Young Professionals’ Feedback Incorporated into Uptown Cincinnati Development Plans
President & CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc.
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) established its Talent Kitchen Cabinet (TKC), a collection of students and young professionals, to provide feedback on plans, designs and programming for UCI’s development efforts at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road in Uptown Cincinnati.
One of the primary goals for the mixed-use development is to attract top talent to the Greater Cincinnati region. To do that, UCI wanted to hear directly from the type of talent the city is trying to recruit to understand what would attract them to the city, and what wouldn’t.
During initial conversations with the TKC, several themes emerged. According to the students and young professionals, the development should feature multi-modal transportation, a strong connection to nature—including the ecological greenway—and lots of amenities from retail to programming. But perhaps most importantly, TKC members reiterated that they wanted to see their feedback clearly reflected in the development.
UCI recently hosted its final virtual meeting with the first TKC cohort to share exactly how the TKC’s input is being incorporated into plans.
TKC feedback: Accommodate multimodal transportation by making it easy to bike in the area, offering showers, including rideshare pick-up and drop-off locations, and maintaining flexibility as preferences adjust throughout the life of the development.
- UCI implementation:
- Working with planning partners and project developers to include improved accessibility for ridesharing and food delivery services.
- Adjusting plans for a transit center within the development to provide access for multimodal transportation options such as bikes, shuttles, autonomous vehicles, etc.
- Refining plans for the transit center to include amenities such as showers, bike lockers and more.
TKC feedback: Connect the developments to the surrounding nature by including courtyards and incorporating ways to “bring the outdoors in” by including natural light, plant and water features, and potentially rooftop decks.
- UCI implementation:
- Working with project developers to include natural light and green features in interior and exterior building design.
- Advancing plans for the ecological greenway to provide walking and biking paths, courtyards and pocket parks, and outdoor seating throughout the developments.
TKC feedback: Look for ways to help people integrate their work and personal lives by providing access to everything they need without leaving the space, including amenities such as coffee shops, grocery and convenience stores, pop-up shops, food trucks and exercise options, in addition to programming public spaces to host events geared towards music and art.
- UCI implementation:
- Including lifestyle amenity concepts such as programming space to encourage socializing and events in the next planning phase.
- Attracting retail uses to support an 18-hour development lifestyle.
This feedback will continue informing UCI’s planning work for Uptown developments around green space, transportation, connectivity, and lifestyle amenities. As UCI’s development partners finalize exterior and interior design plans, TKC feedback will influence those as well.
Beth Robinson is the President and CEO of Uptown Consortium, Inc., a nonprofit community development corporation dedicated to the economic development of Uptown Cincinnati. To learn more about the Uptown Consortium, visit www.uptowncincinnati.com.
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