The April 27 tornado ravaged the Birmingham neighborhood of Pratt City (pictured above) and emptied out this historic, working-class community that was originally tied to mining and steel production in the area. Today and over the weekend, a national team of design, economic development, and planning consultants joins up with residents, local professionals, and Auburn architecture students, in an intensive “charrette” process to formulate initial recommendations for the rebuilding of the neighborhood. The American Institute of Architects Communities by Design program is sponsoring the event. I will be participating and hope to share some results next week.
Another exciting event on the urban planning front, this time in Montogmery: their local Hampstead Institute is sponsoring the Congress for the New Urbanism’s annual Council meeting next week. Montgomery has aggressively implemented “new urbanist” principles recommended in their recent downtown master plan with some encouraging results (Alley Station is pictured above).
Having national and international designers in Birmingham and Montgomery engaged with local citizens and professionals bodes well for our future. We need to be more accepting of fresh, outside ideas which, when meshed with local expertise, can provide the best collaborative solutions we need to move our cities forward.