National Planning Achievement Gold Award for Urban Design
Downtown Fort Wayne Public Realm Action Plan
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Alleys Become a Vibrant Pedestrian Network
Bringing Unexpected Urban Spaces to Life
Seeking innovative ways better connect destinations in the city's downtown, Fort Wayne, Indiana, turned to an abundant but unexpected resource: alleys.
These empty urban spaces were at best underused and at worst unsafe when the City of Fort Wayne partnered with Gehl to transform the downtown's alleyways into a thriving pedestrian network as part of its public realm action plan.
The Downtown Fort Wayne Public Realm Action Plan is the recipient of a 2020 National Planning Achievement Award for Urban Design.
After a thorough engagement process with community residents and local businesses, the team created an action plan to activate alley spaces with new lighting, artwork, and seating. Dark alleys that residents used to avoid have now become a connected series of pedestrian environments that increase community safety and expand equitable access to public space.
The effort easily fell in line with other city-wide initiatives to encourage a mix of uses and supportive infrastructure within the downtown's core. The success of the Fort Wayne Public Realm Action Plan's alleyway network invites pedestrians and cyclists to explore Fort Wayne like never before and challenges planners to redefine "public space."