planning + urban design


With nearly forty years having passed since the opening of the Pedestrian Mall and the most recent improvements taking place in 1999, a redesign of Iowa City’s iconic destination is necessary to continue to attract and support unique businesses and to appeal to a wide range of users. Genus is leading the multidisciplinary team through full redesign efforts and an extensive public outreach effort.

Two overarching design goals inform the design process. The first goal is to create a series of secondary destinations to further enrich the experience of the Pedestrian Mall. Entries become more welcoming with gateways, accent lighting and wayfinding kiosks. Black Hawk Mini Park is reimagined as a flexible programming and event space and supports a revolving public art program.  The Weather Dance Fountain and performance space is strengthened with a permanent stage canopy and reconfigured seating. Enhanced opportunities for families and children are introduced at the Iowa City Public Library.

The second goal is to introduce a flexible, multi-layered lighting framework to provide functional and safety lighting as well as accent lighting. Select trees, public artwork, story walls, kiosks and the Weather Dance Fountain are subtly illuminated to create a dramatic night time environment and to extend use into the evening hours. New overhead structures and gateways are designed with integrated lighting and color changing displays. Other site-wide improvements include utility upgrades, full replacement of paving and all new site furnishings.