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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Enticing Tourists into City Centers

A plan from Richmond, Virginia uses supergraphics and green space to encourage freeway travelers to make a stop in their city.


Richmond, Virginia has a beautiful downtown and vibrant arts community, but its freeway exits are less than enticing. Unfortunately, these are all that many tourists see of Richmond as they travel to other locations. How can the city use these gateways to give travelers a taste of the city's history and culture? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the whyRVA team tackled the challenge of bringing these tourists into Richmond who might otherwise not make the stop.

The team launched a hashtag, #whyRVA, to drum up social media buzz by using it on ads and other public art installations on the freeways in the region that would include interesting facts about the city. As travelers near the city, the team planned to use physical improvements like ribbons of green space that would run from the freeways to downtown (and also provide new public space), and supergraphics on visible buildings that give historical insight into Richmond's neighborhood.

Challenge: The Richmond Region is rich in history, the arts and entertainment opportunities, but tourists often pass us by when traveling along I-95 and I-64 on their way to other destinations. How can we make the gateways to our region more attractive and encourage travelers to exit the interstate and visit the Richmond Region?

Chuck Gates, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission

whyRVA: Heide Trepanier, Collin Brady, John Sarvay, Stephen Robertson, Charles Collie, Casey Quinlan, Elizabeth Cogar, Ryn Bruce, Ross Catrow, Johnny Hugel, Tony Scida, Meredith Salley, Ali Croft, Christine Pizzo, Emily Smith, David McIntosh, Carter Graham Holt, Alana Kucharski, Ansel Olson, Jon Baliles

To learn more about this idea contact Christine Pizzo at cloobird[at]gmail[dot]com

Video by Patrick Gregory

GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit Watch more videos of recent GOOD Ideas for Cities events, and if you'd like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities

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