COVID-19 survey draws responses from local + national urban residents

A nationwide COVID-19 sentiment survey of urban dwellers across the country has produced an insightful look at the responses of Downtown KC residents.

Conducted in December by RRC Associates in coordination with the International Downtown Association (IDA), the survey of downtown residents in the U.S. and Canada was designed to provide insights into their priorities and concerns. The Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC), a member of the IDA, led the survey process in Downtown KC.

“The survey captured responses from 20 downtowns across the country, plus one in Canada,” said Ann Holliday, DTC vice president. “The responses from Downtown KC closely aligned with those from the other downtowns.”

Highlights of the Kansas City responses included:

  • 43% of respondents said local leaders and public health officials have handled the COVID response “about right.” Another 44% said the response was “not restrictive and safe enough.”
  • 53% of respondents believe restaurants, retailers and businesses have acted “about right” in their responses to the pandemic
  • 62% believe indoor dining should be allowed with safety protocols and seating limits enforced
  • 66% of respondents think recently expanded outdoor seating in sidewalks, parking spaces and streets should be made permanent
  • 64% of respondents are currently working remotely all of the time or part-time due to COVID-19
  • 43% said local leaders and public health officials have handled the COVID response “about right.” Another 44% said the response was “not restrictive and safe enough”
  • Downtown KC residents rated the following dining options as “comfortable or very comfortable”:
    • 59% with open air outdoor dining (may include portable heaters)
    • 30% with outdoor dining under a tent
    • 27% with seating capacity restrictions of 50% or less; and
    • 14% with indoor dining in a restaurant without capacity restrictions

When asked “When do you anticipate returning to your office or place of work on a regular basis?” respondents said:

  • 7% – within the next 1-3 months
  • 23% – 3-6 months
  • 23% – 6-12 months
  • 40% – Unknown at this time
  • 7% – Never, remote working will likely be permanent

“This question also produced a significantly high number of ‘no responses,’ which underscores the lack of certainty about forecasting for 2021,” Holliday said.

The complete COVID survey featured nearly 30 questions. Click here to read the complete survey results for Kansas City, along with comparisons between the local and total responses.


The East Village area covers about eight blocks east of City Hall and has been designated for redevelopment since 2005.

ULI selects East Village for international design competition

The East Village, the largest undeveloped tract inside the Downtown Loop, will serve as the testing ground for hundreds of graduate students from around the world competing in this year’s ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition, according to CitySceneKC.

The Urban Land Institute, the nation’s premier land planning and development association, selected Kansas City for the competition. Eighteen U.S and Canadian cities have hosted Hines students since the competition began in 2003; last year was Miami. A total of 110 teams from 60 cities will participate the KC-based competition over the next two to three months.

“Kansas City’s downtown has experienced significant growth in the past decade, and fresh thinking for the East Village neighborhood would help continue this trend in a sustainable manner,” said Michael Collins, chair of ULI Kansas City.

In choosing the eight-block East Village area, roughly from Eighth to 12th streets between Cherry and Charlotte, as the subject for the ULI competition, the grad students are tackling one of the thornier redevelopment sites in Downtown. It’s been designated formally by the city as a redevelopment zone since 2005. To read more, visit