Ignite High Point
High Point’s economy depends on it’s bi-annual furniture “Market”, which populates its downtown with 80,000 people for two weeks out of the year. The downtown remains virtually uninhabited for the remaining 50 weeks due to commercial lease agreements with Market vendors who reside elsewhere. Other challenges include a stifling permitting process, a freeway project under construction through historic Uptown, and a dying shopping mall adjacent to a University walled off from the community.
As furniture manufacturing moves to Asia, Europe and Las Vegas, the City needed to entice the industry to maintain its foothold in High Point, while creating an environment conducive for the next generation of craftsmen - the 330,000 college students within a 75 mile drive of this waning center of commerce.
DPZ proposed the addition of “Pink Zones” (light red tape) to the city’s zoning code to allow citizens to circumvent the City’s bureaucratic permitting process and encourage young people to build their own businesses and transform the urban core into a world-class downtown.
Ignite High Point yielded 13 individual urban intervention projects, many of them tactical in nature, to be easily permitted, erected and deconstructed in the city’s copious parking lots between Market. DPZ proposed a network of trolley lines and bicycle routes to provide alternative modes of transit and reconnect citizens with their neighborhood centers. This temporary approach to reviving the city makes use of High Point’s mastery in event logistics and provides consistent jobs year-round.
On the final day of the Charrette, High Point citizens recovered an abandoned parking lot downtown and held a tactical pop-up party to celebrate their future. The City Project staff and High Point residents began erecting their own modified shipping containers and tactical parklets within two months of the Charrette.