From the Editor

Making a Place a Destination
Kathryn Mackenzie

lacemaking in its broadest form is planning, designing, and managing a city’s public spaces. But what it’s really about is making the most of existing resources to boost the appeal of an urban area. It’s about bringing light and fun to a downtown’s shadowy areas by adorning alleyways with murals and foliage or transforming a barren strip of sidewalk into an outdoor café, all with the intent of making the city center a destination instead of a throughway. The best example of placemaking in Alaska is happening in downtown Anchorage, which is undergoing an evolution to make the area appealing—not just to tourists—but to residents. The area already has so much going it for it: stunning views of Cook Inlet, an eclectic mix of small shops and boutiques, and large open spaces. But downtown Anchorage has seen its fair share of neglect. Those large open spaces became gathering spots for nefarious activities and new businesses stopped coming in (especially with the economic downturn), giving many downtown areas an empty, eerie, forgotten feel. However, the downtown revitalization effort happening now, spearheaded by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership (ADP), working in partnership with both the public and private sectors, has begun to infuse downtown with excitement and life, transforming the forgotten into the inviting.

Revitalizing downtown Anchorage—or any downtown for that matter—requires engaging the services of a host of industries including architecture, engineering, construction, hospitality, retail, tourism, government entities, and more… all working together to turn an area that has fallen into disrepair into an economic engine that supports the local economy.

This month in Alaska Business we delve into how ADP, with Amanda Moser at its helm, is working closely with municipal and regional leadership to advocate for more affordable housing and better transportation to execute a plan to help the city center reach its full potential. If you haven’t visited lately, put downtown Anchorage on your to-see list—we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Kathryn Mackenzie
Managing Editor, Alaska Business