The Heart of Peoria Vision Plan, created in 2002 by internationally known Duany Plater Zyberk began a process of revitalization for Peoria Illinois. To implement the vision Urban Advisors and Code Studio worked on a team led by Ferrell Madden Associates to create detailed designs of selected study areas of the city with matching form-based code and implementation strategies. Like many American cities, the downtown had been losing population and was physically divided by wide highways. Peoria is one of the few cities where manufacturing employment is on the rise. But the jobs at Caterpillar are mostly in engineering- and a different lifestyle segment than traditional skilled laborers. By examining trends and projections in employment and demographic segments, we discovered a pent-up demand and potential market for urban residential products that were largely unavailable. Providing the neighborhood amenities and products preferred by the unserved market required design and road improvements and code amendments. We were able to develop a revitalization strategy that addressed the underlying causes of past decline and built on existing opportunities in conjunction with a new legal framework. This project received the 2010 Dreihaus Award from the Form Based Codes Institute.
The Broad Avenue charrette was undertaken to provide a test case of the use of form based code within the newly revised Memphis city-county code prepared by Duncan Planning. Working with Lee Einsweiler of Duncan Planning, Ferrell Madden Associates and Rick Hall Transportation Planning, Urban Advisors identified economic strategies for the redevelopment of the corridor and revitalization of the surrounding low income neighborhoods. Through a community-based effort in talks with the community, local developers, CDC’s, the local churches and businesses, Urban Advisors formulated step-by-step action plans, goals and financing strategies for two, five and ten years. Recommendations included strategies for the creation of affordable housing, housing rehabilitation, code enforcement, and creation of space at a cost to allow for new business and minority entrepreneurs. Most importantly to the community, we were able to demonstrate unexpected market support for neighborhood serving retail which generated interest from a local grocery chain.