[Chattanooga, Tenn.] – During its 65th Annual Conference and Tradeshow in October 2019 in Baltimore, MD, the International Downtown Association recognized River City Company with the Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence for its work and initiatives related to Passageways 2.0.

The Award of Excellence acknowledges an excellent response to an industry challenge and exceeds the jury criteria. Passageways 2.0 was among 23 qualified entries in the category of Public Space. This category features capital improvements that have enhanced the urban design, transportation methods, physical function, or economic viability of downtown and the community.

“Passageways 2.0 has permanently transformed an underutilized alley into an interactive art experience and intimate public space providing a sense of discovery within Chattanooga’s urban environment. Whether hosting community workshops, movie nights, silent dance parties or the setting for everyday exploration and use by surrounding businesses, Passageways 2.0 is an example of how successful public space can be activated in nontraditional locales in cities,” states Meagan Shinn, Program Director for River City Company.

“River City Company’s project received the IDA Award of Excellence for uniquely implementing best practice in urban place management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “Passageways 2.0 is a shining example of excellent urban place management delivering real value to the city and an exemplary response to a community challenge.”

A program of River City Company in partnership with Tinker Ma and Public Art Chattanooga, Passageways 2.0 opened in November 2018 at 10 E. 7th St. in downtown Chattanooga. Occupying a 6,200 square foot alley, City Thread, the winning design from the architecture and design collaborative of Molly Hunker and Greg Corso in Syracuse, New York called SPORTS is an art-as-urban-infrastructure installation that uses a continuous sculpture through the alley. Since its opening, the alley has hosted numerous community events including concerts, seminars, happy hours, networking events, an outdoor children’s classroom and more.

Washington, DC-based IDA is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. River City Company is the urban place management organization representing the interests of Downtown Chattanooga.

About Passageway

Passageways is an alleyway re-imagination program focused in the City Center District of Downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. In the original round launched in 2016 as a joint program of River City Company and AIA Tennessee, four alleys were temporarily recreated with five high-end art and architectural installations from teams representing Chattanooga, Tenn.; New York; and Sydney, Australia.

The second round, Passageways 2.0, sought to permanently re-imagine one alleyway in City Center into an enduring gathering space for our entire community with partners River City Company, Tinker Ma and Public Art Chattanooga and made possible through the Benwood and Lyndhurst Foundations.

Through an open request for proposals (RFP) process that began in fall 2017, 45 total proposals were submitted for Passageways 2.0 representing 11 countries. The 45 proposals were evaluated by a design jury comprised of international award-winning architects, planners and artists along with a local selection committee who narrowed the field to three. The winning design, City Thread by designers Molly Hunker and Greg Corso of SPORTS, was selected and installed in fall 2018. For more information about Passageways, visit www.passagewayschattanooga.com.

About IDA

The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Our members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit downtown.org.

About River City Company

River City Company is the economic development engine for Downtown Chattanooga. Through its work to cultivate and advocate for a vibrant and healthy downtown, River City Company stimulates the community’s economic, social and cultural growth. Found in 1986, River City Company is the nonprofit organization working to keep Downtown Chattanooga working.


SPORTS is the award-winning multidisciplinary architecture and design collaborative of Molly Hunker and Greg Corso, based in Syracuse, NY. They approach architecture in a playful way by balancing rigor and research with amusement and curiosity. Deeply engaging, their work promotes fresh and unexpected experiences in the built environment. Since forming in 2010, SPORTS has designed and constructed a number of large-scale architectural installations and pavilions around the country and they have been exhibited, reviewed and published widely.

Recently, SPORTS was highlighted as a “Firm to Watch” by Architectural Record and as “Next Progressives” by Architect Magazine. SPORTS is the recipient of a “Best of Design” Award from Architect’s Newspaper and a 2017 Arch League Prize from the Architectural League of NY.

Greg Corso both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has worked in art and architecture studios in the United States and Europe including Studio Gang, JDS Architects, and Cliff Garten Studio and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Greg has taught architecture and design at Woodbury University, The University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, School of Architecture.

Molly Hunker received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and her Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has worked for architecture studios and art workshops along the west coast including Doug Aitken Workshop, Talbot McLanahan Architecture, Weinstein A|U and The LADG. Molly previously taught at UCLA, Woodbury University, The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she served as the inaugural 2013–2014 Douglas A. Garofalo Fellow and is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, School of Architecture.