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APLA’s Continued Outreach to Cordova, Alabama

Cordova Al

APLA’s efforts to assist Cordova, Alabama’s storm recovery efforts began in early August 2011, when Cheryl Morgan, Director of the Urban Studio, gathered a team of Auburn faculty, professional planners, and designers in Cordova to study rebuilding opportunities in areas that were hardest hit by the April 27 tornados. The team included a group from FEMA along with experienced planners, architects, landscape architects, and economists who volunteered their time for the workshop. The charrette was open to the public, and many citizens participated. The summary review of the initial work focused on evaluating alternatives to capture Cordova's assets and opportunities. Reflecting on the outcomes of the charrette, Morgan observed, “The work accomplished during the August 2011 workshop established the road map for first steps in rebuilding.”

The Urban Studio’s efforts in Cordova were complemented by follow- on work by other faculty/student teams within the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture. During Fall of 2011, Landscape Architecture Assistant Professor Jocelyn Zanzot organized a collaborative  graduate seminar (landscape architecture and community planning) that worked closely with Professor Cheryl Morgan and the Cordova Long Term Recovery team. These students focused on post-disaster planning and “design for resilience,” including strategic/resourceful first moves with the idea that the work will seed long-term processes of regeneration. A combined research document was produced with the intention to support future APLA work in Cordova.

This past spring, Master of Integrated Design and Construction students,  working under Josh Emig and Mike Thompson’s leadership, focused on storm recovery and redevelopment efforts that built on the foundation the work developed by  Morgan and Zanzot’s earlier work. Because Cordova lost almost its entire civic infrastructure due to damage from the April 2011 tornadoes, the MIDC students’ work focused on the design of key civic buildings. Projects included proposals for a new city hall, fire station, grocery, and a library. The bulk of this work took place in the summer semester and was supported by an Auburn University 2012 Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grant awarded to Josh Emig and Paul Holley. Work in Cordova continues this fall, as a new cohort of  MIDC students continue development of the work completed in the summer. This latest effort will  focus in-depth on one project and will include detailed analysis of construction cost and schedule in hopes of helping Cordova see the project realized in the near future.


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