Comprehensive Plan: Memphis 3.0

  • People
  • Planning

In anticipation of its 200th Anniversary, the City of Memphis partnered with Streetwyze, Opticos Design, Alta Planning + Design, Strategic Economics, Bass River Advisors, and Self+Tucker Architects to update their citywide Comprehensive Plan for the first time in 40 years and set a new course for development and change in the City. Memphis 3.0 aims to kick-start Memphis’ third century by reversing a pattern of development that has failed to deliver benefits and quality-of-life improvements in an equitable way, while building community trust in the City’s ability to improve the lives of all Memphians. 

The project spans across the 14 diverse and characteristically unique districts of Memphis. Streetwyze and Opticos worked to develop a plan-wide strategy for equitable community engagement and digital outreach at multiple scales and for a diverse range of neighborhood-types, including several major downtown areas. 

In this context, key themes on which community-input were needed included economic development, transportation, redevelopment, land use, urban design, recreation, and the environment. Special consideration was paid to the coordination of public and private entities and specific enabling legislature and financing strategies for this complex project.

Streetwyze worked directly with local leaders to co-create the community engagement and digital outreach strategy.   Dynamic and diverse community engagement activities and digital tools were important components of the strategic plan in order to ensure that the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive plan is reflective of all voices and co-owned by community leaders.

Key Findings/Stats:

  • Comprehensive Plan size = 324 square miles
  • Community Gathering Spaces = 9,145 acres of parkland; 100 miles of greenways
  • Community Engagement = 15,000 Memphians engaged
  • Architectural Firms and Diverse community partnerships included:  br3gs Architects, the University of Memphis Design Collaborative, and Ray Brown Urban Design
  • Plan Features include:
    • Focus on Equity: land use strategy that directs public investments to disinvested places in need of stabilization and to places where public investments are most likely to catalyze additional private investment in the future. The resulting place-based land use map focuses future growth and investment around mixed-use centers identified by the community as “community anchors” that help to stabilize neighborhoods and serve as nodes of community activity and identity.
    • “Degree of Change” maps providing a framework for prioritizing investment based on land use and urban form, existing conditions, and individual communities’ desire for change
    • Range of residential and mixed-use land use categories that encourage the types of intensity needed to activate community anchors and their surrounding neighborhoods while honoring the existing physical form and character that Memphians value in these places.
    • Economic development plan was developed concurrently with the Comprehensive Plan, so policies in each are informed by the other