Planning is vital to making a community more cohesive. Community planning, particularly long- range comprehensive planning, establishes consensus in the community as a means to guide its future, explains Brandon Bias, community and regional planner in Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood’s Mobile office.
Developing a comprehensive plan includes many steps – from research and analysis to defining an implementation strategy, he notes. Central to the process is determining the consensus regarding the community’s vision and principles, which is used to steer future planning decisions.
A great example, Bias says, is Map for Mobile, the city’s first comprehensive planning process in over 50 years. He also points to ACE and Your Town, programs that effectively provide tools to help strengthen Alabama communities.
“In Alabama these two programs, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Summit of DesignAlabama and Main Street Alabama, each serve a role in assisting communities,” Bias observes.
Another way effective community planning is happening throughout Alabama is by putting underutilized properties and buildings back into productive use.
For example, in Brewton the site of a demolished building was turned into greenspace for a farmer’s market. Bias calls this project “an aggressive effort” to bring back the downtown.
In Bay Minette, a former grocery store is now a recreation complex with skating, bowling and other activities. And in Birmingham, thoughtful planning turned an abandoned railroad cut into the Rotary Trail, which is transforming the surrounding neighborhood.
Article By Jessica Armstrong and Images Provided By Goodwyn Mills & Cawood and are examples of planning projects in Selma, Demopolis and Birmingham.