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As climate change intensifies, small cities will be hit just as hard, if not harder, than their larger counterparts. That’s why on February 3, the aldermen of Davenport, Iowa, unanimously voted to approve the Davenport 2030: A Resilient City master plan, a development roadmap for strengthening the city’s urban core.

The full Davenport 2030 report, available online here, lays out why a comprehensive master plan is needed. The city of approximately 100,000 has been buffeted by what it calls a “triple threat” in recent years: Environmental (the Mississippi River flooded its banks in 2019 and put the city under nearly 23 feet of water), economic (like other Midwestern cities, Davenport is being hit hard by brain drain, especially in light of COVID), and equitable (racial injustice). Thus, the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP) commissioned the New York-based WXY, Chicago real estate consultants SB Friedman Development Advisors, and New York City engineers Sam Schwartz Engineering to draw up a path toward downtown resiliency that would also spur economic development.

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Playful, Connected, & Protected focuses on the actual resiliency aspect, including building parklets, boosting waterfront flood mitigation, and creating a cultural trail. But more than that, this aspect of the plan also includes calming traffic and introducing bike lanes, beautifying the downtown area with arts grants, and ultimately connecting the waterfront to the rest of the city via a river walk.

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