All posts in “News”

HR&A Partners Speak at the World Bank’s City Resilience Conference in Bangkok

HR&A Partners Stan Wall and Amitabh Barthakur are participating in the World Bank Group’s City Resilience Conference (November 6-10, 2017) to share insights, expert guidance, and best practices in the use of land value capture (LVC) financing tools to fund the development of resilient urban projects. Their sessions offer lessons learned from three of HR&A’s urban resilience projects, including:

 

  • Leveraging publicly-owned land to develop resilient, financially sustainable public infrastructure at Brooklyn Bridge Park, in New York City, New York.
  • Small area planning which supported creation of an assessment district to fund transit infrastructure development in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC.
  • A public-private partnership that leverages publicly owned real estate to develop a Civic Center campus for the City of Long Beach, California.

 

The sessions also draw on developing world examples of LVC tools used to fund catalytic resilience projects, including leveraging publicly-owned land to fund development of the Sabarmati Riverfront, in Ahmedabad, India, the use of property assessments to fund development of infrastructure in Bogota, Colombia, as well as, leveraging valuable land adjacent to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in Delhi, India.

 

As a firm, HR&A is committed to advancing resilience through a unique, multidisciplinary approach in projects around the world. From empowering local decision makers through capacity-building programs, to designing resilience and climate adaptation plans, to implementing resilience efforts in response to natural disasters, HR&A is an industry leader in strategic resilience thinking. We work with local communities and national governments to design and implement strategies and projects that address a multiplicity of risks while leveraging diverse funding and partnership opportunities.

 

About the Comprehensive Financial Solutions for City Resilience Conference

The annual Comprehensive Financial Solutions for City Resilience Conference organized by the World Bank Group’s City Resilience Program (CRP) brings together city officials, private sector experts, donors, and investors to prepare for ambitious investments in urban resilience. The aim is to refine existing investment ideas and expand the financing options available for cities. By combining technical workshops with hands-on planning sessions over a five-day period, city leaders will be equipped to further develop their investment plans and identify opportunities for private sector financing.

Houston Rebuilds

The 2017 Hurricane Season has been one of extraordinary magnitude and devastation. The back-to-back Hurricanes of Harvey, Irma, and Maria have been economically and physically destructive across the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, particularly so in Puerto Rico and many Caribbean nations. While immediate recovery efforts demand a focus on emergency operations and restoration of basic services, we must shortly turn to the opportunity to rebuild better, including in Houston, the fourth-largest and second-fastest-growing city in the United States.

 

Houston thrives on its promise of economic opportunity, socioeconomic diversity, and a high quality of life. Continued growth will require a new commitment to the social and physical infrastructure on which the city depends, delivered equitably and resiliently. These advances could be expedited by the influx of federal disaster recovery funding coming Houston’s way – $14 billion has already been appropriated, and if past events are any precedent, billions more could be forthcoming. Rebuilding is a generational opportunity for the region to define its future: the significant investments in rebuilding after Harvey can ensure the region is better able to withstand a wide range of future climate risks, while also providing a platform for continued growth, creating opportunities and ensuring more equitable results for current and future residents.

 

HR&A recently met with public, private, and non-profit leaders in the Houston area to support the long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey and its more than 50 inches of rainfall. Building on those conversations and drawing on our work in Houston on Buffalo Bayou Park, Plan Downtown, and the Menil Collection, and our work building resilience in New York, Norfolk, New Orleans, Boston, and internationally through the 100 Resilient Cities program and the National Disaster Resilience Competition, we offer these recommendations:

 

Coordinate flood protection at the watershed level

Just as floods cross political borders, the response to Hurricane Harvey calls for joint planning and response across the affected region, including the City, State, Harris and other counties, and regional planning organizations such as Houston-Galveston Area Council. With nine counties and approximately 2,500 miles of waterways, including 22 bayous, within the Houston metropolitan area, water management and drainage is a regional issue, and interventions at the property or neighborhood scale can adversely impact other locations within a watershed. For reasons similar to those stated in the Climate Ready Boston plan, Houston’s regional agencies, utilities, and institutions must collaborate to conserve wetlands and mandate that open spaces are equipped with green infrastructure elements such as floodable waterfront park edges, porous pavement, rain gardens, and bioswales to help reduce the severity of flooding. Public sector leaders should work across jurisdictions to prioritize major infrastructure and policy investments that protect the region, including coastal surge protection of the Ship Channel, investment in major reservoirs, and preservation of the Bayou network and prairie ecosystem. Coordinated appropriately, local infrastructure investments and land use decisions become tools of a regional watershed approach.

 

Tailor neighborhood rebuilding to reflect the range of climate risks, neighborhood types, and community planning capacities

Some communities, such as Meyerland, have strong established institutions and a clear vision for future investment while other Houston communities have less robust local capacity and therefore require public leadership of planning and rebuilding. While planning leadership often looks to zoning as the central tool in response to climate preparedness and community development, Houston has shown that non-zoning responses, including innovative building and fire codes, stormwater requirements, public investments, and community-determined deed restrictions, can also be effective in delivering resilient land use.
 
Both for Houston neighborhoods and particularly for the communities along the coastline of southeast Texas, a model of allocating federal and State funding based on creation of neighborhood-based long-term plans could also be effective. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Governor’s Office for Storm Recovery initiated the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. This local planning process helped communities across the state impacted by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee to design community projects that could be funded with federal disaster recovery funds. This process was unique in its ambition to give communities ownership over locally-appropriate projects based on their own understanding of risk and vulnerability. Houston should leverage existing planning efforts, such as the Complete Communities initiative, to capitalize on the opportunity to tie rebuilding efforts into long-term community planning. Organized within a regional water management framework, neighborhood-level resilience plans should inform reinvestment and rebuilding in each community.

 

Houston is not the first city to be laid bare by a climate event and unfortunately it will not be the last. But from experiences helping other cities rebuild, we know that while natural disasters devastate, they also create opportunities for reinvention. From a record-setting storm comes a chance for the city of Houston and its surrounding region to emerge even stronger than before, revealing the silver lining of Harvey’s destructive path.
 

If you’d like to know how we can create a climate adaptation plan for your city, please contact Jamie Torres Springer

The Bay Area Gets More Resilient


 
HR&A is excited to participate on three of the ten shortlisted teams in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a design competition supported in part by the Rockefeller Foundation and hosted by urban leaders in community, government, and industry around California’s Bay Area. The challenge brings together interdisciplinary teams of designers, engineers, ecologists, economic development specialists, and other urban experts to develop community-driven, innovative solutions to climate change-related issues facing the Bay Area. The challenge invites teams to develop and submit community-based solutions to strengthen the region’s resilience to a variety of climate risks, including sea level rise, severe storms, flood, and earthquakes.
 
As one of the country’s economic powerhouses and focal point of the booming tech industry, the Bay Area receives a steady flow of new residents every year, and is projected to reach 9.6 million people by 2040. While this growth has brought prosperity and economic opportunity, it’s also strained housing markets, aging transportation infrastructure, and major infrastructure like the San Francisco seawall, which requires significant improvement and proactive approaches to address climate-related vulnerabilities.
 
We are thrilled to partner with some of the country’s leading thinkers to develop resilient strategies for the Bay Area. HR&A will lend our expertise in community-based resilience planning and project finance to support a more resilient Bay Area with three outstanding teams:
 
Common Ground: led by TLS Landscape Architecture, Common Ground layers expertise in urban infrastructure strategies for climate change and coastal adaptation on top of socially responsive architecture to develop an approach to both incremental sea level rise and seismic risks of the Bay Area shoreline.
 
The Home Team: led by Mithun, a San Francisco- and Seattle-based interdisciplinary design firm partnered with numerous Bay Area-based community development corporations, The Home Team will explore affordability as a driver of deep transformation, exploring the possibilities that emerge from leveraging multiple benefits that emerge when a design approach is co-created through the lens of home.
 
Team Uplift: led by a core team of Gensler, Arup, and Margie Ruddick Landscape, Team Uplift brings concentrated local expertise to create creative, implementable design proposals that are grounded in rigorous research, inspired by local and regional coordination, and able to address ecological, economic, and social vulnerabilities together.
 

Interested in how we can address climate-related risk in your city? Contact Jamie Torres Springer, Partner for more information.

Long Island Rail Road Third Track Receives Key Senate Approval

HR&A’s economic impact analysis played a key role in advancing this landmark outcome. Our study demonstrated the transformative potential of the third track on Long Island’s economy.

 

After decades of consideration, a $2 billion project to resolve a regional bottleneck in Long Island has finally received approval from the New York State Legislature. The 9.8-mile stretch between Floral Park and Hicksville will receive a much-needed third track—significantly reducing service disruptions and expanding capacity for reverse-commuting from New York City. Through a publicly-released report, HR&A demonstrated that the expansion would produce sizable economic benefits for Long Island.

 

Our analysis, with support from transportation planning and engineering firm WSP, provided a clearer picture of the economic benefits the project will produce. An expansion of this magnitude ‑ on a critical piece of our regional infrastructure – will have enormous impact on the region, far beyond time savings.

 

 

To understand the impact of the Long Island Rail Road Third Track Expansion project on the regional economy, we identified unique indicators and metrics to consider the multifaceted impact of the project.

 

By 2035, the Third Track will create

  • An expanded labor force available to Long Island businesses.
  • Productivity benefits from concentrated transit-oriented development in station areas
  • Time savings for riders due to more frequent and reliable commutes
  • Additional visitor spending on Long Island owing to more riders
  • Construction spending on investments in station and track infrastructure

 

The Long Island Index and Right Track for Long Island Coalition centered their successful campaign around our analysis, which helped unite a diverse coalition of Long Island businesses, labor organizations, and academic institutions behind the project.

 

If you’re interested in demonstrating the complete economic impact of your project, please contact Partner Shuprotim Bhaumik, Principal Kyle Vangel, or Director Jordan Hare for more information.

Unlocking Value from Public Assets

10 Best Practices for public-private collaboration to unlock value from outdated, underutilized public assets.


Infrastructure policy in the United States is at a critical juncture. Our historic underinvestment in infrastructure is well-documented, but the solutions to define a way forward remain unclear. A promising way to think about renewed investment in American infrastructure is to harness new ideas and technologies from the private sector to transform existing assets for broad public benefits.

 

Our recent report sponsored by RBC Capital Markets, Unlocking Value from Public Assets , details a framework the public sector can employ to generate new revenue streams and create broad public benefits from underused, extraneous, and outdated public assets and services. To successfully transform these assets – the public sector can use a proven set of best practices to identify opportunities for uncovering value, refine concepts to meet expectations, and implement successful partnerships.

10 Best Practices Unlocking Value from Private Assets

Read Unlocking Value from Public Assets for an in-depth review of each of these best practices, and details of five case studies of public-private collaboration that have successfully harnessed private-sector expertise to uncover value from public assets – including LinkNYC, the MBTA On-Demand Paratransit Program, Oregon’s Solar Highways, and the University Center of Chicago.

Measuring Park Equity

By: Elissa Hoagland Izmailyan

 

As established American cities emerged from the disinvestment of the mid-twentieth century, they used parks as a tool to attract people and investment back to the urban core. HR&A’s work in cities supported the economic case for parks and other investments that have transformed the urban landscape. Now, with the economic value of parks being widely accepted, many cities are seeking a transformative “High Line” of their own, but how can we make sure these investments are enjoyed by everyone?

 

There’s opportunity to shape the next generation of park investment around a set of shared principles for equitable urban development by ensuring public spaces are embraced by communities of all means and backgrounds. To do so, park organizations are looking to influence park-oriented development, create inclusive communities and protect current residents. To support these efforts, HR&A is looking beyond the economic value that parks create to evaluate their social and community value and how that value can be equitably shared.

Measuring Equity

We measure what we care about. As a result, yesterday’s economic impact analyses were often conducted in order to secure funding tied to specific project benefits (e.g., Tax Increment Financing districts tied to real estate value). As our values change, so too must our measurements. Our new measurements must consider the success of parks as engines of inclusion in addition to economic vitality. This includes:

 

  • Distribution of economic benefits amongst constituencies and communities
  • Neighborhood-scale impacts including resident composition, local business impacts, and quality of life
  • Community resilience in addition to well-established ecological benefits

 

The Social and Economic Report Card

This revised economic and social “report card” underpins an equitable planning approach that extends beyond the immediate recreational or aesthetic mission of parks:

 

  • Project design and programming that reflect the interests, needs, and access of diverse constituencies as a means to creating an inclusive gathering space.
  • Neighborhood planning and policy that looks past the boundaries of the park itself to ensure that each project connects physically, programmatically, and aesthetically with its community. With a careful eye to existing neighborhood conditions and aspirations, we can use park design and the tools of planning, zoning, housing policy, neighborhood investment, and participatory development to ensure that the community benefits from park investment, has access to adequate and diverse housing, and is resilient to socioeconomic change.
  • Organizational implementation to ensure that the leadership and staff composition of parks organizations reflect their constituents, and that community relations are inclusive, transparent, and effective.
  • A new funding model that reflects these needs and opportunities. Equitable park investment is likely to require a more nuanced funding strategy than that of downtown gems over the past two decades. Opportunities for earned income and real estate value capture may be more modest by design for next generation park investments, even as an increased focus on neighborhood investment increases costs. Direct participation in neighborhood development can open up new revenue sources, as can collaboration with community development organizations and funders.

Elissa Hoagland Izmailyan is the Managing Principal of HR&A’s Dallas office. If you’d like to know more about HR&A’s Parks and Open Space practice, please reach out via email.

Six Trends in Retail and How to Respond

We read about it every day: shopping malls are dying, department stores are closing, specialty retailers are declaring bankruptcy, small businesses are being “forced” out of traditional main street locations.  For HR&A and our clients, changing conditions in the retail environment provide an opportunity to take failing, traditional retail models and redefine the asset class to once again become economically sustainable.

six retail trends

  1. Then: Brick and Mortar stores
    Now: Growth of E-Commerce

    What to Do: While under 10% of retail sales are generated online, e-commerce is growing. Despite this fact, the popularity of experiential retail is increasing rapidly and includes such categories as dining, spas, fitness, services, and products that require a trip to the store such as furniture and home furnishing stores. Focusing on these types of uses is essential to creating an attractive tenant mix.
  2. Then: Single-Purpose Shopping Centers
    Now:  Mixed-Use Development

    What to Do:  Reconfigure properties and enter into development partnerships to reduce overall vacancies, revitalize the retail offerings, and ensure that the property is attracting a wide range of customers.
  3.  

  4. Then: Department Stores Anchors
    Now: Key Anchor Closures

    What to Do:  Reposition and re-tenant the property by breaking up the large spaces into smaller units, which will allow the asset to offer a diverse mix of retail-types and price points to cater to a broader audience.
  5.  

  6. Then: Suburbs as Shopping Destinations
    Now:
      Urban Main Street Experiences

    What to Do:  Create multiple experiences for customers including cultural anchors, residential, hotel and office uses, as well as restaurant clusters with outdoor dining.
  7.  

  8. Then: Homogeneous Communities
    Now: Diverse Demographics

    What to Do:  Ensure that retail and restaurant uses reflect the lifestyle and shopping habits of the community.  A demographic analysis that identifies ethnicity as well as age is key to creating the appropriate retail mix.
  9.  

  10. Then: Traditional Media Advertising
    Now: Social Media

    What to Do:  BIDs and city agencies responsible for promoting retail districts must develop a media strategy that includes social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well as videos on websites and other means of communication that resonate with Millennials and GenX shoppers.

 

About Our Retail Practice

HR&A develops and implements retail tenanting strategies for districts, corridors, neighborhoods, and proposed developments. We understand the power of leveraging retail within the context of its surroundings as a catalyst for economic vitality and new growth. To learn more, please reach out to Kate Coburn.

Why Pricing is Key to a Driverless Future

By: Martin Leung

 

“Transportation will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50 years,” claims Mary Barra CEO of GM. But what if we are already there? Since launching its ride hailing app in 2011, Uber has expanded to 570 cities and grown into a $70 billion company, surpassing the valuation of GM. In Helsinki, riders are using their smartphones to book and pay for rail, bus, bikeshare, rideshare, and rental rides. Cities around the world are racing to create spaces for the prototyping and testing of autonomous vehicles.

 autonomous vehicles modal share projections

Whether autonomous vehicles will become a problem or a solution for cities depends on who you ask, and more importantly, what we do. At the National Summit on Design & Urban Mobility in Pittsburgh, we heard strong consensus that with the right policies and partnerships in place, cities can avoid problems like congestion and pollution and ensure that autonomous technology will support long-stated goals for social inclusion, mobility and sustainability. So how do we get there?

 

To help cities prepare for a driverless future, HR&A recently identified six policy solutions along with our partners Arcadis and Sam Schwartz. In our policy roadmap, Driverless Future, we concluded that that one of the most critical tools cities can use to shape autonomous vehicles is pricing.

 

  • Pricing Roads. Cities control an extremely valuable asset: our roads. For the most part, roads are available for little to no cost, leading to overuse and congestion. Autonomous vehicles will pose an even bigger challenge than regular cars (see “zombie cars”), but they also provide an opportunity for smarter, more dynamic road pricing based on origin, destination, number of riders, congestion, emissions, and other variables. Road pricing can even be used to cross-subsidize fares for low-income riders. As proven by examples in London, Stockholm, and Singapore, road pricing can be an effective way to reduce traffic.

 

  • Pricing Real Estate. Every new building generates new demand on our transportation system, and many cities already require developers to pay for the infrastructure they use. For every new project, cities can identify the traffic impacts it will generate and require a fee that will offset the costs of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure. For example, an office building in a car-dependent area may generate significant traffic and thus require a higher fee than a mixed-use, residential and office building in a transit-rich area. Revenues can be used to subsidize low-income riders, autonomous shuttles, transit passes, bikesharing, or other amenities that reduce driving, and also to preserve affordable housing.

 

Ultimately, the biggest barrier to pricing may not be technological but political. Each city is different, but recent precedents provide encouraging lessons. Stockholm’s congestion charge was first introduced as a seven-month pilot, which allowed residents to experience its benefits before approving it permanently in a referendum. In November 2016, voters in Los Angeles, Seattle, Indianapolis, Raleigh, and other American cities approved new taxes to fund over $200 billion in public transit improvements. These examples show that voters are willing to support change if city leaders can clearly articulate a vision, specific actions, and demonstrate their benefits for daily commutes.

 

Cities and technologists should be equal partners in the roll-out of autonomous vehicles. With the right pricing on our roads and real estate, we have an opportunity to create a more connected, sustainable, inclusive, and driverless future.

 

If you’re a city leader, urban planner, or policy expert who is working with autonomous vehicles, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Martin Leung is the co-author of “Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders” and a Director at HR&A Advisors.

Five Questions on Downtown Revitalization

For New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), HR&A led the development of Strategic Investment Plans for three downtown communities awarded $10 million each in State funds: Plattsburgh, Jamestown, and Jamaica (Queens). The program – the first of its kind in New York State – seeks to transform formerly struggling downtowns into places where tomorrow’s workforce will want to live, work, and raise a family, through targeted public investments with the potential to leverage and catalyze private investment and create jobs.

 

Partner Kate Collignon, who spearheaded this assignment on behalf of HR&A, shares lessons learned and recommendations for how to spark investment in downtown districts that face similar challenges.

downtown revitalization
1. How did the HR&A team craft a vision for the future for these downtowns? What were their main differences?

A key step in our visioning process involved working closely with local planning committees. These committees were integral to the development of diverse, cohesive visions. Their participation ensured that there would be stakeholders positioned to advance the eventual projects and their input helped us transform the community goals into plans that were catalytic, achievable, and fiscally feasible.

 

Many of the most striking differences between Plattsburgh, Jamestown, and Jamaica involved the demographics, economic circumstances, and physical fabric in each community. However, all shared a recognition that to drive future economic development, especially during a time when jobs are likely to follow talent, they needed to invest in placemaking projects. They understood that investment in a combination of new development initiatives and improvements to the public realm would: enhance the experience of their downtowns; attract new residents, visitors, and workers; and strengthen their ability to attract and grow jobs.

 

2. What are the main challenges that these downtowns must overcome? In your experience, are these common challenges to downtown revitalization – in places big and small?

Plattsburgh and Jamestown were established around industrial anchors. As these anchors moved on and the industrial economy waned, so did local jobs. In recent years, both cities have made tremendous strides in bringing employment back by partnering with institutions that allowed them to pivot from their industrial past. Plattsburgh has partnered with its State University and invested in their airport to strengthen their economy. Jamestown, with support from the State of New York, has made large investments in its downtown especially around the National Comedy Center, capitalizing on its fame as the birthplace of comedy legend Lucille Ball.

 

While Jamaica is home to significant local economic activity, the downtown is still not capturing its full market potential because of the intense competition with other New York City neighborhoods. While it is a major transportation hub with connections to JFK, Jamaica’s key challenge is creating the right mix of retail and experiential opportunities that will elevate the downtown from a thoroughfare to a destination, and ensuring that nearby residents have the skills and access they need to participate in that economic growth.

 

3. For areas with smaller markets and limited local capacity, what are some high-impact projects you recommend?

Targeted placemaking can significantly strengthen the character and appeal of a downtown to residents, workers, and visitors—especially if focused on locations that already have strengths to build from. However, it is important to ensure that a community is not taking on more than it can sustain from an operations standpoint.  To help offset costs and capacity limitations, creative and visible partnerships with major institutions can generate high impact growth.

 

Additionally, denser housing attracts retail and other amenities to downtowns. By increasing the number of residents living downtown, spending also goes up, which sustains the retail and attracts shoppers from outside of town, fueling the market for more housing and positioning for downtown revitalization.

 

4. How has local engagement with stakeholders and the public led to more effective plans?

Local residents and community members are the best resource for insights and direction – they are downtown every day and are able to reveal nuances we could never ascertain from data alone. The community teaches us about issues the downtowns are facing and where the greatest opportunities exist. Plus, where there is excitement and enthusiasm for a project, there is momentum for implementation.

 

5. What key lessons or strategies from these projects might be useful for local planners and stakeholders looking to revitalize their downtowns?

 

  • Recognize how your use of public resources can play a role in building value within a downtown. Whether you focus on enhancing the quality of a space or reducing costs for development, make sure your public investments are done in a way that allows you to leverage as much follow-on private investment as possible in the future.
  • Target your investments by focusing on key assets. There are many opportunities to invest when growing a downtown, but it is important to avoid diluting the impact of your efforts by spreading those investments too thinly across too broad an area.
  • Individual projects should build to a greater whole. One-off buildings won’t alter the economic course of a community. However, a combination of programs that overcome obstacles to development can make a downtown more appealing by creating a place that continues to attract people and investment. In this era of e-commerce, this experience of place and community is the competitive advantage that a vibrant downtown can offer to a city’s economy, future efforts to retain and attract talent, and employers.
  • Build for today’s residents and businesses with a view towards the future. The community members who are focused on a downtown’s revitalization need to be part of and see themselves in its future. Revitalization generally calls for growth, and the addition of new residents and businesses is a sign of success. But growth also needs to translate into improved circumstances for those who have long supported downtown.

 

For more information on this project, please contact HR&A Partner Kate CollignonPrincipal Bret Collazzi, or Director Conor Muldoon.

Bakersfield Approves HR&A’s High-Speed Rail Implementation Strategy

This spring, the Bakersfield City Council approved the implementation strategies developed by HR&A in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) for successfully leveraging the transformative potential of high-speed rail investments.

One of the most documented effects of high-speed rail is the increased station area concentration and density of development that coincide with high-speed rail service. Given these effects, high-speed rail presents a unique opportunity for Bakersfield to concentrate a portion of its future growth inward, building on the progress already made in its downtown area, and lessening the negative impacts of suburban sprawl such as congestion and air pollution. However, in order to take advantage of this growth potential, Bakersfield needed a vision to guide the physical development of its downtown, stimulate economic activity, and enhance sustainability by encouraging infill development and enhancing multi-modal connectivity.

 

For over a year and a half, HR&A and SOM have worked with the City of Bakersfield, residents, and local stakeholders to develop a vision for downtown Bakersfield, both as the remerging core of the City, and as the future location of a high-speed rail station. This public outreach process provided an incredible opportunity for the community to come together and form an authentic vision plan for the overall downtown area. This effort, along with our market analysis highlighting key opportunities to capture demand, has culminated in the creation of a strategy to make downtown Bakersfield “high-speed rail ready” in the next 10 years.

 

To achieve this vision, a specific 10-, 20- and 30-year phased development strategy was developed, accompanied by an expansive list of physical and policy Implementation Actions that align with the project goals. The following is a list of prioritized initiatives that link project goals with real-world actions intended to make downtown Bakersfield thrive:

 

  1. Launch a property-based business improvement district
  2. Recognize that a proactive economic development promotion arm is needed in the city’s community development department to facilitate increased investment and revitalization throughout the community
  3. Activate an innovative tax increment financing tool created by the City and explore additional financing tools
  4. Utilize resources and partnerships to increase the population in the downtown area to 10,000 residents by 2030
  5. Implement an iconic and catalytic housing and mixed-use development project in the downtown
  6. Adopt an overlay zone to support development along the Wall Street alley area from D Street, to the Mill Creek Linear Park
  7. Adopt a series of zoning updates that incentivize downtown redevelopment
  8. Use vision plan as a platform for a future downtown land use plan
  9. Adopt a downtown walkability plan
  10. Leverage publicly-owned parcels for economic development

 

For additional information, please contact HR&A Principal Judith Taylor.