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Urban Studio Engaged in April 2011 Storm Recovery Initiatives

Cordova seminar with children and adults

Auburn’s Urban Studio, directed by Professor Cheryl Morgan, played a key role in a Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) project to assist Birmingham, Alabama’s Pratt City community with a recovery plan following April’s devastating tornado.  The R/UDAT project was sponsored by the American Institute of Architects’ Center for Communities by Design and was held at the request of Birmingham Mayor William Bell in October 2011.
 

 Morgan served as a key member of the R/UDAT Local Steering Committee, hosted the national R/UDAT team of pro bono design professionals and experts from around the country for charette studio sessions, and engaged students from Auburn and Tuskegee University in the process. The final report and public presentation to the Pratt City community on October 10 was met with great enthusiasm.

In early August 2011, Morgan gathered a team of Auburn faculty, professional planners, and designers in Cordova, Alabama 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 charette was open to the public, and many citizens participated.
 

The summary review of the initial work was presented to sixty-five citizen attendees on August 28, 2011 and focused on evaluating alternatives to capture Cordova's assets and opportunities. Commenting on the community meetings, Morgan observed, “The input of the citizens of Cordova was the foundation of the work, and the work accomplished during the August workshop establishes the road map for first steps in rebuilding.”

 

 As a result of the combined volunteer and community planning efforts led by Morgan, otherorganizations (such as Alabama Forever, founded by longtime Alabama residents in response to the April 27, 2011 tornadoes) are becoming interested in assisting the Cordova community.  The Urban Studio and other key team members will be planning regular meetings with Cordova's long term recovery committee and with the community to be sure that they are included in the progress of the work and in the final proposals.
 

The Urban Studio’s efforts in Cordova are being complemented by other faculty within the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture.  During Fall Semester 2011, Landscape Architecture Professor Jocelyn Zanzot organized a collaborative (landscape architecture and community planning) graduate seminar that worked closely with Professor Cheryl Morgan and the Cordova Long Term Recovery team.  The seminar 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 School work in Cordova.

 

The Masters of Integrated Design (MID&C) and Construction program at Auburn, under the leadership of Professors Josh Emig and Paul Holley, are building on the previous efforts of Morgan and Zanzotby focusing on the design of key civic buildings. Cordova lost almost its entire civic infrastructure due to damage from the April tornadoes. Their project will include a proposal for a new city hall, fire station, grocery, and downtown development, including a library. The bulk of this work will take place in the summer semester.

The Masters of Integrated Design (MID&C) and Construction program at Auburn, under the leadership of ProfessorsJosh Emig and Paul Holley, are building on the previous efforts of Morgan and Zanzotby focusing on the design of key civic buildings. Cordova lost almost its entire civic infrastructure due to damage from the April tornadoes. Their project will include a proposal for a new city hall, fire station, grocery, and downtown development, including a library. The bulk of this work will take place in the summer semester and will be supported by an Auburn University 2012 Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grant that Emig and Holley were awarded. Their successful proposal, “Integrated Design & Construction Outreach: Cordova, AL, Long Term Recovery,” will help the MID&C project address Cordova’ s critical needs.