Unleashing the power of a Birmingham neighborhood

David Fleming,, President &CEO of REV Birmingham
David Fleming, President & CEO of REV Birmingham

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is David Fleming.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

You may not have noticed but the city of Birmingham’s reinventing itself—one neighborhood at a time.

Neighborhoods such as Norwood, Woodlawn, and Avondale are all being transformed—and that’s only the beginning.

Great urban neighborhoods are born in different ways.

Some spring up naturally as neighbors become friends; some are catalyzed by a big development; and some are planned.

But there’s one Birmingham neighborhood that’s taking reinvention to new level.

The Parkside District

Parkside bannersThe Parkside District has blossomed with new development as Railroad Park opened and the Birmingham Barons moved into the new Regions Field

This area, which was a light industrial district for over 100 years, suddenly has gained tremendous momentum.  But how do we harness this energy?

Developing a neighborhood from scratch

Mayor William A. Bell sought a partnership with the leaders of UAB, Children’s of Alabama, and Alabama Power.  They asked REV Birmingham to develop a vision for Parkside.

It’s not often you have an opportunity to plan and design a neighborhood while it’s still a baby–so we’ve worked hard to rise to the challenge.

Here’s our vision:

Within 5 to 7 years, create a vibrant, walk-able signature urban neighborhood with a distinctly Birmingham character that supports the surrounding healthcare, educational and business community with a mix of uses including:

  • Residential living
  • Retail–local and national
  • Popular restaurants and entertainment
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Supported by district branding and program management

…with an emphasis on ‘walkability.”

Parkside A District Designed for Walking

 Why walking?

Walking is powerful!  Foot traffic is critical to the growth of urban business–especially retail and dining. And retail and dining are critical to attracting and retaining residents and visitors.

By organizing the district around walking, we ensure the visitors’ experience will include healthy activities that encourage exploration and engagement.

Innovative signage and kiosks, pocket parks with art-based exercise stops, fun/engaging activities, and street focused retail/dining will encourage people to get out of their cars and enjoy the neighborhood and surrounding city.

Parksidethe starting place for the Birmingham experience

Walking allows Parkside with its creative branding and signage to become the connector for our city opening up opportunities for visitors to explore Birmingham.

Sidewalks, abundant pedestrian traffic, and wayfinding signs will allow visitors to feel comfortable and confident in their surroundings.

Attract the best workforce talent with Parkside

Great companies hire great people and being located in Parkside will attract bright young talent.  Millennials aren’t interested in their parent’s suburbs where they have to drive everywhere.  Young people in Birmingham and all over America are looking for walkability and the amenities provided by neighborhoods like Parkside.

Parkside represents a new young America and a new young Birmingham.

Go to www.parksidebhm.com to follow the Parkside story and see the exciting images of the emerging area.

David Fleming is the President and CEO of REV Birmingham, a catalyst for downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization.  A native of the area, David lives with his wife and son in Crestwood.

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David Sher is co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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One thought on “Unleashing the power of a Birmingham neighborhood”

  1. Great article and great idea! I love the development. My daughter takes dance at Alabama Ballet and rather than sit in the car or drive home only to turn back around to get her I walk/jog over to Railroad park. The development in between these venues is exciting – in particular the new bike rentals should also help spur a sense of place and a positive vibe. Keep up the good work! Someone is doing something right in Birmingham!

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