It's Business Time
A neighborhood workshop about the future of Cincinnati’s North Avondale Business District
North Avondale Neighborhood Association
Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore
In 2013, Interboro was invited by the North Avondale Neighborhood Association to conduct a neighborhood workshop about the future of Cincinnati’s North Avondale Business District. The motivation for the workshop was the belief that the spine of the business district--Reading Road--has “the potential to be a vibrant, walkable commercial center that could catalyze development in immediate and surrounding areas,” but is presently not thriving. What can be done to make Reading Road more vibrant? How can it attract more businesses and shoppers? How could existing businesses better serve their customers?
To answer these questions, we forwent a traditional SWOT analysis in favor of a series of exercises designed to encourage residents to take a closer look at what works and what's unique, and to collectively try to discover what we called "North Avondaleism." Reading Road certainly has its problems (retail vacancy, broken sidewalks that are too narrow at points, insufficient pedestrian crossing time, etc.), but our hunch was that many of the things that people think are problems are really opportunities in disguise. Might there be an opportunity to develop Reading Road endogenously, or in a way that works with and builds on what exists, as opposed to supplanting it in favor of something entirely new?
The workshop resulted in a Manifesto for North Avondale-ism.