Memphis narrows in on a Broad Strategy
A New Face for an Old Broad documents overwhelming market preference for meaningful, engaging places. Broad Street, a street that has been marred by transportation engineering's finest attempts to remove traffic from the main street and bypass traffic along Sam Cooper Boulevard, is brought back to life through bottom up urban recolonization that likely wasn't even on the City's economic development radar.
But here comes the crux. Now with such a proven model of energizing a neighborhood center, what are the next steps? Will this just be another case of a great face but terrible body? Will the new face for Broad Street be supported through working out its limbs and repairing its urban tissue (apologies for slipping back into anthropomorphic Broad puns)? For instance, will such energy give due cause for un cul-de-sac'ing Broad Street and stitching back together many of the other connection points to the surrounding neighborhoods that were severed by Sam Cooper? Are there zoning hurdles that need to be simplified to unburden the private sector? What are the other stumbling blocks that might keep this effort from realizing its full potential?
Memphis recently was awarded a Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor Project grant of $4.8 Million dollars. The two objectives outlined in the grant proposal are "to reduce handgun violence and revitalize vacant property in the core city with new commercial activity and building." Both aims could have positive ramifications in policy and fundraising for places such as Broad Street in Memphis. We look forward to and support our good friend Tommy Pacello and his team in the Mayor Project effort!