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32 neighbors want a dense and thriving Urban Core with wide sidewalks and lots of pedestrian activity in Kansas City.

Suggested by Scott

Supporters All

Christine Kahm
Robyne Stevenson
Marcos Chaddad
Bobby Beachy
Ari Kern
Eric Bunch
Matthew Gonzales
Jared Miller
Katie Greer
Suzanne Brown Gilligan Rebecchi
Bob Specht
Nick Ward-Bopp
Luisa Calumpong
Rhianna Weilert




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Tom K.

Good article about pedestrian-oriented shopping streets (POSS). What if we created a POSS on Baltimore, Grand or Main?

"Much of the potential for POSS to endure ongoing success depends on five strategic principles: first, they have to be readily and easily accessible from, or mixed with, high density residential areas, office buildings, and other businesses and places of work; secondly, they have to be extremely well connected to, and served by, the public transportation system; thirdly, they have to be strategically interconnected with the city's pedestrian system and bicycle routes; fourthly, they have to offer convenient bicycle parking facilities at key access points along the POSS, and/or bicycle services that allow bikers to either bike back to their original point of arrival, or between the parking facilities provided, particularly when the POSS are very long; and fifthly, they have to be planned, designed and managed on an ongoing basis for success."

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Hey Tom,

I absolutely think that Downtown Campuses can and will, if done correctly, create a more vibrant downtown. You simply can't underestimate the impact that 600 students and 100 faculty will have on an area once it's their home. Downtown has space and needs youth, the Conservatory has youth and needs space. It's a healthy synergy by having them in close proximity to one another.

The Crossroads is an already established district, and embedding themselves within it will bring certain challenges, but it has the potential to dramatically shape and bolster a community for generations to come. Ever since the Kauffman Center was built there, it was a matter of time before something of similar gravitas relocated itself to be its neighbor. I think KC is fortunate that the Conservatory is seizing the opportunity, and in so doing provides their students with the unique opportunity to play on a major stage, day in and day out.

I agree though with your concerns, it has to be done right.

Tom K.
Tom K.
Jul 2, 2013

My concern with a 'campus' is that it will exist as an island with a self-contained culture. You actually see this happen with many urban office buildings, medical complexes and institutes of education. Considering the amount of open space downtown, I understand there may not be much room to knitpick, however, I hope concerns about making the campus part of a something bigger than itself are addressed.

Posted by Tom K. on Jul 2, 2013
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Rick Usher

Like the start with one street comment, this is exactly the right direction. See the work on 20th Street /

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Rick Usher

Check out the GDAP:

Catalyst projects are coming out of the plan including 20th Street, Making Grand Grand, 17th Street, 12th. Street, and, of course, the downtown streetcar.

See the above comment for the next Infrastructure Committee meeting.

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Rick Usher

Here's how you get engaged, join the Greater Downtown Area Plan Implementation Committee's Infrastructure Committee meeting.

Dear Infrastructure Committee members,

As we recover from the holidays and gear up for a new year, I wanted to send out an early reminder for the Infrastructure Committee meeting scheduled for Friday, January 11 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. The meeting will be in the Emerald Room on the 4th floor of the Town Pavilion at 1100 Walnut.

Happy Holidays,
Mark Rowlands | Director
Community Improvement District | 816.421.5243

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As far as ideas to get engaged in that type of movement, Neighborland itself is a powerful one (we're having this discussion, right?). has been much lauded for their efforts.
Bread KC is a great model for community involvement.
REACH KC is starting soon
The Jarboe Initiative is doing something interesting.
Utilitarian Workshop just got kickstarted
And, last but certainly not least, the FundRise model out of Philadelphia is an excellent example of the potential of community development.

We need to move away from the language of 'Urban Renewal'.

Community Renewal/Re-purposing/Re-inhabiting/Re-investing.

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I've heard Jim Heeter from the KC Chamber of Commerce talk about the 'Big' approach to development before - after all, the Chamber is known for their 'Big 5' ideas.

While I think there's a place for the large incentive packages that have been used so far, I think what we will all agree is that those do little to foster a community, and that's what we want.

Wide streets are empty without a community to walk their dogs and strollers and to and from interesting storefront spaces. A Streetcar will go bankrupt without a community of riders.

The 'Top Down', whether it's the EDC, Downtown Concil, Mayor's office, or KC Chamber, should also look to the 'small' as well. In that, I really agree with Vegas's 'critical mass' comment; there has to be a tipping point, where people and business and families start to change their perceptions of what KC is, and start to imagine what it can be.

That's why creatives lead the way, and their invaluable for that, but it needs to keep going.

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Alan Joseph Williams

Whoa, what a great conversation. Tom and Matt, thanks for kicking it off.

I am interested in exploring Stella's line of thought can civic leaders create a suite of incentives that are broadly accessible to property owners and real estate entrepreneurs of all "shapes and sizes"?

Seems like the Downtown Council might be a good place to start for people who are thinking about this issue. Any other organizations out there, economic development focused or otherwise, that might be good resources?

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First you must analyze the mindset that has destroyed the urban core fabric so you don't repeat the failure. Scattering various attractions, amenities & landmarks into desperate areas and hope they start a revitalization of that area failed. That did not work.

How do you build a thriving Urban Core with wide sidewalks and lots of pedestrian activity? You do it exactly the way Kansas City (and every other city) did when the city first began. You start with one street.

Build a critical mass.

You start with that single street, the rest will naturally build out from there. The streetcar plan is a perfect start. Focus high incentives to developers to build high density residential on that starter line. Make huge investments to make that line from River to Crown safe. It should have the best standard of living in the city. People will flock to that area and from there the rest will come naturally.

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