Ignite High Point

Parking lots on Kivett Drive are transformed with liner buildings made of shipping containers.
Location: High Point, North Carolina, USA
Project Categories: UrbanismCodes
Year Started: 2013
Status: planned
Size: 786 acres
Website: www.highpointnc.gov/cityproject/

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.

Proposed conditions at Farriss Avenue and Main Street. Existing Conditions at Farriss Avenue and Main Street. Existing Conditions at Lexington Avenue and Main Street. Proposed conditions at Lexington Avenue and Main Street. Parking lots on Kivett Drive are transformed with liner buildings made of shipping containers. Rendering of Rendering of the upper plaza level of Existing: High Point's Commerce Avenue, fronted by blank walls and locked doors on either side. Proposed: High Point's Commerce Avenue transformed into a vibrant commercial street. Existing: High Point's Main Street as a 5-lane road through the city toward downtown. Proposed: High Point's Main Street transformed with the simple addition of street trees, wider sidewalks and a center-lane trolley. Existing: Aerial view of High Point Oak Hollow Mall's underutilized parking lot. Proposed: Aerial rendering of the mall parking lot transformed into a neighborhood comprised of shipping containers. Proposed: Aerial rendering of the full mall parking lot transformed by a variety of uses and spaces. Proposed: Second floor diagram of Oak Hollow mall conversion into an incubator with live/work studios for local students and artisans. Proposed: Street view of the artisan shipping container neighborhood placed on the mall parking lot.

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