Today a new concept was released by Studio Gang and the Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force.
The new concept describes how six miles of the city’s Mississippi riverfront can become a signature network of spaces and opportunities, tied into the city and its assets, that benefits the entire community and lifts Memphis as a whole. The Concept focuses on showing how five zones—the Fourth Bluff, Mud Island, Tom Lee Park, MLK Park, and Greenbelt Park—can leverage their particular strengths to become distinctive places offering activities and experiences that appeal to people of all generations, incomes, races, and backgrounds.
Many of the Concept’s proposed uses, from an iconic adventure playground to a special outlook where people can listen to live music at sunset, come directly from community members’ suggestions. Together, they are designed to offer something at all times of day and year—building on the dynamic rhythms of Memphis and the Mississippi to increase the riverfront’s use, vibrancy, and economic potential.
Three design principles underlie the concept’s recommendations: Foster positive encounters, civic pride and identity, and new understanding of the Mississippi River; Restore natural conditions, native ecology, and a more dynamic relationship between people and the river; and Connect assets along the river, the riverfront to the city (downtown and the neighborhoods beyond), and people with each other. Developed through an integrated process of research, community engagement, and analysis, they ensure that the Concept works from the site’s specific opportunities and challenges to achieve Memphians’ aspirations for their riverfront. The Concept’s interventions are designed as a connected series of short-, medium-, and long-term investments. These can add up over time according to available funding and interest—demonstrating how a renewed Memphis Riverfront can not only be inclusive and inspiring, but actionable and realistic as well.
Studio Gang’s work in Memphis was commissioned for the Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force by the Riverfront Development Corp., with the generous support of the Hyde Family Foundations and the Kresge Foundation. Mayor Jim Strickland and Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force members will now evaluate the concept, seek additional public consultation, and determine which ideas are best for Memphis and feasible to execute.