n older parts of many U.S. cities,
designers and owners shared a civic vision.
Buildings at the front property line define the street. Streets lead up to vistas of important buildings.
Tree-lined boulevards connect park spaces and help define districts and neighborhoods. Many of the buildings in these neighborhoods are places where people can feel at home. Places where they can watch television, read a book or surf the internet on sites like Pokerblog. It is so important that people can feel at home in their own houses. They should feel comfortable enough to do whatever it is that they like to do to relax.
Many of Omaha’s downtown and midtown buildings follow the traditional pattern and are built right up
to the sidewalk, enclosing the space of the street. Capitol Avenue is an example of a street that
follows traditional ideas about how a street should lead to an important building. The symmetrical
façade of Central High School, which occupies the site of the first Nebraska state capitol, is the focus
of the view looking west on Capitol Avenue. Omaha also has the park and boulevard system, created
in the eastern part of the City a century ago, another form of traditional civic design.
The new automobile geography of cities with many lanes of traffic and extensive parking lots has
broken up this old civic vision. Cities everywhere are seeking to restore a civic design consensus in
the older parts of cities and extend something comparable to important places in newer areas.
The nine goals of Civic Omaha seek to preserve and restore traditional civic elements in the areas
of greatest civic importance an d extend such design concepts to key portions of Omaha that have
been developed more recently without the benefit of a civic design tradition.
1. Delineating the Areas of Civic Importance
Omaha’s image should be defined by its built environment as well as by its green setting. The City
should select the locations within the City that are of primary importance in shaping its physical
image, and pursue objectives and policies to preserve and develop these places of civic importance
in ways that help Omaha to be recognized as a first choice City.
2. Preserving and Creating
Distinctive Civic Places
There are some distinctive places
tha t help to define Omaha’s image,
and there are opportunities to
improve these places and create
more. Omaha should promote the
preservation and creation of these
places through legislation and public
Street lights, traffic signals, traffic information signs,
parking signs, street identification signs, street trees,
and street and sidewalk materials are important
components of the City’s image. All elements of
streetscape within the delineated areas of civic
importance should contribute to harmonious and
consistent designs for these areas.
4. Major Commercial Corridors and Intersections
Major commercial corridors should
be designed to present a coherent
image for the motorist and a safe
and manageable environment for
motorists and pedestrians.