The Creative Corridor retrofits a four-block segment of an endangered historic downtown Main Street through development catalyzed by the cultural arts rather than Main Street’s traditional retail base. The goal is to structure an identity for the Creative Corridor based on a mixed-use working and living environment anchored by the arts. The challenge involves restructuring a public realm conceived for workday commercial activities to now serve 24/7 urban lifestyles with a high level of livability. The project approach employs four developmental phases in the corridor’s transformation to a downtown node. Nodes provide a sense of centrality and opportunity for social life that counters the dominance of mobility in corridors. Retrofit strategies entail right-of-way reconfigurations and townscaping structures that frame a new land-use ecology of residential, tourism, work, and the cultural arts.
The streetscape is designed to deliver ecological services in addition to social and urban services. The proposed LID treatment network—ecologically-based stormwater runoff management—expands upon recommendations from US EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals study for Main Street. A tree-lined Promenade and shared street landscapes combine to deliver many of the 17 recognized ecosystem services—atmospheric regulation, disturbance (flooding) regulation, water regulation, sediment control, nutrient cycling, waste treatment, pollination, habitat, etc. Like a giant tree box filter, the Promenade feature an infiltration system planted with native xeriscapes that also house outdoor dining and gathering spaces. The street becomes an ecological asset, metabolizing water pollutants on site before runoff is discharged through storm sewers to the nearby Arkansas River. Project with Arkansas Community Design Center, Marlon Blackwell Architects and Jeffrey Huber as the Assistant Director at ACDC.