Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Downtown Memphis Commission Opens Design Studio, Wants Your Input for Master Plan

The Downtown Memphis Commission is opening a temporary Design Studio to get community input on BuildDowntown, the master plan to “grow, improve, and evolve” downtown Memphis.

From February 25th – March 1, the DMC will hold several input sessions at the Design Studio they’ve set up at 100 Peabody Place. Sessions are all open to the public and each one will focus on a specific topic related to downtown development whether it’s housing, retail, job creation, etc.

Photo courtesy of Downtown Memphis Commission

“Every day, tens of thousands of Memphians live, work, and experience our city in Downtown Memphis – it is the core of our city’s brand,” said Jennifer Oswalt, President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission. “The intent of the master plan is to continue the legacy of Downtown Memphis as our region’s vibrant, urban core while rising to the challenge to meet the needs of new, progressive generations.”

The DMC is working in partnership with the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development to engage the community in the BuildDowntown process. They want your ideas and opinions on how to make Downtown Memphis “a more livable, walkable, and vibrant urban core for the entire region.” They’ve been gathering input since the public launch of the project as “BuildDowntown” in November 2018. It’s all building up to the release of a draft of the BuildDowntown plan by May 2019 and a final version by August 2019. The goal is to have that plan adopted by the City of Memphis as a subcomponent of Memphis 3.0.

The Design Studio opens at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 25, with three afternoon sessions, followed by a free Design Studio Kickoff Party at 5 p.m. at the Center for Southern Folklore Hall (west side of Main Street between Gayoso and Peabody Place). The Design Studio will continue with a series of open sessions throughout the week, culminating with a final Design Studio Pin-Up from noon-2 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

If you can’t make it to any of the Downtown sessions, there will be a BuildDowntown Design Studio pop-up at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 27 at Crosstown Concourse.

“Whether you join us for a post-work drink on Monday to get a preview of our process, drop in after lunch Wednesday to discuss Downtown parking, or stop by Tuesday afternoon to talk equitable development strategies or how to improve our public spaces, all voices are of value,” said Penelope Huston, DMC Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Events. “We are building a Downtown for everyone. And everyone is invited to participate in this process.”

BuildDowntown Design Studio Session Schedule

Monday, Feb. 25

  • 1:00 p.m. Housing Strategies: Where we live and who we build for
  • 2:15 p.m. Retail Strategies: Things to do, places to eat, and places to shop
  • 3:30 p.m. The Downtown Office Campus: Strategies for recruitment and retention
  • 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Design Studio Kickoff Party at Center for Southern Folklore

Tuesday, Feb. 26

  • 8:30 a.m. Building a Walkable Community: street design, aesthetics, and public safety
  • 9:45 a.m. From Eyesores to Eye Candy: How can we fight blight and eliminate vacancy?
  • 11:00 a.m. Entertainment and Recreation: expanding events, public art, music, and more
  • 1:00 p.m. Improving Public Space: Our shared outdoor living room
  • 2:30 p.m. Equitable Development: How do we ensure equity and opportunity for everyone?
  • 4:00 p.m. Design Excellence: What are our rules, guidelines, and expectations for creating places of lasting value?
  • 5:30 pm: Project Update/Design Pin-Up @ the Design Studio

Wednesday, Feb. 27

  • 8:30 a.m. Increasing Mobility Options: Trolleys, buses, and scooters. Oh my!
  • 10:00 a.m. The Next Age of Mobility: Autonomous, Connected, Electric, and Shared
  • 11:30 a.m. | Project Update/Design Pin-Up @ the Design Studio
  • 1:30 p.m. Parking for Today and Tomorrow: More or less, here or there, free or paid?
  • 3:00 p.m. Utilities & Infrastructure: Are we ready for growth?
  • 5:30 p.m. | Project Update/Design Pin-Up @ Crosstown Concourse, west atrium

Thursday, Feb. 28

  • 9:00 a.m. Regional Impact: How can Downtown be strengthened as a regional asset and better support economic growth throughout Memphis and Shelby County?
  • 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Open Hours: Did you wake up this morning with an idea inspired by a conversation earlier in the week or were you unable to attend any of the earlier planning sessions?  It’s not too late to share your thoughts with us. Come by anytime throughout the day and tell us what you want to see in Downtown Memphis’ future.
  • 5:30 p.m. | Project Update/Design Pin-Up @ the Design Studio

Friday, March 1

8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Open Hours: Last call to help us shape Build Downtown’s vision by sharing ideas, opinions, hopes, and desires for the future of Downtown Memphis. Stop by and share your voice. 

  • Noon | Project Update/Design Pin-Up @ the Design Studio
  • 2:00 p.m. Studio closes

In April, the DMC plans to share a first look presentation of everything that came out of the Design Studio and all of the other public engagement events before it. Date and time are TBD.  More info on Design Studio schedule with times, locations, and topics may be found here. Learn more about the BuildDowntown Master Plan here.

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