Date: April 23 – 29, 2006
Location: Shreveport/Bossier City, LA
Sponsor: Northwest Louisiana Board of Realtors
Chair: Leigh M. Ferguson
Subject Area: Regional Growth and Planning, Economic Development
Summary of Recommendations
Representatives from the Northwest Louisiana Board of Realtors asked ULI to assemble an Advisory Services panel to help the public and private sectors take a fresh look at some regional issues facing the Shreveport/Bossier City area. The intent of the panel’s recommendations were to help the region create a unified vision, set priorities, establish the steps for getting each priority action done, and identify who should do what.
The panel believed that a joint master plan, including a long-term vision as well as short-term decisions, between Shreveport and Bossier City was critical to smart growth and urban land development. Although many issues within the master plan occurred at a regional level it was important to let some decisions be made at the local level by the citizens and government. The panel recommended that the study area adopt a more modern approach of having multiple commercial districts and creating nodes of activity. Within Shreveport and Bossier City, the panel found four possible commercial districts. The panel felt that these four districts could support the evolution into more urban, mixed-use communities with pedestrian orientations, a progression needed to strengthen their economic competitiveness. The panel also proposed a historic preservation plan to help in maintaining the historic building stock in Shreveport and Bossier City. In this plan the adaptive reuse of historic buildings was strongly encouraged, in hopes of drawing in a young creative/artistic class to the city center. With the Red River as both cities best asset, the panel recommended developing outdoor recreation and park space all along the banks. For all of this to occur, the panel proposed new organizational leadership and collaboration between Shreveport and Bossier City. The panel also picked three catalytic projects (mixed-income housing community, mixed-use historic preservation project, and pedestrian bridge) that would help to spark the redevelopment of Shreveport and Bossier City into regional destinations.