Data-Driven Growth: What KC Can Learn From Memphis
Memphis, a sprawling, river-flanked, music- and barbecue-imbued city about 7½ hours to the south, offers some important lessons in development for Kansas City.
Doug McGowen, the chief operating officer of Tennessee’s second-largest city, discusses its use of data-driven policies in monitoring and managing growth in the latest installment of the Library’s Making a Great City series. Much like Kansas City today, Memphis found itself overextended with a governing area of 340 square miles. A new comprehensive development plan in 2019 adopted a market-based approach in assessing the areas where business attraction and growth were most needed, realistic, and compatible with neighborhood needs and aspirations. A proactive transit plan stressed ridership goals over coverage of the entire city.
Since launching this initiative a little more than a decade ago, the city has put the brakes on unsustainable development. Its “Accelerate Memphis” implementation process uses investments in neighborhoods, parks, and major civic assets to kick start growth and improve equity, housing options, and connectivity.
McGowen’s presentation is co-presented by Multistudio (formerly Gould Evans), Verimore Bank, the Hall Family Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.