Sasaki's Downtown Plan for Raleigh, North Carolina will help the city capitalize on its recent and projected growth to remain competitive regionally and nationally through improvements to the city's "downtown experience" for residents, workers, students, and visitors. The Plan focuses future investment to incentivize and direct growth; creates a balance of residential and office development downtown; protects historic and district character; and creates an authentic sense of place.
The Downtown Plan identifies and analyzes public realm, infrastructure, connectivity improvements, and future development. A top priority is to establish clear, achievable, and community- supported action items that can catalyze the continued transformation of Raleigh's city center over the next 10 years. The plan includes a series of five catalytic projects that will help bridge downtown's districts; bring new street life, retail, and anchor developments; renew and expand green space; and add new cultural and community uses. At the same time, this plan also seeks to create the "glue" that will bind these exciting projects together and yield a richer downtown experience. Four big themes—Breathe, Move, Stay, and Link—knit it all together, showing how to bring nature to the city, provide transportation choices, create places to linger and savor, and cultivate the partnerships necessary to make it all happen.
Together, these recommendations will shape the next phase of Downtown Raleigh's evolution into a nationally competitive downtown that fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship while remaining authentic.
An extensive public engagement process included a number of new and trusted techniques to encourage broad and diverse contribution. Engagement strategies ranged from large public meetings to small stakeholder roundtables, online surveys, project web page updates, MindMixer social media engagement, email notifications, YouTube videos, and Twitter posts. Each method encouraged the public to learn and convey their opinions on what was important for the city to consider over the next 10 years. Members of the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee, appointed by the Raleigh City Council, advised the City and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance on the Downtown Plan formulation. Its membership represented a broad cross-section of 33 downtown stakeholders. Data and analysis was a key factor of our engagement strategy. All input was collected into a central database, organized by topic area, and geography. This database was a key resource for our team to analyze and synthesize public feedback. With many diverse opinions, this database helped track and identify emerging consensus points, as well as ranges of opinions on key topics.