DCI was recently in Monument, CO holding a Downtown Institute that discussed unconventional and low-cost ways of implementing pop-up projects such as a painted crosswalk, a roll-out bike lane, and temporary signage to promote walkability as jumping-off points to bring interest and participation into the community.
Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) has been working with the Downtown Monument Stakeholders groups since November 2017 to craft and implement objectives and action steps around Branding, Organizational Development, Placemaking and Wayfinding. To achieve these goals, DCI works with the locals to understand assets and needs to further downtown initiatives. DCI has helped to develop and facilitate meeting agendas to engage the community in downtown.
In April 2018, Monument served as a DCI Challenge Studio Community. DCI shaped the content of a workshop based on the Monument challenge around Civic Pride. The workshop was designed to transform the difficult challenges and problems into promising opportunities. Participants worked side-by-side with leading industry experts and local peer networks to craft problem-solving plans that result in improved futures for all. In the process, the participating communities are connected into supporting networks and resources; helping them to get the job done. Through this process, DCI realized the next steps for Monument were in Tactical Urbanism to engage people, reshape space for the use of people over cars, and to just have fun telling the Monument story!
DCI worked to engage facilitators from C+B Design, Radian | Placematters, and Yes Plan Do! To come to Monument for a fun day to showcase the importance of engagement through test projects through education and actually doing!
The community oriented design firm, Radian, Inc. presented on the critical nature of civic participation as being a core tenant of smart urban design. Communities often hold the view that impactful design is necessarily expensive and a large commitment. However, Ken Snyder from Radian, Inc. discussed how experimentation and pop-ups street amenities – known as tactical urbanism – can have a huge impact with low cost while allowing the community to gauge what is right for them.
Promoting complete streets, often encompassing bike lanes, parklets, urban forestry, public art, etc., activates corridors such as your community’s Main Street and enables a “go-to-them” approach with your residents and stakeholders. Mr. Snyder was keen to note that this approach can be more effective than digital outreach and uses community connections and networks to do the talking for you.
Radian and DCI set up a demonstration pop-up bike lane in less than 5 minutes!
Rachel Hultin of Yes Plan Do! discussed an incremental approach to urbanism and described some of the common pitfalls of efforts to beautify downtown or to change a streetscape. One such pitfall is what she calls “Fuzzy Visioning” where a project is considered a problem to be solved instead of something that the community can create. This runs into the danger of relegating your vision to the background.
Another issue that Ms. Hultin highlighted was the importance of incrementalism. There is a risk in committing to projects that are battles you are unlikely to win and to trying to tackle them all at once is a mistake. In tandem with demonstration and pop-up experimentation, taking small battles one at a time is a recipe for success.
Residents are engaged to participate in the crosswalk painting as they make their way to the Art Hop
Kristin Cypher of C+B Design gave a presentation on branding, signage, and how this can improve connectivity in the community. Signage is not merely to find directions, but also is involved in place making, it communicates an image, and it can also reflect the heritage of the community. Similarly to the previous speakers, Kristin made the point that signage does not have to be an in-depth and expensive project. Demonstration and temporary signage can do a long way to improve your streetscape and many of these temporary signs can last for a general time frame of one year.
Participants work with Kristin Cypher to show Art Hop attendees around to local businesses around Monument