Bringing Downtown Back Report
The Council of Infill Builders is pleased to release “Bringing Downtown
Back: Ways to Boost Infill Development in the San Joaquin Valley.” The report describes ways that San Joaquin Valley leaders can restore their historic downtowns and overcome the barriers that led to the current deterioration and economic challenges prevalent across many Valley neighborhoods. The findings resulted from a convening of Valley land use experts and officials in Fresno.
Priority recommendations developed by the group include:
Improving urban design and expanding amenities, such as through “pop-up culture” of food trucks and art shows and by allowing more experimentation and temporary permits for activities that bring residents into downtown neighborhoods.
Flexible zoning that allows for new product types and catalytic interim uses for existing buildings or public spaces to encourage revitalization in key infill areas.
Regional and local prioritization of infrastructure in infill areas, such as parks, utility upgrades, and sidewalks, as well as upgrading and performing deferred maintenance on public infrastructure, based on municipal assessments and master planning for infrastructure needs.
Air district funding to finance catalytic infill projects that will reduce driving and air pollution by reviving downtown neighborhoods.
Tiered or differential development impact fees that account for the true fiscal and environmental burdens of outlying projects and encourage new projects in infill neighborhoods.
Valley leaders should consider these steps both to revitalize their historic neighborhoods and to accommodate future population growth in ways that address emerging market demand for more connected, convenient, and walkable communities.