& Co. [VIDEO] featuring Tommy Pacello re: district management


Joining Kevin Wright and Joe Nickol on & Co. in week four is Tommy Pacello, from Memphis' Medical District. For several years, Pacello has been leading the development of several districts across a diverse set of neighborhoods with the backing of the region’s major medical, educational and research institutions. This episode features topics ranging from the future of outdoor living to the power of the front porch. Below are five takeaways from the discussion.


District level management has become even more important in the COVID-19 era. They have the opportunity to exercise the bulk power of the neighbors, businesses and institutions but the nuanced understanding of what each business, resident, employer, etc. need. District management will be critical to figure out the reallocation of streets and public space, reordering the event schedule around spatial distancing, and ensure that the individual is benefiting from the collective capacity of the whole. These are too big for individual businesses or households to manage and too small and quick for the City to lead.


There is no one-size fits all solution for every retail storefront, restaurant, bar or plaza. Our urban mixed-use districts are complicated places, this is what makes us love them. While a targeted small business toolkit approach is smart, it should be customizable to the different shapes, sizes and pocketbooks of the tenants. District managers can and should be building out smart toolkits, but they also need to be working on district wide management protocols, strategies and programming calendars.


Open space is more valuable than ever as we enter the varying levels of re-openings across jurisdictions. As the post-pandemic open space gets creatively redesigned, district managers should keep an eye on ensuring inclusive and equitable outcomes that are culturally relevant while supporting the district’s local businesses.


The days of the large-scale district event may be taking a back seat in the programming calendar for the foreseeable future. This creates an opportunity to bring back small scale programming that brings neighbors together around common interests and connections. Leveraging alleys, residential streets and even front porches can become a powerful driver of these often forgotten, but important social connections.


After more than two months of stay-at-home orders it will be important to simply design and build social spaces that bring happiness back to communities. With record high unemployment and a staggering death toll it will be important to not just focus on strategies that result in economic gains, but also ones that aim to improve public health and mental well being.

Register for the next & Co. discussion here.  

In partnership with Soapbox Cincinnati and NKY thrives, Yard & Company, launched video podcast series, & Co., focused on solutions, ideas and interventions related to the COVID-19’s impact on cities. Please share.
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