BE IT RESOLVED, that the council supports use of the following planning principles for development of Duluth’s East Downtown, Hillside and Waterfront:


Plans, regulations and projects are some of the means for implementing the vision of Duluth’s East Downtown, Hillside and Waterfront charrette. These implementation tools will continue to evolve over time but they are guided by a broader, more holistic vision of place making and community building as represented in these Duluth principles generated by the citizen’s of Duluth during the charrette.

1.   Boost Duluth.

Nurture a collaborative culture that maintains a positive dialogue focused on enhancing Duluth’s quality of life.

2.   Evoke a sense of place.

Encourage all new development and public investment in the Downtown to say, “This is Duluth,” reflecting the city’s unique regional geography, climate, history and character and rejecting “Anywhere USA” models that would erase everything that is special about Duluth.

3.   Foster public safety.

Pursue place making initiatives and programming to improve the attractiveness of existing public spaces to reinforce them as magnets for public activity. Increasing the number of people in the city’s public spaces, along the lakefront and in the neighborhoods will enhance community livability while promoting public safety. Enhance focal points within the larger public parks and program them for regularly recurring events such as community “jam sessions” (open stage, bring your own instrument), flea markets, farmer’s markets, and participatory arts, sports and cultural activities. Facilitate a continuous multi-cultural dialog that celebrates diversity through similar initiatives in the arts, sports, festivals and other community building initiatives.

4.   Preserve and enhance heritage resources.

Preserve historic buildings, public spaces and view corridors to the lake. Duluth’s industrial history and historic architecture are key aspects of Duluth’s quality of life, and contribute to its distinctive identity and attractiveness as a place to live, work, recreate, visit, and invest in the city’s homes, businesses and institutions.

5.   Invest in the public realm.

Create a network of streets, sidewalks and parks that are safe, vibrant and pedestrian friendly. Replant boulevard trees and prevent exposed parking lots and garages, blank walls, “dead space,” and poorly designed skywalks from eroding Duluth’s walkable streets.

6.   Improve connectivity.

Start a program of street improvements to enhance bicycle and pedestrian movement and add pedestrian connections to Lake Park. Require new development and redevelopment of properties to reconnect pedestrian- and bike-friendly fragments of streets and blocks into a continuous walkable network.

7.   Establish and restore the unique ecology of the city’s neighborhoods, districts, corridors and Downtown.

The highest quality of life is achieved where a full spectrum of places and experiences across a spectrum of natural and built landscapes is provided. Preserve the city’s natural settings and enhance the urbanity of the Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. Build dense, mixed-use in downtown with an urbanscape; infill medium and low-density housing in the surrounding neighborhoods with a greenscape. Continue a street tree planting program.

8.   Broaden the mix of uses.

Create a Downtown, Hillside and lakefront where people choose to live, work and play. Cluster and mix modest retail, dining and cafes with civic and institutional uses and resist “over-retailing” the downtown, particularly in skyways that can kill street-level shops. Reinforce concentrations of retail where it already exists and encourage concentrations of similar types of businesses (e.g., dining, antiques, home furnishings, arts-and-culture related) to magnify their power to attract visitors.

9.   Expand housing opportunities for people from all walks of life to live Downtown.

Tap the market demand for a variety of urban housing types (condominiums, town homes, live-work, urban apartment buildings, small lot single-family attached and detached), income levels and seasonal residences in and around the Downtown. Look for win-win development opportunities that accommodate new, profitable housing and mixed-use development while providing some units, funding, land or other resources to support workforce and low-income housing initiatives. Market Duluth’s amenity package of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and excellent health care facilities, low cost of living and high quality of life to attract new seasonal and permanent residents.

10.  Improve the regulatory framework.

Create a form-based code that provides citizens, decision-makers, and developers with a transparent, visual language to guide new development and redevelopment of properties within the study area. The form-based code should illustrate a predictable build-out that reflects the Duluth principles, and revalues rather than removes existing building stock. Simplify the process of review, permitting and approvals for development proposals consistent with the Duluth principles and form-based code.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This resolution sets out the principles the council supports for use in creating development plans for certain areas of the city.