Uptown Planning: The Big Picture

Uptown Cincinnati Map_Nov 2017.JPG

For more than a century, Anchor Districts—the clusters of universities, hospitals, and research and tourist institutions—have provided a relative stability to their regions even during times of changing economic conditions and evolving financial policies.

What does that characteristic have to do with planning and economic development? The answer is, by today’s planning standards, quite a bit.

The consistent tax-base of a large, steadfast employment district with several institutions demands a rigorous pragmatism when planning its future. To sustain the fundamentals of increasing success, principles overlooked in some other district types must be keenly tended to in anchor district planning—and certainly in an innovation corridor. An abridged list of such principles would include: managing collaborations with several public and private funding sources; honoring historically-significant neighborhoods; resourcing employment mobility; underpinning R&D infrastructure; prioritizing increased walkability and sustainability; predicting details around multi-modal transportation; and simultaneously forecasting district usage 20-40 years ahead of time.

Fortunately we have excellent partners in our efforts. For example, for years during the planning process, we’ve been lucky to have stakeholders like Avondale Community Council President Patricia Milton and Avondale Development Corporation President Russell Hairston on our MLK Steering Committee, actively engaged in conversations about the future of Avondale and the Uptown Innovation Corridor. We have leaders with the City of Cincinnati, eager to honor the $1 million invested in thoughtful, nationally-acclaimed planning efforts. We have inclusion consultants, creatively collaborating with some of our developers as they plan $500 million in projects. We have regionally-based C-suite pioneers, actively engaged in order to manifest the vision that will come to bear. And we have five major institutions as Uptown Consortium members, contributing the lion’s share of $30+ million already invested in Uptown property acquisitions.

The punctuation on planning is measurement, and the Uptown Innovation Corridor performance as the anchor district’s center of futurism will be measured on:

  • Creating diverse innovation and research facilities that foster collaboration and business growth;

  • Leveraging existing Uptown anchor institutions to attract new companies and expand partnerships;

  • Creating an active 24/7 environment featuring flexible housing choices, retail, and hotels;

  • Creating cohesive community connections through a structure of open space and complete streets; and

  • Creating opportunities for ensuring that the surrounding neighborhoods share in the economic benefits.

Of course, these measures will be ongoing for years to come, as will be the phasing of the planning process. And as planning opportunities within and around our Uptown neighborhoods continue to grow, we look forward to continued principled collaborations with big-picture leaders among us.

As always, on behalf of all who benefit from the impact of Uptown, thank you for being a partner who helps us achieve the future together.



Beth Robinson

President & CEO

Uptown Consortium, Inc.