Quality Public Spaces

The streets, parks, plazas, and green spaces in the Medical District create connections between people and places. They function as the natural network for the District and are the platforms for a vibrant public life. MMDC is dedicated to enhancing public spaces that build a stronger, safer, and more sustainable Medical District. MMDC's work has resulted in:

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Learn more by clicking on an initiative below:

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Streetscape Improvements

MMDC and its partners are focused on streetscape improvements that create a safer and more attractive environment for everyone who visits, lives, works, or studies in the District whether they get here by bike, on foot, using public transit, or driving. Our organization wants the quality of our public spaces to match the quality of the hospital and university campuses throughout the District. With MMDC’s innovative approach, we have proven that a big difference can happen pretty quickly without spending millions of dollars.

MMDC's streetscape improvement projects were born out of a collaborative process of listening and getting feedback from partners, employees, students, neighborhood residents, business owners, and others. From this process, a Streetscape Playbook of ideas for improving public spaces emerged with concepts for public art and activation, the addition of street furniture and simple landscaping, and pedestrian and bike enhancements to the design of the streets.

Learn more by clicking a project below:

Featured Project: Manassas

Project Completed in 2018

Manassas Street is phase two of MMDC’s streetscape enhancement projects implemented in partnership with the City of Memphis (the City). Following the resurfacing of Manassas from April to June 2018 by the City, MMDC added street design features to further improve the safety and aesthetics of this critical north to south connector.

The City’s resurfacing project reduced the roadway from five to three lanes to better accommodate traffic flow from Poplar to MLK Avenues and added dedicated bike lanes to connect existing and future bicycle routes in the city. On-street parking and buffered bike lanes add additional safety features for cyclists and improve the comfort level for pedestrians.  

MMDC’s additional enhancements further improve the safety of the street for all users. The focal point of the project is the artistic mid-block crossing located between Madison and Union Avenues, positioned between the University of Tennessee’s Cancer Research Building to the west and Health Sciences Park to the east. Local artists Cat and Nick Peña designed the piece which covers nearly 2,600 square feet of roadway. Local artists Anthony Lee and Kaleob Elkins partnered on the installation. The artistic installation is bordered by two crosswalks and aids in the traffic calming at this highly-used mid-block crossing.

Key Enhancements on Manassas

  • Pedestrian bump outs and crosswalks provide additional visual cues to drivers to reduce speeds and watch for pedestrians; reduce crossing time and distance for pedestrians

  • Endurablend pavement coating (bump outs and mid-block crosswalks)

  • Streetbond pavement coating (mid-block artistic installation)

  • Concrete traffic domes further calm traffic and protect pedestrians

  • Bike lane protections including wheel stops and delineator posts keep cyclists safe

  • 70 self-watering planters

  • Dual flow waste and recycling receptacles

  • High visibility crosswalks

  • Artistic crosswalk designed by Cat and Nick Peña in partnership with Anthony Lee and Kaleob Elkins

Completed Project: MARSHALL & MONROE

Project Completed in 2017

The Marshall & Monroe streetscape improvements included: pedestrian plazas, seating and planters to dramatically reduce the street width and slow traffic, adding bike lanes, and increasing parking. The total cost was approximately $200,000.

In our construction we achieved 42% minority-and women-owned business participation. The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) provided project funding to support this work and commissioned an extraordinary artwork “There is More to be Proud Of,” by local artist Cat Peña. This shimmering, soothing, shade-casting public art installation was unveiled to the public at a party on the plaza in March 2017.



Placemaking is the process of working collaboratively to create quality public spaces that contribute to people’s health, happiness, and connection to place. MMDC works with neighborhood stakeholders to ensure that it is improving the quality of public spaces within the Medical District.

2018 Featured Project: Treedom

An art installation designed by Parisian architectural firm Atelier YokYok made its U.S. debut in June in a vacant lot in Memphis.

The Memphis Medical District Collaboration (MMDC), in collaboration with ALSAC, the fundraising organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and other neighborhood partners brought "Treedom" to life.

"Treedom Memphis" mimicked forests and the city's tree canopy and combined art with a functional community space. It was used for hosting live performances, yoga classes, or for a meal or community meeting. The installation also included an original work by local artist Cat Peña, landscaping enhancements, artistic enhancements by Memphis-based The Artist Commons.

The project committee, comprised of Uptown Partnership, residents, businesses, BRIDGES, ALSAC, Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) and Peña, worked to make sure the installation represents the neighborhood and Memphis. Other partners include the Urban Art Commission, the Downtown Memphis Commission, Jones Urban Development and Neighborhood Preservation Inc.

The first "Treedom" installation was created in a music festival in Budapest, Hungary.

Excerpt taken from original article posted in Memphis Business Journal on 5/22/18 by Elle Perry.

2017 Featured Project: Edge Triangle

In collaboration with Memphis College of Art (MCA), University of Memphis Design Studio (UMDC), the Edge Neighborhood Association, and the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) repurposed an underused strip of greenspace now known as Edge Triangle.

Today, Edge Triangle is a vibrant space accessible to residents, students, and employees of the Memphis Medical District. On any given day, one might see people taking their dogs to the off-leash area, rearranging moveable seating for lunch, or playing the sound wave instrument.

To learn more, please download the case study of this project.


In 2017, the MMDC introduced the District to its “Say Hello” campaign. Signage, benches, and installations were unveiled throughout the District to help provide a sense of place for the District and to be more welcoming to employees, students, residents, and visitors.