New urban waterfront plan transforms downtown Cincinnati

Urban Cincy reports on the Cincinnati Central Riverfront Plan, which in 15 years has transformed the city's waterfront and received the APA's National Planning Excellence Award for 2013. The plan was spearheaded by then-mayor (now vice mayor) Roxanne Qualls, who also is a past board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism. The city hired Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh — one of the early influential new urban firms — to create the plan. Given the area was in a flood zone, and consisted of a vast mess of underutilized land plus an outdated baseball stadium, the success so far is remarkable. Two stadiums were built, and land in the middle was prepared for the most ambitious part of the plan, called The Banks, now well underway. At buildout, this will have approximately $600 million in mixed-use development, 3,000 residents, and a new park. The first phase is built, and another is in the works. "While design elements may not be of the same caliber as those originally envisioned, the urban form of the private investment appears to be as desired. But even more gratifying than that, for many of the early people involved in the planning, it is that the project has happened against all odds and skeptics," says Urban Cincy.

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