How to Create a Unique Urban Destination / by Matt Rubin

Unique urban destinations like East 4th Street in Cleveland, Ohio have become hot spots for social and economic activity. The mixed-use buildings, streetscape and wide variety of upscale and distinctive retail offerings all combine to make East 4th Street a vibrant and desirable place to be. The Project for Public Spaces discovered the following four factors are key to creating any desirable destinations like East 4th Street. 

1. Access and Linkage

Location accessibility is essential for being useful and inviting. Places which see the most traffic are easy to obtain parking and flow from one area to the next. The surroundings of the space are linked with clear walkways and passages so people may walk freely with direction. Parking and stops are marked and convenient for all modes of transportation. 

2. Comfort and Image

How people perceive the location plays a major role in their satisfaction and enjoyment. The public should have ample options for relaxation or seating, as well as providing equipment which is in good condition. Security and safety need priority. Pedestrians should have designated areas, so vehicles are not competing for space. People's opinions of a location's cleanliness and overall impression plays a significant role on revisiting. 

3. Uses and Activities

Diversity is a major component in entertainment. The public enjoys seeing a diverse group converge in locations and enjoying the activities which are provided. There are equal amounts of men as women, a myriad of ages, as well as various activities. Furnishing the public with recreational activities, other than people watching, contributes to the overall enjoyment of the space.

4. Sociability

When people feel a sense of merriment and relaxation from others in the space, they tend to act more sociable. Spaces which are most prosperous have individuals who are interacting with each other and bring their friends and relatives to the destination. The public desires a sense of community with one another, therefore providing a space which promotes sociability will strengthen the bond with the location. 

Fostering each of these qualities in one's area will create a booming urban destination in downtown Toledo. Contact us if you would like to get involved in creating downtown Toledo's next unique, urban space.