MidTown Blog


Incremental Development: Small Scale, BIG Impact

MidTown, Inc. is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Incremental Development Alliance and for MidTown to serve as the test site for the IDA’s 2016 Knight Cities Challenge Evolving MidTown: Lot by Lot, Block by Block. IDA Executive Director Jim Kumon observed that “MidTown is a microcosm of the land use patterns and population diversity of greater Columbus.” He added that solutions to small scale development found in diverse MidTown settings will create “something useful to export to practically any other place in the city and region.”

The project engaged local residents, developers, builders, bankers and investors to create teams that could create local wealth, jobs and leaders while building  better neighborhoods. Focus on small improvements that can happen at the neighborhood scale. Employ local capital with local people in local neighborhoods. Help people FROM a place build FOR their place. Jump start a new era of small scale development in an age of super-sized real estate development. Enhance MidTown neighborhoods. Enhance YOUR neighborhood. These are some of the goals of a new initiative.
To learn more, click HERE.

Jim Kumon, Executive Director of the Incremental Development Alliance presents an overview of the project on January 18, 2018

Lot by Lot, Block by Block: What We Have Learned in MidTown



Regenerating Community: Lot by Lot, Block by Block
What we’ve learned in MidTown

Thursday, January 18, 2018, noon at the Columbus Museum
Lunch and Lecture, q & a, with the Incremental Development team

Join us as we review a year of workshops, site visits, exploration, visioning and reimagining in our work to renew a culture of profitable small-scale development.

Neighborhood Mapping: Train the Trainer

April 13th and April 14th, 2017

CSU professor Brad Huff and his students worked with MidTown, Inc. to develop a neighborhood mapping tool as part of his Spring 2017 GIS class.  With small groups of community leaders and partners we tested in a neighborhood setting. These Training the Trainer events took place on April 13th and April 14th, meeting at Rosehill Memorial Baptist Church and walking through the East Highlands neighborhood.  The mapping and observation tool broadened the reach of the ThinkIncrementally project while providing a health update for the neighborhood.  This information can be provided to community organizations, small scale developers, and the City to promote small scale redevelopment and grow healthy, thriving neighborhoods.




As part of the Lot by Lot, Block by Block, the Incremental Development Alliance’s Knight Cities Challenge grant with MidTown, Inc.,  the February 2017 Small-scale Developer Bootcamp was held at the Columbus Museum.  Attendees, armed with ideas and potential projects, worked with the faculty of the Incremental Development Alliance to further develop their small-scale develop skills. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their collaboration.




Five Points Facelift a Good Sign, opinion by Dusty Nix, The Ledger-Enquirer, 4-3-2017

Investor steps forward to get the ball rolling in blighted MidTown area, by Michael Owen, The Ledger-Enquirer, 4-2-2017


Lot by Lot, Block by Block: What We Have Learned in MidTown, Jim Kumon, Executive Director of the Incremental Development Alliance presents an overview of the Knight Cities Challenge project, 1-18-2018

Joe Minicozzi, screenshot

The BIG Deal of Small Development

These lectures were taped at the 8th Annual Preservation for Profit Symposium sponsored by Historic Columbus in partnership with MidTown, Inc., the Incremental Development Alliance, the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, the Coalition for Sound Growth, and Jackson-Burgin Development. The Developer for a Day Workshop was conducted as part of the Knight Cities Challenge Award-wining project, Evolving MidTown: Lot by Lot, Block by Block.



Cultivating Your City: Building at the Neighborhood Scale, Monte Anderson, CEO/President at Options Real Estate Investments, Inc.

Neighborliness and the Virtuous Circle of Citizen-led City Improvement, Gracen Johnson, founder at Mniistry of Makeshift

Bringing Light to the Dark Art of Development, John Anderson, Principal, Anderson-Kim Architecture + Urban Design

Building Urban Life, Glenn Kellogg, Principal, Urban Advisors

Smart Math: Productive Community Investments, Joe Minicozzi, Principal, Urban 3

Developer for a Day Workshop, an overview of residents, stakeholders, City staff and planners working together


EH Shotguns, reimagined











MidTown, Our Town, Everytown, an urbanist’s stark observations after a June, 2016 visit to Columbus, and his ideas for do-able, incremental, transformative change.

The City Shaped, a TedX talk by Joe Minicozzi, examining how we invest in our communities, and how our policies and investments shape them for better or worse.

Good Enough Urbanism, transforming the suburban strip mall. Illustrated blog post from Johnny Sanphillippo, a member of our IDA team.

VIDEO: Pop-up urbanism: Granary Row, Salt Lake City, Utah. “A light, quick and cheap way to improve a space.”
“All a neighborhood wants to be is a thriving version of what it already is.”

Wynnton parking lot reimagined

4 responses to “ThinkIncrementally”

  1. Ernie Smallman says:

    Please add me to the IDA list

  2. Carole Rutland says:

    Great site and looking forward to learning more at Developer for a Day Workshop. Good Job! We’ll share our experience with Coalition for Sound Growth Membership as well as other interested parties. I think I’m on the IDA list; but, if not… please add me.

  3. Frank Braski says:

    Exciting stuff, I hate that I missed the first round of activities, but am glad that it ever happened at all!

    Long-term city planning and urban architecture fascinates me!

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