Tim Pratt brings us this article on the Cotton District in Starkville, MS. Mayor Dan Camp started buying up properties in the District when it was a slum. He now owns about 75% of the District, and has worked to redevelop it in a New Urbanist style. Now, the neighborhood is being turned into a school. High school students with the Design Discovery workshop at Mississippi State have come to visit and take diligent notes. They are doing this so that they can make accurate scale models of the district as it is now, and then they have the chance to design their own buildings to fill in the empty parcels. This sort of hands-on work is a great way to help students see what exactly it is about these sort of developments is so functional as well as attractive, and allows then to create their own solutions. It’s also great that they are starting in high school. Most planners I know didn’t even realize the planning profession existed before going to college. Bringing in this sort of awareness and starting them off at the top is a great way to prepare a new generation of planners.
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