An 18 hour city is a happy medium between the 9-5 type of city that Syracuse is currently and metropolitan cities that operate 24/7. Smaller cities lack the density to support the up all night type of commerce that is available in NY or LA, but are rapidly re-gaining residential populations. These new residents are choosing urban environments for their access to the live/work/play atmosphere and expect that atmosphere to remain robust into the night.
Cities that have adapted the 18 or 24 hour city models have been successful in attracting top employers, retailers and investors to their downtown core. Jobs are created, economic development is spurred and people are in general much happier with their chosen lifestyle and quality of life.
So what are some steps that small to mid-sized cities can take to move towards becoming an 18 hour city?
A city-wide master plan would create guidelines for development that strategically place uses, provide way finding, allow for walkability and pedestrian oriented design and establish design standards for specific neighborhoods.
Street Edge Activation
Property owners have the opportunity to improve the value of their investment by updated the façade, improving landscaping, adding color elements and updating signage. Outdoor patio furniture, lighting and awnings crate a sense of place that is necessary to encourage social spending.
The Urban Mix
Also related to the master plan is the successful planning of the uses in specific corridors. Establishing anchor tenants and infilling between them will create strong retail corridors. Strategically placing convenience retail, cultural options, and entertainment venues near highly populated residential sections will spur activity and allow small businesses to maintain longer store hours.
The best way to move toward an 18 hour city is in planning. City planners, business improvement districts and property owners need to work together to create goals for the success of their businesses and their neighborhood. “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi
How do you think we can best improve economic development in 9-5 downtown’s?