My attention while touring the downtown area was primarily focused on absorbing elements like:
-existing structure with potential
-depth in design
-edges, landmarks, nodes, paths, and districts (thank you Mr. Lynch)
One sensitive issue in the downtown area is PARKING! There is never enough parking. Isn't that why we have the bus? Public transportation has become more convenient for the NDSU students, however, what about parking for visitors? Density will only bring more cars!
Another element downtown is detail and relationship with material. A common material used in this area is masonry. Maybe one way to create a better designed Renaissance Zone would be to use material pallets that work well together. On the other hand, if everyone uses similar materials wouldn't that limit creativity and get boring? See images below.
The picture above shows a building we discovered with mucho potential! Its location is directly off of 10th Street North and NP, it's currently For Sale, it would balance the west end of NP for housing, it has exceptional character, a huge surrounding lot (for downtown), many existing openings for natural light...the list goes on!
My brief initial reaction to the existing downtown area only touches the surface of my observations and analysis. It is more appropriate to express these issues through images and plans.