Mayflower’s recovery plan from the April 2014 tornado is focused on the development of a new walkable town center with mixed residential, recreational, and commercial functions. Anchored by the existing city park and scattered municipal facilities, the area selected for redevelopment poses two primary challenges. First, the area is hemmed in by limited access transportation corridors—the Union Pacific railroad, Arkansas Highway 365, and Interstate 40—all unamenable to a pedestrian-oriented urbanism. The second challenge involves the area’s thin long triangular form, a geometry unsupportive of the gridiron street plan shaping most downtowns.

Since the 4,500-foot long area measures only 800 feet at its widest part and comes to a point, the design is structured around a super-street that we have designated “Slow Street”. The town square as a signature civic space might be a useful analogy for understanding the concept of the Slow Street. Slow Street essentially stretches the civic landscapes and pedestrian spaces common to a town square along its 4,500-foot length as the town center’s primary armature. No building is more than a block away from Slow Street or without visual connection to the street. Slow Street combines the qualities of the iconic American Main Street with those of a town square.


2017 Arkansas ASLA Honor Award for Analysis and Planning
2015 National Association of Development Organizations Innovation Award
2015 World Architecture News Award for Urban Design: Winner


Central Arkansas Planning and Development District
US Economic Development Administration


City of Mayflower, Arkansas

AuthorMatthew Petty