.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Not really. I'm much more of an urban guy. It's much easier to focus on studio without all the distractions that come with the university campus life.”

SPENCER ANDERSEN

Department: Landscape Architecture

Where are you from?: Kansas City, Missouri

Study Abroad or Internship: Studied Abroad in Orvieto, Italy. Interned at Kimley-Horn Associates in McKinney, Texas.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I wanted to work in an urban design studio with real stakeholders.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “Mapping.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “Making the concept of our design for Prospect.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “I like being downtown.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “I miss the campus experience.”

STASHA THOMAS

Department: Architecture

Where are you from?: Tucson, Arizona

Study Abroad or Internship: Post-Bacc Student. Interning at Eco Abet in Kansas City.

Why did you choose the KCDC Program?: “I wanted to be back in a city and I admired the projects I had seen coming out of KCDC. I have moved around throughout my college experience (it’s been six years now including my undergrad) and a lot of that comes from wanting to understand different city cultures and therefore taking every opportunity to jump to a different area of the country. I liked the idea of it being a mock architecture firm format as well, where collaboration is key.”

What has been your favorite part of the project so far?: “I have enjoyed getting to understand Kansas City better since I am not originally from here. I have formed an understanding of injustices in the past that have formed its current makeup.”

What are you looking forward to with the project?: “I am excited to actually get to designing - which is still in the far future of this project. I want to help develop ideas that can benefit people along Prospect and help to create a cultural corridor that draws people from around Kansas City. I hope to aid in a new mindset that connects places and people.”

What is your favorite thing about being in Kansas City?: “Immersing myself in a totally different city from places I have lived before - Tucson, Omaha, Boston, Los Angeles, Manhattan, now Kansas City, all so different and unique. I enjoying hearing Kansas City's history and how its created the framework. I love being surrounded by art, food, festivals, music, people, and so much more that make this city what it is.”

Are you missing anything from being on campus?: “Honestly, not really. Although, I do miss working in Weigel Library and chatting with Maxine Ganske every day. There were relationships I formed and places I liked in Manhattan, but I was ready to move forward.”

A New Project Begins

It's hard to believe but somehow we're almost one month into the 2018/19 academic year. We're excited to introduce you to the KCDC urban design studio's main project this year: The Prospect Avenue Nodal Study. 

Prospect Avenue is a significant and defining element of Kansas City’s urban structure. The ongoing transit-oriented development initiatives (generated by the City and the planning community), growing investment in public transportation, and community interest in quality of life improvements make Prospect Ave. one of the more dynamically changing parts of Kansas City. With all the potential and anticipated change, there is an escalating need for a comprehensive urban design perspective that looks at the entire length of Prospect Ave. (from Independence Ave. on the North to the 75th St. on the South) and attempts to create an integrated vision for the area. 

To that end, the KCDC is collaborating with the KCMO Planning Department to generate a visioning study for the Prospect Corridor. We will be focused on defining potential urban nodes along Prospect Ave, setting design strategies and investigations for their development that utilize catalytic elements which will encourage urban change and improvement. This process will take place in three phases:

  1. Verification of an operational urban design concept for Prospect Ave

  2. A strategic segmented study and urban visioning design

  3. Focused urban design nodal studies

Current Work

The first phase of the project starts with studying the Prospect Corridor; we compared existing plans that have been previously proposed or applied to the Prospect Corridor and developed an understanding of what the goals and findings from each plan were. These plans helped inform us of the current vision and condition of Prospect Ave. and its surrounding neighborhoods. 

We then began our own investigations, looking at data from four different aspects of the Corridor: physical features, history, demographics, and connectivity.

  • Physical Features: The varied topography of Prospect Ave heavily influences development in the area.

  • History: The Prospect Corridor has a rich history which directly shaped the city of Kansas City as a whole.

  • Demographics: Demographic data helps focus our efforts towards the people currently living in the neighborhoods along the Prospect Corridor.

  • Connectivity: Connectivity analyses show a lack of public transit and accessibility to and from the area.

These investigations give us a better sense of the wants and needs of the area and how we can act and interact with the community in a positive way. 

Site Visit

On September 7th we conducted a site visit, driving up and down the Prospect Corridor. We had several objectives for this visit:

  • Examine the existing condition of the Prospect Corridor

  • Determine central nodes (e.g. centers of activity)

  • Build a better understanding of the Prospect Corridor's unique identity

  • Fact-check the information we have been mapping and analyzing

We also traveled along The Paseo and Troost Ave to observe how differently these streets have developed over the years in relation to Prospect Ave. Both streets seem to be doing a lot better than Prospect Ave, but why? This is a question that we’ll keep in mind as we continue to progress in our yearlong study of the Prospect Corridor. 

Public engagement is an important aspect of our work at the KCDC, and will be actively seeking feedback and input from stakeholders and community members as this project moves along (look for information on our first public meeting coming soon). Are there important parts of the Prospect Corridor, and neighboring communities, that we should consider as we move forward? Please let us know in the comments below. 

KCDC Announces New Affiliated Faculty Program

ICT PopUPPark and The Meadow by KCDC Affiliated Faculty Member Katie Kingery-Page

KCDC is pleased to announce the creation of the KCDC Affiliated Faculty program. KCDC Affiliated Faculty consists of regional university faculty members who are interested in engaging in research and projects specific to the KCDC mission. The purpose of the program is to enhance the KCDC’s mission, outreach, comprehensive teaching and research capacity, and to expand the KCDC's faculty engagement base. We would like to welcome the KCDC Affiliated Faculty who are joining our team and look forward to capitalizing on their expertise and talent in elevating our mission to next level of excellence. 

Art in the Loop Releases 3D Model of Downtown Kansas City in Collaboration with the KCDC

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The Art in the Loop Foundation, in partnership with the Kansas City Design Center and the Downtown Council, is pleased to announce the release of an interactive, three-dimensional, model of Downtown Kansas City which features 21 sites identified by the Kansas City Design Center as strategic locations for future enhancement of Art in the Loop public art sites system.

Viewers of the digital model (which is available on the Art in the Loop website as a free web application) are invited to explore the site locations by flying through, zooming in and out of, and clicking on the sites which contain downloadable reference manuals designed to aid future artists in their proposals development.

To access the digital model, visit: http://www.artintheloop.com/digital-model/


About the Art in The Loop Vision Study

In 2015, the Kansas City Design Center (KCDC) was awarded a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help fund the development of the Art in the Loop Vision Plan. Working with the Art in the Loop Foundation and the Downtown Council, the KCDC developed a strategic system to identify sites for artwork with the goal of improving the connectivity and identity of Downtown Kansas City.

The project included a public input process, inventory of physical assets, a survey of existing artwork, and development of criteria for a site selection process. The process also included the development of a three-dimensional digital model for Downtown Kansas City. During the process, KCDC identified 21 sites; then documented the sites and a created a reference manual for future for artists’ concept development. Three local artists, Julia ColePhil Shafer and Barry Anderson, acted as consultants to not only enrich the dialogue between disciplines but lend their unique expertise to the development of art sites.

The project vision was to enhance the identity of Kansas City’s Downtown core by improving walkability, authenticity, safety, and connectivity by expanding the network of Art in the Loop art sites. By developing a strategic framework of public sites for art, the project emphasizes the Greater Downtown Area Plan goals of walkability, authenticity, safety, and connectivity. These sites will generate opportunities for a variety of artists to create art for downtown’s diverse populations. This leads to a stronger community identity that binds together visitors and citizens alike with a sense of belonging.