2.4.2012 Without directing your feet downtown, perusing the There/Here inventory alone may present a complete dearth of activity on the East Broad and E Grace Street corridors. Though this project argues that the stories embedded in this mostly dormant corridor give it some form of life, that it lacks activity it is not entirely true.
A new plan for downtown, called City We Have will remind us that,"When we focus on what we don't have on East Grace Street, we're missing out on What we do have." And don't scoff at the word "plan" just yet. You won't see hyperreal renderings of a gentrified downtown with Emily Ruf, and her project partner Ryan Rinn, who are both earning their Masters in Urban Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University. Their approach will veer away from the usual prescriptive master plan and will be achieved by focusing on a 10-block scope, proposing achievable results. In the best case scenario, the City will adopt their result as the sector plan for the district.
So, what is there? What do we have? Their project materials cite more assets than problems, already in place. Their site also has a place for the community to be an asset, simply by stating your stories or visions for the area. For those who may not have access to the internet, they also plan to canvas the area, so if you see them, take a second to chat with them. With their support from City Hall, this plan could go beyond improving the area, and encourage planning practitioners to step outside of snazzy renderings, and into the beloved neighborhood that we already have.