Philadelphia — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the four winning cities of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Every Place Counts Design Challenge, which aims to raise awareness and identify inclusive community design solutions that bridge the infrastructure divide and reconnect people to opportunity.
Joined by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Secretary Foxx unveiled the winners, Spokane, Wash.; Ramsey County, Minn.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Philadelphia, which will each receive a design session that convenes elected officials, urban planners, designers, and a cross-section of local residents around a transportation project that has the potential to link communities to essential services such as jobs, healthcare, and schools.
“Through this Challenge, we have the ability to rethink some of our nation’s past transportation choices and improve upon them to design a better future,” said Secretary Foxx. “I’m excited to work with these communities on creating inclusive and context-sensitive infrastructure solutions that reflect and incorporate the input of the people and communities they touch.”
The four Every Place Counts Design Challenge winning cities will each receive on-site technical assistance from the Department and design experts in the field. This challenge was launched in May following Secretary Foxx’s ‘Bridging the Divide: Connecting People to Opportunity’ presentation and the release of his Guiding Principles for Connecting People to Opportunity – a call to action for decision-makers, practitioners and community leaders to galvanize around the potential for transportation policy and infrastructure to be a beacon for social change, economic mobility and improved health.
The Design Sessions are scheduled and will address the identified infrastructure challenges as follows:
• July 7-8 | Spokane — The transcontinental I-90 was constructed through the heart of Spokane, dividing the working-class streetcar suburb of East Central Spokane. The City anticipates that the technical assistance will serve as an integrator to bring together those affected by the existing I-90 corridor with partners that are committed to creating solutions to further identify opportunities to maximize connectivity from the new projects currently underway while minimizing transportation infrastructure barriers.
• July 11-12 | Nashville – Nashville’s I-40 was built through several predominantly African American, middle class neighborhoods in the 1960s, displacing residents and dividing a thriving community. Nashville plans to utilize well-established community partnership networks, gather input from community residents and business owners, host design sessions, synthesize ideas, and pursue implementation funds through its two-day design session.
• July 14-15 | Philadelphia – Philadelphia’s Vine Street Expressway, or I-676, cuts through three communities, including Chinatown and the Callowhill District. The expressway has long impeded economic investment and access to green space for residents of these neighborhoods along its path. The city aims to produce an aspirational vision for the seven-block focus area spanning Vine Street from 7th Street to Broad Street, along with a roadmap for further public engagement, and an implementation plan.
• July 18-19 | Minneapolis –The construction of I-94 divided the Rondo neighborhood, a historically African American community in the Minneapolis metropolitan area. As the city has grown more diverse, ethnic enclaves are still clustered on either side of the highway, now including Asian Americans and Native Americans. The community would like to develop exemplary models of community design and engagement to guide future corridor planning efforts.
The Department has also extended an open invitation to volunteers (https://www.transportation.gov/opportunity/challenge/volunteer-registration#_blank) including architectural design firms, urban and regional planners, engineers, and academia to offer their knowledge and expertise to help the selected cities create forward-thinking, cutting edge solutions to infrastructure problems created by past decisions that cut off and isolated communities from opportunity. Volunteers will provide guidance and technical expertise to design session participants to ensure a robust dialogue.