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Downtown DSM: Future Forward 

The Partnership, in collaboration with Bravo Greater Des Moines, Catch Des Moines, City of Des Moines, Des Moines Regional Transit Authority (DART), Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), FuseDSM, Operation Downtown and Polk County, developed the community-driven Downtown DSM: Future Forward: Vision Plan and Action Plan to help position Downtown Des Moines (DSM) for short-term economic recovery and long-term economic vitality and vibrancy. 

The plan’s vision statement is: “Downtown DSM is the destination for inclusive opportunities and welcome surprises.” The Downtown DSM: Future Forward Vision Plan and Action Plan addressed five plan goals:

  • A Welcoming Urban Neighborhood 
  • Inclusive Arts and Entertainment 
  • Rewarding Market for Development 
  • Vibrant Outdoor City 
  • Connected and Sustainable Mobility 

The plan lays out a list of “Future Six” initiatives that are visionary and forward-thinking. The Future Six initiatives are guided by six broad themes: Sustainability, Vibrancy, Choice, Economic Vitality, Wellness and Inclusivity. The Future Six initiatives are: 

  • Green Ring 
  • Skywalks Reimagined
  • Inner Circle 
  • The Stadium District 
  • Connected Corridors 
  • Strong Neighborhoods 

The final Future Forward plan can be found here. To get involved with a Future Forward Implementation Team, contact Tiffany Tauscheck

About Downtown DSM: Future Forward Vision Plan and Action Plan

This inclusive process was designed to build upon the momentum of Downtown DSM and set up Downtown DSM for future success. The growth of the Downtown population, amenities and overall vibrancy has mirrored the growth of the region in the last 20 years, and this vision plan creates a roadmap for the next chapter of Downtown and helps the region build upon the excitement that already exists Downtown through events, attractions, major projects, major employers and more. 

Downtown DSM: Future Forward rolls up into the Capital Crossroads regional vision plan.  

The Downtown DSM: Future Forward Steering Committee worked extensively with a consulting team made up of local, regional and national experts who have international downtown experience as well. The team consisted of RDG Planning & Design and Bâton Global, Civitas Consultants. 

Future Forward Steering Committee Chairs

  • Jake Christensen, President of Christensen Development and Co-Chair of The Partnership's Downtown DSM Board 
  • Angela Connolly, Polk County Supervisor and Tri-Chair of Capital Crossroads 3.0 regional vision planning process
  • Mayor Frank Cownie, City of Des Moines
  • Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy

See a full list of the Future Forward Steering Committee Members.

Future Forward Council Leaders and Liaisons

  • Teree Caldwell-Johnson, President and CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood
  • Jen Carruthers, President of Capital City Pride
  • Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa

See a full list of the Future Forward Council Members.

DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study

In 2022, The Partnership, Bâton Global and Reworc released results of the DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study as it relates to the regional workforce, including Downtown Des Moines (DSM). The study included nearly 5,200 participants from 18 organizations to identify trends specific to the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region and Downtown DSM. This was a first-of-its-kind community-level study of knowledge workers in the world. Insights were used to drive action steps in the Downtown DSM: Future Forward vision plan and action plan. 

See results from the 2022 DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study

To further understand evolving workforce needs for the region, the DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study was conducted again in 2023 and included over 2,000 participants from 20 organizations. 

Learn more about the findings from the 2023 DSM Workforce Trends and Occupancy Study.