WEst bottoms Vision Study for a System of Public Spaces

2016-2018 | KCDC Studio Project

In 2015, the Historic West Bottoms Association (HWB) approached the KCDC and the City of KCMO Office of Culture and Creative Services for help in addressing infrastructure and connectivity needs in the West Bottoms, with the hope that improvements would engage the unique heritage of the area and sustain its emerging arts industry without demeaning it. The KCDC worked with HWB and OCCS to apply for a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Our Town Grant, which is a grant program (eligible to municipalities) that supports projects that enhance the quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place with the arts at their core. Our Town projects challenge artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners to deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work - placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. The KCDC West Bottoms Vision Study for a System of Public Places builds upon the Greater Downtown Area Plan (extends downtown boundaries to the West Bottoms), Arts Convergence Plan (nurturing city-wide artistic production), the KCDC 2011 West Bottoms Vision Plan, and the Urban Land Institute’s Rose Fellowship Study (economic development). This project will also build on an existing streetscape and wayfinding plan and a green infrastructure plan that is currently underway. 

Project Objectives:
1) Continue to develop policies first identified in KCMO’s Arts Convergence Plan which support artists and artistic production in the West Bottoms.
2) Increase social and civic engagement through the integration of art and cultural production into urban planning processes.
3) Invest in the critical infrastructure and public space needs in the West Bottoms.
4) Increase art and cultural production through the development of urban infrastructure and public space. 
5) Increase both population and jobs connected to arts and culture in the WB.

Project Outcomes: 
1) Conceptual, programming, and design studies will be produced for three selected sites in the West Bottoms.
2) One of the three sites will be selected as a public space design prototype and will undergo full design development and potential implementation (pending additional funding) centering on the installation of site specific artwork. This process will be carried out by the KCDC, culminating as part of a design-build academic exercise.
3) A comprehensive project publication will be produced, documenting the entire process and the design iterations, and advancing an argument for art based processes in the creation of public spaces.

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