Downtown Flint, Michigan is entering into a new period of renewal and growth. With strategic public and private investments, people are beginning to see restored buildings, upgraded historic facades, and even residents moving downtown. New businesses are going in, both at the market and downtown.
While these investments and trends are critical to the future, they are not enough by themselves to create a vital and active downtown. Recognizing the importance that public spaces play in knitting together these new and revitalized uses, Flint’s Downtown Development Authority and the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, with support from the Ruth Mott Foundation, invited PPS to assist them in launching an integrated, community-based campaign to revitalize public spaces in downtown Flint.
PPS’s Placemaking initiative began with a full-day community visioning and training session for 50 stakeholders. Out of that session two pilot projects were initiated with the goal of demonstrating how the methods and principles of Placemaking can bring new activity to the downtown. The two pilot projects–the troubled Riverbank Park, and the growing Flint Farmers Market–are dramatically different from each other, but both are crucial places for the future development of Flint.
These two pilot projects can propel downtown on the road to becoming a great place. A lot of investment in downtown Flint is happening – and even more is about to happen. It is thus critical that a Placemaking approach be used in the planning of these and other spaces to ensure that they are successful places for future generations to enjoy.