Sacramento Big Idea Challenge – Next City

Sacramento Big Idea Challenge

Thursday, October 3, 2019

5:30pm - 7:30pm PST

Next City, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world, is coming to Sacramento. Each year the organization hosts an event called the Vanguard conference, an experiential urban leadership gathering of rising urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media. Throughout the event, participants will learn about Sacramento’s challenges and opportunities from local leaders and practitioners. These top urban innovators will then work together to come up with Big Ideas that will improve the City of Sacramento during the Big Idea Challenge, open to the public.

This year, our Big Idea spotlights the I Street Gateway – Old Sacramento Waterfront. As it exists today, the I Street entrance to Old Sacramento Waterfront sets a stark and foreboding tone for guests’ arrival to the 28-acre historic entertainment district. Nestled along the banks of the Sacramento River and immediately adjacent to the thriving downtown area, Old Sacramento Waterfront is physically disconnected from the rest of the city by Interstate 5 (I-5), which has proven to be a visual and psychological barrier to accessing the district.  When traveling westbound on I Street from 5th Street, a driver has a number of options, ranging from on-ramps to I-5, access to the I Street Bridge, turning southbound on to 3rd Street, or entering Old Sacramento Waterfront. Wayfinding to the district is limited and confusing, and no defining gateway beacon or signage welcoming guests currently exists. Furthermore, active transportation options are constrained by the design, and no sense of place is conveyed during the approach until you reach the mural on the California State Railroad Museum at 2nd Street.

Vanguards will recommend elements that can transform the I Street approach from its current, lackluster form into a vibrant and welcoming gateway to Old Sacramento Waterfront, incorporating placemaking and wayfinding elements that evoke a positive emotional response and support a variety of mobility options.  There is tremendous opportunity to increase connectivity through this gateway, and to convey clear and concise parking and programming information to guests, setting the tone for an elevated experience in the district.

On Wednesday morning, Vanguards will visit the I Street site and learn from local experts what has been planned to date for the future gateway.

Teams will synthesize their professional expertise, site explorations, conference learnings and local information to generate solutions for each team’s identified challenge. Following this brainstorm, Vanguard teams will craft seven- to 10-minute PowerPoint pitches to be presented to the entire group — including city and community representatives — at a public event Thursday evening. Presentations will be evaluated by a panel of local experts and a winning team honored. The goal is to advance the winning proposal toward execution in the weeks and months ahead.


The Barn
985 Riverfront St
West Sacramento, CA, United States

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