Moore Square Master Plan

Last updated Jan. 28, 2014 - 3:05 pm
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Completed
  • Park
  • Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (Lead)
  • Christopher Counts Studio (Park Designer and Team Leader)
  • Cynthia Rice Landscape Architecture and Planning (Consulting Landscape Architect)
  • Bartlett Tree Experts (Arborist)
  • James Urban (Urban Tree Expert)
  • Elizabeth K. Meyer (Historical Landscape Architect/Cultural Landscape Consultant)
  • The John R. McAdams Company (Civil Engineer)
  • The Natural Learning Initiative (NCSU) (Children's Play Consultant)
  • Integrated Stormwater Systems (Stormwater Ecologist)
  • Capital Building Consultants (Cost Estimator)
  • Frank Harmon Architects (Architect)
  • Raleigh Citizen Advisory Council (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • State Historic Preservation Office (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Parks, Recreation & Greenway Advisory Board (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Raleigh Historic Districts Commission (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Arts Commission (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Downtown Raleigh Alliance (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Downtown Living Advocates (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • City Planning (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Transportation (Public Leadership Group Partner)
  • Department of City Planning, Urban Design Center (Partner)
  • Public Works Department (Partner)
  • Public Utilities Department (Partner)
  • Police Department (Partner)
  • Fire Department (Partner)

Current Activity

Citizen Advisory Council (CAC) District: Central

James Urban, a nationally recognized tree expert, visited Moore Square early this fall to conduct an Existing Tree Investigation and develop a Comprehensive Tree Strategy with local arborist Jeff Kish of Bartlett Tree Experts and Christopher Counts of CCSGC, winner of the Moore Square Design Competition. This event began the next steps of the Moore Square redesign project that began with the public open call for ideas and design competition in 2009 and lead to the development of a master plan adopted by City Council May 2011.

Comprehensive Tree Strategy Scope Summary
The investigation and strategy will help answer and address the Tree Conservation Task Force’s, citizens’ and Council’s concerns heard at the end of the Master Plan process. The Existing Tree Investigation will develop a detailed and specific understanding of the health and root configurations of each of the existing trees, which is critical to the proper advancement of the design. This investigation will provide real time data to allow for the development of an intelligent long-term strategy for the preservation and enhancement of the trees. This tree investigation stage will allow for a more informed design response based on proven existing conditions to allow for minimum impact to the existing trees, establish a long term planting strategy for tree succession, and maximize Moore Square’s capacity to function as a world class public space.

James Urban will review and confirm the findings and analysis of the tree investigation with the City, CCS, Bartlett, and the Cynthia Rice during an onsite meeting. A rating of the existing trees on site will be developed based on health, characteristics and location within the site. The results of this review and on site analysis will be developed into the Moore Square Comprehensive Tree Strategy. The comprehensive tree strategy will also be used to engage the City of Raleigh Forestry Specialists and work together to identify appropriate locations for Tree Conservation Areas.

The Moore Square Comprehensive Tree Strategy with confirmation of design appropriateness of the Master Plan, analysis of soil samples, and a long term succession strategy will lead to recommendations for design refinements to be explored during Schematic Design.

The process will take approximately three months with a final presentation to City Council early 2013.




2011 Moore Square Master Plan (Double click for a larger image.) (More information can be found to the right under Related Information.)


Project schedule with dates and descriptions
2009Competition Phase - complete
2010/2011Master Plan Phase – complete
2012/2013Comprehensive Tree Strategy
2013/2014Schematic Design & Development - the process will include public meetings to receive input from citizens and review by local and state boards and commissions.
2014/2015Construction Documents - Public input is included as part of the design/development and construction documents process; however, these two processes are currently unfunded.
2015-2016Anticipated Construction – currently unfunded


Moore Square was originally conceived in 1792 when it was designated as one of four public spaces in Raleigh. Today, Moore Square is a historic, signature destination.

The square serves as host for a number of high-profile, public events including concerts, Artsplosure, area school activities, summer movies and is the home of Raleigh's most recognized icon, the acorn sculpture, which sits in the square's southwest corner. The square, however, was not designed as a venue for large events, and the heavy traffic has created significant maintenance issues and impacted the attractiveness of the square.

In 2009, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker issued a 'call for ideas' to re-conceive the four acre square to best serve a new era and inform potential applicants of the City of Raleigh's first design competition.

The competition was a juried process approved by the City Council and representatives from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. The City, through the Competition, hoped to:
• Create a unique public space and urban experience for the 21st century;
• Engage broad public participation throughout the process and in the future; and
• Establish the conditions to develop a sustainable economic development strategy for the Moore Square area.
Christopher Counts, of Christopher Counts Studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, was selected the winner of the jury-based competition with a design concept that creates a new Moore Square respectful of tradition while looking forward. His design builds upon the square's unique and significant characteristics while expanding the square's sense of space and programmatic range. It also organizes the site into visually and functionally distinct areas that accommodate a wide range of uses.

While the concept by Mr. Counts won the design competition, it is considered only the beginning of a public process to refine and confirm a more detailed master plan for Moore Square.

Master Plan
In May 2011, the Raleigh City Council voted 7 to 1 to approve the Moore Square Master Plan as presented.

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