Placemaking in Downtown Richmond, VA | Venture Richmond
Placemaking in Downtown Richmond

Making a Place in Downtown Richmond

Whether it’s wayfinding, beautification, or turning parking spaces into gathering places, we have a hand in placemaking efforts throughout downtown.

What is Placemaking?

“Placemaking” is a people-centered approach to the planning, design, creation and management of public spaces. For us, an effective placemaking process results in inviting and well-maintained public spaces that contribute to downtown Richmond’s health, happiness and well-being. We do this in small- and large-scale ways like film screenings in outdoor public spaces, decorative street banners, beautification along the Canal Walk and some of our downtown streets, advocating for accessible transportation and multi-modal options for all and collaborating with community partners on long-term planning for downtown and riverfront public space.

We are constantly working on ideas and community placemaking projects to improve the quality of life and place in downtown Richmond. Stay tuned for updates on new placemaking projects!

Keep scrolling for updates on new projects!

Placemaking in Downtown Richmond

Community Placemaking: Brown's Island Improvement Plan

Brown’s Island, located on the James River, has the potential to be the crown jewel of the downtown Richmond riverfront. In 2012, City Council adopted the Richmond Riverfront Plan, which made recommendations to transform Brown's Island into a daily destination for recreation, exploration, socializing and experiencing the beauty of the James River, as well as music and cultural events.

The Brown’s Island Improvement Plan is a more detailed conceptual plan developed by Venture Richmond and 3north to help the City of Richmond implement the Richmond Riverfront Plan recommendations for Brown’s Island.

Brown’s Island should be attractive and comfortable for every Richmond resident and visitor, both during events and as a public park all other days of the year. While the 2016 opening of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge has dramatically increased visitation to the island—approximately 500,000 crossings per year—the rest of the island also needs improved amenities to accommodate this increased demand.

The Brown’s Island Improvement Plan received conceptual approval from the City Planning Commission in December 2019. Venture Richmond is committed to raising private funds to implement the Riverfront Plan recommendations for Brown’s Island, which include river and canal terraces, play spaces for children, more trees and landscaping, more ADA accessibility and other pedestrian improvements, shade, seating and running water/permanent restrooms among other amenities.

Download the full Brown's Island Improvement Plan (103 MB)
The Case Statement
Placemaking in Downtown Richmond

Downtown Richmond Street Pole Banners

Street pole banners are another part of how Venture Richmond promotes downtown and all that it has to offer. We are responsible for managing the banner program and over 200 banner poles on behalf of the city. Our job is to create and maintain the banners and campaigns. If you would like to inquire about downtown street banners, please email

Richmond Canal Walk Street Pole Banners

60 existing banners on the Canal Walk/Brown's Island replaced with new banners and 45 new banners and brackets added to the Canal Walk/Brown's Island.

Manchester Street Pole Banners

50 new street pole banners added to Manchester, expanding the existing banner program from Downtown into Manchester.

Manchester Floodwall Walk Enhancements

5 new map kiosk signs added along Manchester's Floodwall Walk, 3 new trash cans and 4 new dog bag dispensers.

Placemaking in Downtown Richmond

RVA Bike Racks in Downtown Richmond

In partnership with Sports Backers’ Bike Walk RVA program, we have purchased and installed 12 high-capacity bike racks throughout downtown Richmond.

Locations include:

• 300 block of W Broad St @ Common House

• 200 block of W Broad St (north side of the street)

• SW corner of W Broad St & N Jefferson St @ Quirk Hotel

• 100 block of W Broad St (south side of the street)

• 0 block of W Broad St (south side of the street)

• NW & NE corners of W Marshall St & Brook Rd @ Gallery 5 & ART 180

• SE corner of E Broad St & N 2nd St @ Storefront for Community Design

• NE corner of E Broad St & N 3rd St @ Code VA & Urban Hang Suite

• SW corner of E Grace St & N 5th St

• NE corner of E Broad St & N 9th St @ City Hall

• Virginia St & Canal Walk @ Turning Basin/Riverfront Canal Cruises

Placemaking in Downtown Richmond

Beautification in Downtown Richmond

Venture Richmond maintains gateway city beautification projects for Downtown Richmond, including weeding, watering and installing seasonal plants (spring & fall). Richmond community beautification projects include: 155 sidewalk and median planters, 126 hanging baskets, and 13 planting beds throughout downtown and along the Canal Walk.

Learn more about downtown Richmond's beautification efforts and the Clean and Safe program here.

Canal Walk Placemaking

Venture Richmond manages and maintaines the Canal Walk, and in doing so has made the following improvements recently:

  • 5 redesigned downtown directional map kiosks installed along the Canal Walk/Capital Trail
  • 17 new “Welcome to the Canal Walk” signs redesigned and installed at all Canal Walk entrances
  • $70,000 invested by Venture Richmond and the Community Foundation in the redesign of the approach ramp to the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge
  • 437 square feet of new public deck space installed on the Canal Walk at the Tidewater Locks, replacing stairs that had become hazardous; including signage
  • 29 feet of stairway bicycle access ramp installed on the Canal Walk at the new Tidewater Locks deck
  • working with Dominion Energy to enhance the user experience at the 10th St Canal Walk stair access, improving the stairs, adding bike racks, adding bike runnels and signage
  • working with the City of Richmond on the Phase II Canal Walk Improvement Project, making the north side of the Canal Walk more accessible to bike traffic