GUEST COLUMN BY DOUG CARPENTER | MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL
Too often in the past, some Memphis projects were deemed successful if we “got them done.”
That bar has been raised: Just getting it done will not satisfy our city any longer; doing it exceedingly well for the benefit of the entire community is the expectation.
Creative problem-solving is not form over function but rather function with form.
This distinction is the hallmark of a creative environment, indicative of a thriving one. We see it and benefit from it in Memphis regularly, whether we recognize it or not.
The recently announced MBJ Building Memphis finalists represent more than renovated warehouses or functional spaces. Big River Crossing, Shelby Farms’ Heart of the Park, Loflin Yard and the Chisca on Main are end products that yield more than the sum of their parts. Each is a living, dynamic asset to individuals and entities throughout our community and around the world.
At the recent Mid-South Regional Greenprint Summit, I was inspired by and appreciative of the Wolf River Greenway and Shelby County’s success in obtaining a $60 million National Disaster Resilience Grant for federal flood mitigation funding.
The Memphis of our past would conjure the notion of drainage ditches or “functional solutions” to the issue of flooding. Competing with 56 other counties, Shelby was awarded the funds on a great need and a creative and scalable solution for other markets to replicate.
The plan represents well the wisdom of form with function. The collaborative result combines high-end urban planning, community redevelopment and connectivity to benefit low- to moderate-income communities, all with ingenious water retention systems.
You can imagine aqua parks next to baseball diamonds, trails for hiking, places to encourage biking and walking and family time — or you can make them come to fruition, which is what Memphis has done. The project will increase property values, local self-esteem, health and our sense of community.
Our city's flood mitigation program is seen as a marker and a model for other markets, as we have already been in areas such as education reform and real estate development.
The problem-solving applied through these projects creates a place of purpose and is one of many clear indications that this city’s momentum has depth and breadth.
Economic development, talent recruitment, civic participation and academic engagement from the public and private sectors are all ingredients of our success and should be commended.
Doug Carpenter is owner and principal of DCA, a Memphis-based creative communications consulting firm. He leads the branding/marketing efforts of clients including Building Memphis finalists Big River Crossing and Loflin Yard.