November 26 2012

The Future of Spokane’s Cooperative Downtown University Campus

Spokane’s university presence is synonymous with Gonzaga’s basketball fame. But there are many other universities trying to take their place as downtown powerhouses in Spokane’s economic future: Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and Whitworth University are the largest stakeholders at the Riverpoint campus. So, how are things changing for this conglomerate of satellite campuses?

The University District Development Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was created to implement the 2004 University District Strategic Master Plan. The master plan includes the major project of constructing a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over a collector arterial, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the BNSF railway, and future right-of-way set aside for future light rail (which has yet to be planned for).

This bridge will connect the Riverpoint campus to the South end of the University District. The South end of the district has seen much disservice from the City of Spokane in recent decades. The area shows a great need for redevelopment that is relevant to its location in the University District, otherwise business owners may see their pride and joy go into the red for good.

The Master Plan also determines the need for affordable housing and a variety of retail, and dining options in the area to keep students in the district, regardless of the time of day. Currently, there are no walkable dining options on the Riverpoint campus that aren’t run through Washington State University and a catering contract. There is also virtually no affordable housing for Riverpoint students in the district.

Spokane’s University District has a lot of growing up to do and it must be in sync with the Downtown core in order for both areas to be successful in the future.

Does your city have a University District? What are the shortfalls and opportunities for the area?

Credit: Images linked to source. Claims linked to supporting data.

Aascot Holt

Aascot Holt is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a major in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Geography. She will graduate in the spring of 2013. She is from Stevenson, WA and currently lives in Spokane, WA in a brick 1936 kit house. She is most intrigued by small-city and small town planning, parks and recreation planning, long-range planning, and historic preservation. She hopes to continue her habit of being involved with many planning projects at a time, and fears being pigeonholed. Aascot maintains the “Being A Planning Student” Tumblr as well as her planning-centric blog, The Comprehensive. She is currently writing Cheney, WA’s entirely new comprehensive parks, recreation, and trails plan, completely pro bono. More can be learned about her endeavors via LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 26th, 2012 at 6:33 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Engineering, Environmental Design, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “The Future of Spokane’s Cooperative Downtown University Campus”

  1. Gonzaga University’s Influence on Spokane’s Planning Future | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] discussed in my past article, ”The Future of Spokane’s Cooperative Downtown University Campus,” the conglomeration of satellite campuses across the river from Gonzaga are without housing [...]

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