At the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) National Conference earlier this month, Jamie Greene, Planning NEXT Principal; Theresa Gehr, Columbus State Community College Senior Advisor to the President; and Quinten Harris, City of Columbus Deputy Director of the Department of Development, presented on the strategic planning that is underway in the Creative Campus neighborhood of Columbus.
The Creative Campus, located at the northeast side of downtown Columbus, is home to a concentration of major cultural and higher education institutions including Columbus State Community College, Columbus College of Art and Design, and The Columbus Museum of Art, as well as large employers such as State Auto Insurance. While each institution has pursued individual planning initiatives in the area, they also realized that a collaborative approach had the potential to create an area greater than the sum of its parts. To begin this effort, Planning NEXT designed and facilitated a process that led to the development of the strategic intent, “to create a neighborhood–a much more vibrant place–in this part of downtown Columbus,” and a 14-item Action Agenda centered around topics such as collaboration, infrastructure, safety, supporting and encouraging future development interest, and improving community character.
Perhaps most importantly, the process helped forge proactive partnerships between the institutions. This has positioned them to strategically plan for facility and capital investments throughout the district. Planning NEXT, working alongside Vogt Strategic Insights and Nelson Nygaard, has coordinated a number of key projects in the neighborhood, including a market analysis focused on residential and office opportunities, a comprehensive community-wide parking strategy, and a roadway improvement vision for one of the major corridors through the neighborhood. Together, the projects have led the institutions to engage developers and generate significant interest from the development community.
By sharing these experiences and successes with other urban campuses across the nation at SCUP-52, the panelists hoped to inspire other potential partnerships and foster innovations in similar urban contexts.