GOOD Ideas for Cities: Promoting Activity on an Urban River

Richmond, Virginia is planning a revitalization of its riverfront. How can the city ensure that economic and cultural development also happens there?


In Richmond, Virginia, a massive revitalization plan has been announced for its James River, which will bring new parks, walking trails, and public spaces to the downtown riverfront. But how can the city ensure that economic and community activity—people, in other words—also come to the river? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the James RVA team revealed their plan to encourage, share, and promote activities along the river, making it a social and cultural destination for the city. By giving the river an online personality, James RVA, the team hoped to create a social media presence for the river, one that you could friend on Facebook or tag on Instagram. A website and app would collect and map references to the river, creating a vibrant picture of what was happening there. A program with local businesses would also encourage development with incentives to create river-themed tours, retail, or pop-up eateries that could bring economic growth to the area.

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