About Your Town Alabama


Small communities of Alabama are facing a range of critical issues. In some cases, it is a loss of population from out-migration and a resulting loss of jobs. In others, it is rapid growth from suburban expansion, or the location of a new institutional or industrial facility, or an influx of retirement population. These issues affect the vitality of the community, its design and sense of place. The Your Town workshop focuses on an important aspect of community spirit and community integrity: the process of design. The workshop aims specifically to introduce small town and rural technical assistance providers and decision makers to the role of design in community planning. It important to understand that everything is connected

What to Expect

The workshop course material addresses a range of issues in rural community planning and design. The curriculum focuses on the process by which rural communities construct a vision about their future, evaluate natural and cultural assets, and implement decisions about how their community should look and function. The aim is not to promote specific answers to specific questions but, rather, a framework for problem solving. Materials are presented in a visual format, principally through slides and maps. In the workshop setting you are presented with lectures, group discussions, case-study presentations, and resources useful in developing solutions to the hypothetical Your Town issues. Then you will address the issues and develop the solutions in the small working groups.

Workshop Contents

  • Design Changes in Rural America: The Forces at Work. An overview of the major forces that are affecting the rural landscape.
  • The Design Process, everything is connected. The process by which design decisions are made and implemented and the key design concepts behind good community planning.
  • Historic & Cultural Resources Inventory & Analysis. How to inventory and evaluate a community’s historic and cultural resources.
  • Natural Resources: A statewide tour of what makes Alabama valuable.
  • Getting and Managing Design Assistance. Resources for design assistance and the process of assessing design needs and soliciting and managing design assistance
  • Local Case Study Panels. Success stories in using the design process to solve local problems or address special resources and a discussion of economic development, planning, and design issues.
  • Communicating Your Vision. A workshop in graphics techniques and mapping.
  • Your Town Problem Solving. An exercise in applying the design process. Groups are presented with hypothetical town with real-world problems. Using a series of maps and other information about the town, the groups work toward solutions which they map, illustrate, and present to the other groups for discussion.

Facilitators and presenters are recruited from experts throughout the southeast. Presentation materials have been curated from across nearly twenty years of professional presentation. If you want to make a change, manage the best aspects of your community, or build upon the resources available in your community, this is the workshop that will help you get started.