Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Developers: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) and the Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation
Designers: MKSK; Jerome Scott Architects; Allied Works Architecture; The Olin Studio; Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Site Size: 48.2 acres (19.5 ha)
Jury Statement: The Scioto Peninsula Cultural District exemplifies how civic leaders have a catalytic impact, changing the economic and cultural direction of a city through collaborative development. The District reclaimed and comprehensively revitalized the riverfront, incorporating world-class museums, parks, and trails, and stimulating adjacent development.
The Scioto Peninsula Cultural District has been a developmental black hole, only recently coming to fruition after seven failed planning attempts within the last century. The district spans 48.2 acres (19.5 ha) and comprises four distinct amenities: the Scioto Greenways, a satellite location of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Columbus’s Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the National Veterans’ Memorial and Museum, and Dorrian Green.
The greenways—1.5 miles (2.4 km) of pathways that connect surrounding neighborhoods to the downtown—were made possible by the removal of a century-old dam, which freed up 33 acres (13.3 ha) of land. The museum satellite brought world-class museum programming to a region that previously lacked easy access to such amenities. The National Veterans’ Memorial and Museum addressed a lack of formal recognition of veterans of all wars, both living and dead. The museum is currently free to all veterans and strives to be free to everybody in the coming years to continue to close the civilian/veteran gap. Built over a parking garage, Dorrian Green is a park that has brought a much-needed playground to downtown Columbus. The garage is built in the floodplain, and has been designed to resist flooding, even two stories underground.
The river is at its healthiest in a century, due to sustainability efforts that include stormwater management and butterfly habitats. The project serves as an example of what public/private partnerships can accomplish for areas beyond their boundaries. Even though all four of its components are public amenities, the Cultural District has spurred over $900 million in investment on the peninsula and the adjacent 21 acres (8.5 ha).