The plaza outside of 20 Hudson Yards. Credit: Connie Zhou.

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How to Save America’s Downtowns: Forth Bagley Presents the Transformative Power of Central Social Districts

On April 10 at the Urban Land Institute’s biannual conference, the KPF Principal argued that the best urban development strategy is to transform central business districts into central social districts.

In his presentation “From Central Business Districts to Central Social Districts,” Forth recounted the challenges facing America’s office sector and how we can reinvent classic central business districts from single-use, commuter-focused blocks of office buildings into lifestyle-focused, urban developments where people spend their leisure time. These central social districts have proven to be attractive alternatives to an increasingly online world and magnets for investment and urban innovation. By thinking of our downtowns as homes for social activity, Forth explained how we can expand the realm of what’s possible and fill city centers with activity, life, and commerce.

The ULI Spring Meeting ran from April 9 to 11 in New York City, with speaking events taking place at the Hilton Midtown. Forth’s presentation was held in Sutton South, Level 2, on April 10 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Learn more here.

In addition to Forth’s presentation, Sustainability Design Director Carlos Cerezo Davila spoke about embodied carbon, and ULI featured KPF projects on three tours.