We were at the Young & Vann Building in downtown B'ham last week and saw some of the designs of Auburn's Urban Studio.
Auburn's College of Architecture, Design, and Construction includes the Rural Studio, which I've written about many times before, and this Urban Studio. Lining the walls of the hallway are its plans for small towns, districts, and neighborhoods:
This was great - plans for design/usage revitalization for so many Alabama small towns:
Setzer and Morgan took the Small Town Design Initiative a step further by helping to found YourTownAlabama, an organization that provides leadership training workshops for citizen leaders across the state. To date, YourTownAlabama has held 16 workshops with more than 500 citizen leaders from 100 towns and counties. The organization's goal is to cultivate leadership that understands the value of planning, knows where and how to find technical assistance and expertise and has the confidence to take action on a local level.
Through these efforts, Urban Studio maintains its ongoing commitment to work with communities to identify those positive assets that can be the basis of a sound master plan for physical and economic vitality - creating distinctive opportunities for building a higher quality of life, broader prospects in the community and a better place to live.
The Your Town Alabama blog right now has posts about our new governor taking measures to cut the state's tourism budget in half (there's an op-ed in the M'ry paper about it here), and that $16M from a BP grant will go to boost gulf coast tourism, as the article states that Alabama was hardest hit by last summer's BP oil catastrophe.
(Last week, our local grocery store was running a promotion on gas cards -- $10 off a $50 card, which brings the price per gallon to under $3, a great deal right now -- when I went in, the only cards left were BP cards. The manager was nearby, and I asked if he had any Shell or Chevron/Texaco cards in the back, as I don't buy BP gas anymore. He laughed and explained that I'm not the only person that's asked him about that, and that's why he thinks the BP cards stay around longest.)