Hartford and urban planner Kenneth
Greenberg have done so well for each other over the past eight years
that it's no surprise that the city and MetroHartford Alliance are
hoping to hire him again. They want him to identify ways to amplify
the current wave of downtown development energy so that investors
are encouraged to branch out into nearby neighborhoods and expand
the city's revival.
Mr. Greenberg's 1998 "Downtown
Hartford Economic and Urban Design Action Strategy," better
known as the "Greenberg Plan," became the conceptual blueprint
for most of the current revitalization projects in the heart of
At its core, the 1998 plan called for
turning downtown into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, 24-hour-a-day
hub of restaurants, boutiques, groceries, theaters, new dwellings
and art venues. Hartford isn't there yet, but there is considerable
Mr. Greenberg's plan, for example,
recommended doubling the 1,600 residents who lived downtown. The
city is well on its way to meeting that benchmark thanks to an initial
wave of government-subsidized proposals such as Trumbull Centre,
the Sage-Allen building and Hartford 21 that primed the pump for
an unprecedented upsurge in luxury condominium construction.
Developers took pains to conform their
projects to Mr. Greenberg's concept.
He also called for a low-cost shuttle
bus linking the Civic Center, Adriaen's Landing and other downtown
sites. The state's Capital City Economic Development Authority put
a modest form of the line into service last fall.
Among Mr. Greenberg's recommendations
was the installation of signs to direct visitors to city landmarks,
which has been a success. He also suggested converting one-way streets
into two-way thoroughfares but, so far, only Asylum Avenue and High
Street have benefited from that idea. Mr. Greenberg also advocates
the improvement of sidewalk lighting and the elimination of elevated
walkways to encourage street-level foot traffic.
The Toronto-based planner developed
a design for the revitalization of Park Street, much of which is
underway. He was called in by the development authority to redesign
Columbus Boulevard with a center median and fewer lanes to make
it easier to walk from the convention center to other parts of the
One Greenberg proposal that, although
approved by the city council, has yet to be fully implemented is
a design center to make sure that development follows the city's
master plan and to help developers through the permitting process.
Re-engaging Mr. Greenberg would maintain
his sense of vision, scale and design that sparked the downtown's
revitalization while extending that energy into adjoining neighborhoods.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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