Iowa Downtown Forums

Designing the Downtown Experience

Iowa Downtown Forums

Designing the Downtown Experience
Each downtown has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Appearance, amenities and the overall downtown experience can create positive or negative memories. Learn how to design positive downtown experiences that benefit everyone - businesses, residences and shoppers.

IEDA's Iowa Downtown Resource Center is offering four interactive downtown forums June 26 - 29 for Iowa communities interested in learning more about streetscape improvements, how to fund them, creating good pedestrian experiences and wayfinding signage. The keynote speaker and facilitator will be Dennis Reynolds of Reynolds Urban Design & Urban Planning.

Forum Locations
  • Forest City | Monday, June 26 | Waldorf University, Salveson Hall, 106 S 6th Street
  • Mount Vernon | Tuesday, June 27 | United Methodist Church, 304 1st Street SW
  • Greenfield | Wednesday, June 28 | Warren Cultural Center, 154 Public Square
  • Storm Lake | Thursday, June 29 | The Foundry, 524 Lake Avenue

Downtown forums are complimentary, but registration is required.


Forum Agenda
  • 10:00 a.m. | Introduction
  • 10:15 a.m. | Why bother? How can design impact the success of my downtown and community?
  • 10:30 a.m. | 10 things to consider when creating the downtown pedestrian experience: street trees, business signage, dressing up vacant windows, etc.
  • 11:30 a.m. | Making your blah streetscape (and public spaces) something to be proud of - an interactive activity using photos of your downtown. Attendees are encouraged to upload (preferred) or bring pictures of your streetscapes, sidewalks, intersections and downtown public areas. Be sure to include the name of your community in the file name if you upload pictures.
  • 12:00 p.m. | Lunch (on your own) - attendees are encouraged to go in groups and network. The host community will also offer a short downtown walking tour.
  • 2:00 p.m. | Discussion - an opportunity to critique host community's downtown. What was cool? What could have been cooler? Also, a time to share good things happening in your downtown.
  • 2:45 p.m. | Finding downtown - wayfinding: signs, murals, public art, and social media.
  • 3:30 p.m. | Funding projects - conversation about funding cool public improvement projects.
  • 4:00 p.m. | Adjourn

For more information, contact:

Jim Engle