Master Plan for Connecticut's Financial Center Capitalizes on Transit Access to Position City in 21st Century

stamford_render_sm.jpg The city's most recent plan of Conservation and Development was completed by RPA and Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc. (PPSA) to guide Stamford's growth through the year 2010. The plan's overarching theme is to limit development and protect the natural landscapes in the north, preserve neighborhood character outside of downtown, and orient the next generation of growth into the downtown and a series of neighborhood centers with good transit access. The document emphasizes recycling large underutilized parcels near the city core, rediscovery of the waterfront (including the Mill River and the harbor), a network of open spaces and trails, and high quality development that is mixed-use and pedestrian friendly. The concepts embodied in this vision for Stamford's future were the product of a robust public process that ensured broad participation from stakeholders throughout the city. As development has taken place in the downtown over the past five years in accordance with this Master Plan, a vibrant community is forming where families, young professionals, and retirees can live, work, and play while reducing their ecological impact. RPA continues to work with the city to refine this vision and ensure that Stamford continues to be a leader in the region with economic vitality, sound environment, and a high quality of life.

Download Stamford Master Plan (PDF 20MB)
Additional technical reports listed below.

Major Goals of the Plan:



  • Diversity - maintain and celebrate the diversity of Stamford's population and employment City
  • Beautiful - celebrate and enhance the main corridors, greenways, waterfront, hills, historic buildings, gateways and especially the unique qualities of Stamford's neighborhoods
  • Neighborhood Quality of Life - protect and enhance the quality of life in the neighborhoods, addressing land-use traditions, community resources, traffic and environmental conditions
  • Downtown - create a vibrant, seven-day-a-week, pedestrian-friendly downtown section that is focused both on the Stamford Transportation Center and the historic core area to its immediate north

RPA and Growth Management
At the beginning of the process, RPA was faced with the prototypical challenge - residents, troubled by traffic, wanted to "pull up the drawbridge" on new development. RPA's goal was to educate and empower decision makers over how to shape future growth in ways that will support the four goals for a better Stamford. To do this, RPA explained the interrelationship between economic development, traffic and transit, and urban design through these technical reports:

Economic Development Report
The economic development report modeled three potential futures - slow, trend, and high growth - in terms of employment, population, and accrued wealth to the city and residents. The link to urban design is made by describing the levels of growth in terms of new developments, buildings which will support the overall goals of the master plan - new buildings to complete the downtown, in-fill development along neighborhood commercial centers, and industrial district revitalization.

Economic Development Summary (PDF 256K)

Traffic and Transit Report
This report explained how a variety of strategies from more transit, to "traffic demand management", to transit-oriented development - must come into play to contain and possibly even reduce traffic congestion at different levels of economic growth. This provided a link both to the Economic Development report and the urban design studies which showed how growth could be distributed to support transit corridors and reduce dependence on the automobile.

Traffic and Transit Summary (PDF 187K)

Urban Design Report
This report suggests design strategies to reinforce Stamford as a "city beautiful". This report is organized around four major design initiatives: downtown, corridor design, neighborhood centers, industrial district design, green initiative. This report was essential in explaining the physical impact of future growth both on traffic and transit and on neighborhood quality of life (the neighborhood centers), diversity (preserving industrial jobs by improving the districts), and downtown ("filling the holes").

Urban Design Summary Report [PDF 933K]