DAVID RUBIN Land Collective’s strategic development plan for downtown Columbus, Indiana, a mecca of modernist architecture in the Midwest, is a framework for improvements to the downtown core that will establish economic strength and diversification, improve quality of life to attract and retain top talent, and define a vibrant downtown to provide much-needed resources for the breadth of the community. This vision for downtown improves livability and equality by infusing key social infrastructure to stimulate activity and increase private investment.
Key catalyst projects are introduced to positively inform a more vibrant urban core, including access to fresh food and pharmacy needs in the form of a grocery store, a hotel and conference center involving a potential adaptive re-use of the historic Crump Theater, and a relocated transit center that establishes an equitable point of connection to the resources of downtown. The framework plan addresses urban systems such as parks, streetscapes, access and engagement of the length of the riverfront, and green infrastructure networks with prototypical design solutions able to be implemented incrementally. New housing typologies presently missing in the fabric of downtown – the “missing middle” – are identified to inform future development that meets the needs and desires of a burgeoning professional population, and seamlessly integrates the housing aspirations of the population with economic challenges.
Community engagement informs the plan with significance, and includes the website envisioncolumbus.org as a tool for surveying ideas and establishing an open discussion. Outreach on the website engaged more than 2,000 survey responses. In-person gatherings, including fifteen focus groups, eight steering committee meetings, and four community meetings gave voice to the breadth of the citizens served by greater Columbus and its historic downtown core.
The Land Collective team includes the extraordinary collaboration of HR&A, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, Nelson\Nygaard, Impart Creative, and The Hagerman Group. A truly flexible and adaptable framework requires the collaborative spirit and knowledge of consultants, as well as an engaged and supportive client, The Heritage Fund, and the City of Columbus, Indiana.