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Ep. 85: The Downtown Project's John Curran on Urban Planning, Public Health and Technology

Published on 7/24/2018

Our environment can determine so much about our lifestyle and habits. Without the proper infrastructure to support community activity and health, any number of complicated issues can take over the population. For example, unwalkable distances between shops and resources can encourage isolation and sedentary habits, which can contribute to serious health problems for a population.

Enter urban planning. In the 1800s, urban planning began as a way to combat unsanitary housing practices and disease spread, and was tied closely to public health initiatives. Today, we’re seeing the rise of that relationship once more, as consumerism rises in the health care industry and urban planning adapts to the evolution of technology. 

In this episode of The Cerner Podcast, we’re joined by John Curran, the real estate portfolio manager at The Downtown Project in Las Vegas, who also has a background in urban planning. Downtown Project is a privately-funded, for-profit organization dedicated to helping revitalize part of downtown Vegas by investing in people and projects. 

John answers the following questions: 

  • Let's start with some background on the Downtown Project. Can you give our listeners a snapshot of how it got its start, what the vision was and how it's evolved in the six years since it was founded? (Include details here of area that DTP covers, span, etc.) 
  • What was the planning like for a controlled urban experience like this? What were some of the considerations that went into the plans, and what kind of census data or trends influenced the planning? 
  • There must have been a lot to consider as this project came into formation. Can you discuss how you went about planning a space that spoke to populations from various and diverse backgrounds? Perhaps you can detail not only the considerations and goals your team had, but also some of the barriers you identified. 
  • Let's talk about the "walkability" of the DTP's controlled area. This was important to you as you were developing the plan -- tell us a little bit about why this was a critical element for you, and how you ensured that the area was walkable. 
  • Technology evolves so rapidly in today's marketplace, regardless of the industry. How did consumer behavior patterns and technology trends shape your decisions five years ago, and how is the Downtown Project adapting to new patterns and trends today?
  • Let's talk about future consumer and technology trends. What's on your radar right now? How will these things impact not only the Downtown Project, but a variety of industries worldwide? Where do you think there could be opportunities for collaboration across industries in the future?

Listen to the full podcast below, or click here to view all episodes of The Cerner Podcast!

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