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Downtown Austin Alliance Receives International Recognition for Excellence in Urban Place Management

October 6, 2020
Official Press Release
Published October 6, 2020

The Downtown Austin Alliance (Downtown Alliance) and the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation (Foundation) were recognized by the International Downtown Association (IDA) with Downtown Achievement Awards of Excellence for its work and initiatives related to the Urban Land Institute (ULI) panel on I-35 and Writing on the Walls.

The Downtown Alliance’s work on the Urban Land Institute panel on I-35 was among 12 entries in the category of Planning, Design and Infrastructure. This category features unique organizational approaches and projects in the areas of downtown planning, streetscape improvements, sustainable infrastructure and wayfinding. The ULI panel was the first step in a community-driven effort to develop a roadmap for transforming the land and streetscape surrounding I-35 through central Austin. In May, the Downtown Alliance released the findings from ULI on the I-35 project through central Austin.

“We are honored to be awarded for the important and innovative work we are doing to help transform the areas surrounding the I-35 through central Austin,” Melissa Barry, vice president, planning for the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. “The ULI panel process was a crucial first step in gathering expert opinions and community feedback, and helped to set us down a path to co-create our vision with the community, ensuring that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform I-35 can help achieve the best outcomes for all Austinites.”

Writing on the Walls, a series of public art installations and events held across downtown—including the commission and creation of Austin’s largest mural, “The Beauty of Liberty and Equality” on The LINE Hotel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment— was among 29 entries in the category of Public Space Management. The category features unique organizational approaches and projects in the areas of clean, safe and hospitality, placemaking and activation and facilities management in the category of Public Space Management and Operations.

“The inaugural launch of the Foundation’s signature Writing on the Walls in March was a community-wide celebration of art and activism focused on women’s rights and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment,” Molly Alexander, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation, said. “The murals, which serve as a beacon for female empowerment, allow our community to experience the power of public art. We are honored to receive this recognition from IDA and look forward to continuing this important program with future Writing on the Walls events and activations.”

The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. The Award of Excellence acknowledges an exceptional response to an industry challenge demonstrating application of prosperous and inclusive place management and exceeds the jury criteria.

“The Downtown Austin Alliance has shown expert application of professional urban place management principles for its work on I-35 and Writing on the Walls,” David Downey, IDA president and CEO, said. “The Downtown Austin Alliance’s work should serve as a model example to all member communities within IDA.”

For more information on Downtown Austin Alliance projects, events, advocacy and more, click here.

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