The Overnight Place

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An emerging riverfront district in Covington, Kentucky’s urban core has long been strangled by high-speed arterials that have limited the district’s growth. Recently, as part of a three-day festival, we were asked to quickly and cheaply create better connections, wayfinding and district identity strategies. With only 10 days to assess, plan and implement a comprehensive strategy we quickly began building everything from bike racks and upgraded crosswalks to temporary rideshare stands and benches.

Here are five takeaways from our experience creating an ‘Overnight Place:’

1. Lo-Tech meets the Hi-Tech

Technology, now more than ever, influences how we interact with places. But the magic truly happens when you pair that new tech with the Demand Discovery approach to the low-cost testing of ideas. Want a ride share spot in your district? Give Uber a call and create a stencil. Want to influence where people park their eScooters? Quickly and cheaply create the eScooter parking.

2. Moveable Matters

Whether it’s a bench, bike rack, or engagement station mobility matters. Keep your infrastructure light and moveable to adapt to how people interact or don’t interact with your interventions. Whether it was a large engagement station or bike rack, the infrastructure was kept light enough to pick up and move based on user interaction to get the location right.

3. Semi-Permanent versus Temporary

While some of what we installed was only for the weekend, we also created longer lasting interventions that will last 6-9 months. This allows a longer documentation of the impact of the installations and a smarter permanent infrastructure investment.

4. The Amazing Pedestrian Paddle

To get people safely to the district, we installed two rubber based pedestrian safety signs on two streets dominated by the car. We watched them prove their worth immediately. The last thing drivers want to do is damage their cars so we saw these interventions act almost like stop signs while truly creating a different street in a matter of seconds.

5. Pop-Up informs Permanent

Always be thinking about the outcome. Document what you see, where you see it and when you see it to understand how your intervention can inform permanent investments. Use this process to create a marketable plan of action and influence your city decision-making process.