"The Wildcard" Award Winner - 30-Crossing Envision Competition 2022
AMR Architects had the opportunity to participate in the 30-Crossing Envision design competition held by StudioMain in Little Rock, Arkansas. The competition was a study into the possibilities for the 20 acres of land left behind by the removal an interstate exit in the middle of downtown Little Rock.
Designs were to consider connections to all the cultural, business, and residential areas adjacent to the site. They should also take care to focus on the larger connections to the Arkansas River Trail, downtown pedestrian infrastructure, adjacency to the Arkansas River, and how the space can improve the experience of traveling on Interstate-30 through Little Rock. The designs were to account for real-world urban issues such as traffic, parking, homelessness, trash, and multi-modal transportation. Entries were judged on the flexibility of the design to accommodate multiple uses including, but not limited to: a quiet restful space, an active sports space, an entertainment venue, and a place for all diverse citizens of the city.
In terms of dollars per-acre, mixed-use, downtown parcels bring in, on average, five times the property tax and sales tax revenue as conventional single-use commercial establishments on the outskirts of town. Downtowns are highly efficient generators of tax revenue, and the Arkansas Riverwalk addresses the vital need to develop the “Envision” land into mixed use properties that generate substantial tax revenue for the city.
The Arkansas Riverwalk pulls the vitality of the river into the center of the district via a canal lined with dynamic shops, restaurants, and a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, and senior living solutions. This approach demonstrates the ability to incorporate both a public amenity and tourism draw with revenue generating development to create a dense, exciting, and iconic city center.
The existing expanse of park space in the downtown is already an underutilized feature that could benefit from the increased revenue to enhance and maintain its beauty. This existing park space does lack shaded space for fitness and fields for soccer and other recreation; however, and the underpass provides this function for those looking for respite from the heat.