Introduction to Co-City Baton Rouge

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Sunset on the Baton Rouge River Walk

LabGov Georgetown (LabGov) and the Marron Institute of Urban Management at NYU (Marron) have partnered with Build Baton Rouge (BBR), the redevelopment authority of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to apply the Co-City methodology to economically revitalize the Plank Road Corridor of Baton Rouge. The project (called Co-City Baton Rouge) is part of the larger Plank Road Project being driven by BBR. The Plank Road Project envisions a transit-oriented approach for the overall revitalization of a 4.3-mile segment of Plank Road and consists of three components:

  1. Planning for a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) installation
  2. Land banking of adjudicated and blighted parcels to support catalytic development projects
  3. Creating a comprehensive revitalization master plan

Although all of the components are interrelated, Co-City Baton Rouge is leading the effort on the second component and building on the third component. The Plank Road Project represents an unprecedented level of investment targeted at one of Baton Rouge’s most disinvested and embattled neighborhoods.

The Plank Road Master Plan was presented to a packed, standing-room only crown on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 during a public event at the Valdry Center for Philanthropy at Southern University. The East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor, President Sharon Weston-Broome, along with the master plan team, various stakeholders involved in the process, and many community residents  were all in attendance. The master planning process evolved over the last year and aims to revitalize a 4.3-mile section of Plank Road, stretching from 22nd Street to Harding Boulevard/Hooper Road in Baton Rouge. BBR produced a docu-short chronicling the planning process and its proposed policies, programs, and developments, which can be accessed here.

Plank Road Master Plan Team (Source BBR)

Co-City Baton Rouge has started to develop project concepts based on meetings during the master plan process since the project started in April 2019. One of the aims of Co-City Baton Rouge is to promote community building while engaging a wide set of stakeholders who, in the end, will produce projects in joint collaboration  with end users to overcome social inequalities and enhance the participation of underrepresented social groups. Toward this end, the concepts that Co-City Baton Rouge in conjunction with BBR and local stakeholders identified through the course of our many community engagements include: Community EcoParks, Food Truck Incubator, Community Land Bank, Neighborhood Improvement District, and a Public History Interpretive Program.

Over the coming weeks this blog will include more information on the project and its core concepts, updates on how the project is progressing, including the hurdles and challenges we face, and the many lessons learned along the way.  This blog will document project milestones and celebrate our victories, but also thoughtfully and carefully map when and how things go awry, which is always part of the learning process.  

Next Post: Understanding Baton Rouge