Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

Genus Landscape Architects

Iowa City, Iowa

Located in the city’s downtown district near the University of Iowa campus, the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall serves as a gathering place for students, locals, and visitors. With restaurants, bars, retail and play structures, there is something for everyone to enjoy. This pedestrian mall also acts as a programmable outdoor space, being host to several summertime events such as the Friday Night Concert Series and the annual Iowa City Jazz Festival and Iowa City Arts Festival.

With the most recent updates taking place in 1999, the Pedestrian Mall was in need of a redesign to encourage economic and civic vitality. Through a people-first approach, the improvements aim to attract and support unique businesses and appeal to a wide range of users. The mall entries were redesigned to include gateways, accent lighting and wayfinding kiosks for a more welcoming experience. An existing park was reimagined into a flexible programming and event space that supports a public art program. Finally, the Weather Dance Fountain and performance space were strengthened with a permanent stage canopy and reconfigured seating. Other site-wide improvements were also necessary at the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall including utility upgrades, new site furnishings, and safety lighting throughout. Additionally, some areas of the paved walking surfaces were no longer ADA compliant. To address this, the redesign also included the full replacement of the paving system.

Unilock pavers in a smooth premier finish were used throughout the entirety of the mall, giving the walkways a facelift. Given the size of this project, the pavers that were chosen had the ability to be both hand-placed and mechanically-placed, offering faster and easier installation. Beyond the utilitarian purpose of these pavers, the chosen smooth premier finish also provides additional benefits. Manufactured with EnduraColor Facemix technology, these pavers have a wear-resistant surface with long-lasting, brilliant color that will support this busy and vibrant downtown district for years to come.