Public Realm Interventions
Improve the urban design qualities of the public realm including a generous amount of varied and accessible public space, high quality and actively programmed parks and plazas, multifunctional and well connected streets and sidewalks, creatively programmed tactical and art-based intervention; and maximize the value of multimodal options and increased walkability and bikeability.
Parks and Plazas
The opportunity exists to make the Innovation District’s parks and plaza’s the finest of any such district in the country. Well placed existing ones are already under construction or planned for improvements, and others are being freshly looked at in this planning process.
Miller Park and Miller Plaza are the district’s primary public spaces, located on either side of an entire block of ML King Boulevard. Miller Plaza opened in 1982 and received a national AIA award for public space design. It contains an actively programmed pavilion, stage and seating area, fountains and casual gathering spaces. A complete reconstruction of 41 year-old Miller Park and one block of ML King Blvd. between it and Miller Plaza is underway and will be open in 2018. It will feature a large open lawn, performance pavilion with restrooms, seating areas and public art.
Historic Patten Parkway, one block from Miller Plaza and a block from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center lawn, will undergo reconstruction beginning in 2018. These four parks form the Miller Park District and will be actively programmed to promote a wide range of activities and to attract diverse audiences year-round.
City Hall Plaza and Civic Forum Plaza are planned to become new public spaces as adjacent developments come on line. City Hall Plaza includes both public and private property and a block of Lindsay Street. This open grassed area is surrounded by government offices, the Edney Innovation Center and the Warehouse Row commercial, office and restaurant development. Civic Forum Plaza connects the front plaza of the Public Library across Broad Street to the Civic Forum surface parking lot that is planned for eventual mixed office use and a multimodal transportation research hub.
The raised TVA Park between the main TVA building and Eleventh Street will be explored for more active uses and better connections to the street.
Streets and Sidewalks
To maximize the value of these important facets of the public realm, a phased street and sidewalk framework plan will be created in 2018 to improve connectivity between UTC and the Innovation District, establish unifying elements in the district and improve streets to enhance proximity and amplify walkability. In addition, a series of tactical public realm interventions will be carried out throughout the year to better interpret and activate district streets and sidewalks. Plans are to narrow ML King to three lanes from Georgia Avenue to the east and add bike lanes as well as convert Lindsay and Houston to two way streets by the end of 2018.
Public Realm Interventions
Plans are being developed to take the creativity and innovation evident indoors in the district out to the streets and parks and plazas, to liven up the district with tactical urbanism interventions. This will help develop greater appreciation for the values of public space, give artists, performers and students access to an urban canvas, prototype the use of technology in the public realm, and increase the engagement of diverse perspectives and backgrounds in the district’s public life. Ideas include the festive use of color and lights, temporary seating areas, public games, seasonal or holiday installations and temporary appropriation of public spaces, such as Park(ing) Day.
The Innovation District contains a concentration of multimodal offerings, including buses, a free downtown electric shuttle, bike lanes, a bike share program, an electric car share station and electric vehicle charging stations. It will be important to ensure these options also effectively connect outside the district for maximum efficiency and serve district growth and transport needs of workers and residents.
Potential Public Realm Interventions
- Civic Forum Lot
- TVA Amphitheater
- Krystal/Tallan Buildings
- Patten Parkway
- EPB Building
- Warehouse Row
- Public Library Lawn
- Mapp Block
- Houston Street
- Edney/Patten Towers
- AT&T Dwell Hotel
- Georgia at Market
- BSCC Lighting
- Citi Park