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How Crystal Bridges Impacted the Downtown Revitalization of Bentonville, Arkansas in The Last Decade

Authors: Korab Vranovci*, University of Arkansas
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: revitalization, urban area, downtown, planning, bentonville, crystal bridges,
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The downtown revitalization of Bentonville began in 2007 after the city approved a bond measure, which is driven from the prospect of the construction for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Arts. This study identified the museum as the driving force of the economic and urban development of the downtown area.
Through the use of the “Monitoring annual urban changes in a rapidly growing portion of Northwest Arkansas with a 20-year Landsat records” (Reynolds, Liang, Li, & Dennis, 2017) we can observe the urban growth that Bentonville has experienced in the past 20 years. Walmart holds the economy together, but Crystal Bridges will provide an identity for Bentonville. The data from the Downtown vitality report and the U.S. Census data suggests that Bentonville has the largest number of people living in the downtown area (Center for Business and Economic Research, 2018), with the median household income being increased from $51,305 in 2009 to $76,447 in 2016. This increase allowed the city to invest in new amenities, and provide opportunities for new businesses, mostly restaurants, in the downtown area.
The museum and the new business opportunities brought visitors to the city and provided means to revitalize the downtown area, invest in new amenities for the increase of residents moving in and around the downtown Bentonville. Those findings suggest that indeed Crystal Bridges was the most crucial factor of the downtown revitalization process in Bentonville in the last decade.

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