Ayres Knowledge Center INDentrification Via Placemaking

Matt Ashby, AICP|CUD Urban Planner Ayres Associates ashbym@ayresassociates.com Downtowns and active urban cores have become so successful that the ripple effect is spreading to adjacent historic industrial districts. The boom of places like Denver’s River North District have demonstrated the attraction of gritty neighborhoods as centers of authenticity that are the antithesis of suburban lifestyle centers. The gentrification of these industrial areas, which could be considered “INDentrification,” has created an opportunity for reclaiming and repurposing the public realm of streets and rail corridors as pedestrian thoroughfares. The transformation of contaminated buildings through brownfield revitalization is driving the installation of civic promenades in many communities, which is helping to foster placemaking benefits in forgotten remnants of cities. The design interface of industrial placemaking, the nexus of form and function, create challenges for transforming corridors that were created for trucks and trains to support mixed-use development around intense pedestrian backbones. INDentrification is also driving significant reinvestment and the evolution of craft employment embodied in the maker’s movement, a growing economic trend that is highly dependent on quality public places. Emerging communication tools are helping to expand the dialog between designers and residents, which ultimately enhance the overall function and personalization of place. Using 3D modeling, these public spaces can be virtually revitalized as the first cost-effective step to pumping enthusiasm into character-laden districts once forgotten and ignored. 1 | Page