The Public Realm

A vibrant public realm is essential for improving safety and accessibility, surrounding property values, and overall quality of life. These easily accessible community spaces such as parks, plazas, and alleys encourage social interaction and foster a sense of community.

This study analyzed public realm possibilities in Downtown Lansing, taking into account site considerations (maintenance, safety, sensory experience), physical elements (traffic calming, lighting), and activity programming (festivals, sports, markets). After analyzing the area’s unique structure, the study identified three key priorities for investing in Downtown Lansing’s public realm:

Street Placemaking
In Downtown Lansing, strategic placemaking has potential to call attention to the unique characteristics and strengths that make up the city’s brand. Enhancing underutilized corridors and places would maximize the potential of these areas. Additionally, investing in economically emerging areas would be a strategic approach to foster growth and development downtown. These combined efforts would contribute to the revitalization of Downtown Lansing, creating a thriving and dynamic urban center.
Non-motorized Networks and River Connection
Building a Complete Streets network would serve as a vital link to bridge different downtown districts and invite seamless movement for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike. Connecting downtown streets and places to the river, both visually and physically, is essential. The riverfront is a significant asset for downtown, and streets should lead directly to the riverfront and incorporate features like overlooks, parks, and waterfront promenades.
Green Web
Investing in programming and activities within downtown parks would create a vibrant and engaging space for residents and visitors. By offering a diverse range of events (concerts, art exhibitions, and festivals), downtown parks hold potential to serve as hubs of community interaction and entertainment. Additional features like green spaces, walking trails, playgrounds, and recreational facilities downtown would support a growing population with open-space amenities. This would also offer economic benefits by attracting visitors.