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The City of Jackson, working alongside Beckett & Raeder, Inc. is reimagining the City with renewed enthusiasm from the ground up, literally. Designing a new park in a space left behind by a demolished vacant skyscraper, the City began work to transform the area. After the success of the Jackson Blackman Park, an innovative Master Plan was adopted, and implementation has begun. As the City was ripping up streets downtown to replace 100-yearold pipes, it decided to simultaneously plan and design a new streetscape.


Building on multiple planning initiatives, the City was eager to continue this ongoing transformation. Demand in the area was growing and now was the chance to capitalize on that energy. Through several meetings with the City and the DDA, a vision was agreed upon and set in motion. Upon completing the streetscape, a mixed-used hotel and market-rate lofts began construction, demonstrating the catalytic power of this project on inducing development favorable to the City’s overall vision of a bustling downtown.


Jackson was looking to incorporate placemaking principles to activate the downtown and entice people to partake in its burgeoning renaissance, and the City’s choice to make a hefty public investment has had many noticeable positive effects. While certainly the upfront costs are high, the dividends received from an improved perception of the city center are even higher and longer-lasting. Arguably, even without the private investment it has induced, it was a prudent decision for honoring important intangibles that make a city great: hard-earned community morale boost, resident pride in their beautiful downtown, and improved public safety. The culmination of planning work is making Jackson the “place to be” in the region and has gone a huge way in revitalizing assets and making real progress.

Jackson Downtown Streetscape
Jackson, Michigan

Urban Design Award, 2018

Downtown Jackson Streetscape

Michigan Association of Planning

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