The Town Branch Commons masterplan was completed as part of an international design competition to address the challenges and possibilities unique to the urban context of Lexington, Kentucky. Through in-depth analysis of the area and its history, two primary project challenges emerge: urban growth and movement across the city.
Although Lexington has an established urban growth boundary, sprawl has become an inevitable part of the area. This is a trend that is seen in many places throughout the country. As development has expanded over time, the city core suffered, and the downtown has been drained of economic vibrancy. What’s more, this lack of investment has led to a decline in ecologic function across the urban system. In order to address these multifaceted challenges, the final design response is driven by metrics associated with five overlays: cultural networks, energy dynamics, mobility scales, natural systems, and livable networks. The masterplan design encourages growth of downtown through a historically based streetcar and park system, while renewing a daylit creek and building off its adjacent open spaces. By cleansing downstream waters, increasing ecosystem services, and encouraging internal growth and economic development, the plan ultimately seeks to revitalize the heart of downtown Lexington.