Vision & Goals
These Vision and Goals are the underpinning of the Sub-Area Plan and are intended to guide planning, future development and investment decisions in the Downtown Area Regional Center.
Downtown is a diverse and thriving city center, rooted in a rich history and seamlessly connected to great Downtown neighborhoods. Downtown is a family-friendly, livable, and inviting place that has retained its small town, community feel, while cultivating a greater mix of uses and density.
Downtown has a wealth of active public spaces and urban greenways, connected by robust public transit and safe pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Its urban neighborhoods infuse their unique character into an exciting live, work, and play environment. A diverse array of housing choices provides options that are affordable for all Downtown residents.
Goal 1: Preserve and Enhance Downtown’s Authenticity
- Grow and evolve in meaningful ways that encourage attachment between people and places;
- Respect historic and culturally significant places, including significant examples of more contemporary and modern architecture;
- Preserve and protect the World Heritage designated San Antonio Missions and other historical sites by ensuring compatible growth; and
- Encourage adaptive reuse.
Goal 2: Connect Districts and Neighborhoods with an Accessible Multi-Modal Network
- Provide infrastructure and development to support improved transit connectivity;
- Improve and expand a high-quality sidewalk network and pedestrian crossings to provide safe access for people of all ability levels;
- Utilize ground floor retail uses and thoughtful design to create an engaging street level experience;
- Invest in bike infrastructure that serves both commuters and recreation;
- Meaningfully incorporate transit into the existing waterway network; and
- Prioritize pedestrian and bike infrastructure over automobiles, including creative curb space management solutions.
Goal 3: Embrace Lifelong Learning and Celebrate the Arts and Cultural Diversity
- Provide access to a full range of schools and other educational opportunities for residents at every stage of their lives;
- Promote an educated and well-trained workforce;
- Encourage the incorporation of public art into development and redevelopment projects;
- Incorporate contextually derived wayfinding features and placemaking; and
- Ensure the sustainability of arts and cultural organizations and institutions.
Goal 4: Diversify the Mix of Uses in the Downtown Core
- Encourage new and renovated buildings to incorporate a mix of uses;
- Encourage the development of vacant lots in the city center with a geographically balanced mix of uses;
- Cultivate entrepreneurship, small business, and innovation;
- Attract additional housing and a diversity of employment options in the Downtown core; and
- Create complete neighborhoods by providing residents with safe and convenient access to daily activities, goods, and services.
Goal 5: Leverage and enhance Downtown’s Reputation as a Destination for Hospitality and Tourism
- Create new and enhance existing destinations to provide additional cultural and entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors alike;
- Create safe and inviting gateways into the Downtown Area from both surface streets and highways;
- Ensure residents and visitors have places to eat, play, and experience San Antonio’s authentic culture;
- Create complementary uses that engage both visitors and residents.
Goal 6: Broaden the Diversity of Housing Options throughout the Downtown Core and its Neighborhoods
- Provide a variety of housing types, both owner- and renter-occupied, that are affordable for people at all stages of life and for a range of income levels;
- Preserve existing affordable housing;
- Emphasize the development of “Missing Middle” housing for both renters and owners; and
- Ensure Downtown is a livable place for families, children, students, the elderly, and others.
Goal 7: Create Greater Opportunities for Parks, Public Space, and Recreation
- Encourage connectivity to existing trails;
- Ensure that public spaces are scaled appropriately, flexible, programmable, and functional for people of all ability levels;
- Ensure that public spaces are located appropriately to optimize their levels of activity;
- Create a public realm that is safe and inviting enough that children are empowered to play and interact with everyday spaces;
- Support existing and encourage new community events; and
- Embrace innovative opportunities to create new parks and recreation spaces.
Goal 8: Promote Safety, Health, and Sustainability
- Increase pedestrian safety through an active investment in improved lighting and complete street design;
- Increase the tree canopy throughout Downtown;
- Create healthy and sustainable urban neighborhoods through high-quality urban design, high-performance buildings, and an emphasis on green infrastructure, air and water quality; and
- Promote the use of pervious surfaces in redevelopment efforts.
Goal 9: Enhance Wayfinding, Key Gateways and Critical Connections
- Integrate great signage, and distinct monumentation and wayfinding throughout Downtown;
- Promote stronger, unique identities for each of the districts to highlight their unique sense of place;
- Identify and enhance key gateways between districts and neighborhoods to better demarcate their boundaries; and
- Address major infrastructure barriers, such as freight rail lines and interstate highways, and enhance critical connections through creative design, lighting, and public art.