Nine Rails Creative District

Cross-sector collaboration and stakeholder engagement to reimagine what an Arts District could be.


The Challenge

To design and initiate a vibrant Creative District in Ogden, Utah’s downtown. Of vital importance is the need to establish this district in a way that aligns with the current and future needs of Ogden’s artists and residents while supports their long-term sustainability.


The Story

In Ogden, Utah, as in many communities, artists are in need of places to work and connect. The creative community is scattered and lacks any sort of meaningful harmony. Artists get by, but they lack the infrastructure, venues, connections, and opportunities needed to thrive. Planning for the Nine Rails Creative District began in 2015 with the goal of creating spaces, systems of support, and relationships to help Ogden’s creatives make a sustainable living now and into the future.  

At the beginning stages of this project we knew the typical model of districts like this ends with displacement of artists. The Nine Rails Creative District could not follow that model. The typical model had to be broken and replaced with something new.

Union Creative Agency collaborated with many great community partners on the establishment of this district to ensure that the final design recommendations were in alignment with the current and long-term needs of artists and residents of Ogden. The result, is a district that is as much about walkability, transportation, safety, education, opportunity, community, and affordability as it is public art, creative workspace, and galleries.

The Nine Rails Creative District team regularly and consistently engaged a diverse range of stakeholders over several years to learn about the unique opportunities and challenges of this neighborhood. Engagement included traditional methods like community meetings, open houses, brainstorming sessions, and visioning exercises. Engagement also included a series of prototype projects that ranged from murals and street festivals to business workshops for artists and a panel discussion about the Future of Creativity.



Ogden City Community and Economic Development  | Ogden City Arts | Weber State University | Ogden Downtown Alliance | O1 Arts | Io Design Collaborative | kBent | The Monarch | Funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts


The Outcome 

The Nine Rails Creative District was formally established in 2018 through a unanimous yes vote by Ogden City Council. The district occupies eight square blocks of Ogden’s downtown connecting Historic 25th Street, the Jefferson Historic District, and the Junction. The Nine Rails Creative District will unite Ogden’s downtown with the East Central residential neighborhoods and will facilitate the success of Ogden’s creatives.