The District, Phase 1 - Light Hubs
The Light Hubs were the first phase of implementation of The District Gateways Master Plan, for Downtown Columbia, MO. The Master Plan was developed to give identity to the Downtown, enhance wayfinding, and foster economic development for the area.
Due to the fact of being surrounded by 3 colleges, with their own respective mega blocks, the Downtown was difficult to access. The master plan achieved consensus on the overall vision through sound analysis and extensive community engagement.
The master plan has a hierarchy of placemaking and wayfinding initiatives, from a main gateway plaza at the Providence and Broadway intersection, to intersection improvements on the east, west, south and north entries into Downtown. In addition, located throughout Downtown would be public art installations know as Light Hubs which tell the story of different groups, institutions and histories of Columbia. The concept of “My world is ….music, art, journalism, etc…is told through the large, sculptural spheres suspended over local downtown streets. Funding was allocated for three Light Hub Projects, which were designed in 2016 and installed by May 2017. The three light hubs are as follows:
-North Village Arts District Light Hub, showcases the art and creativity of the innovation and artist village on the north edge of Downtown.
-Sharp End Light Hub, reflects the story and vibrancy of the historic African-American neighborhood, that was lost to urban renewal/gentrification in the 1970’s, on the west side of Downtown
-Recreation Light Hub, highlights the beauty, nature and movement found in nature along the Flat Branch Creek Greenway
The master plan and first phase Light Hubs Project has given new identity to Downtown Columbia. For years merchants and institutions have struggled to direct visitors to downtown, they now have a plan. In December of 2017, The District and the City of Columbia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the final design and construction of the Columbia Gateway Plaza, as the main infrastructure project to be built as part of the City’s Bi-Centennial Celebration in 2021.