City and Regional Planning Research/Outreach
Memphis Music Magnet / Memphis Slim Collaboratory
Since 2008, faculty and students have worked with community partners and industry stakeholders on the development of the Memphis Music Magnet. The plan builds on the cultural assets and heritage of the Soulsville USA neighborhood and seeks to create a community where music and art tell stories, activate spaces, reclaim vacant buildings, create interaction, and connect neighbors new and old. The university-community partnership has received significant external funding including a $678,000 grant from ArtPlace, a national consortium of philanthropic foundations. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) engaged in a yearlong residency in the Soulsville neighborhood with programming that included a series of unique musical collaborations performed in currently vacant community spaces, mentoring at neighborhood schools, programs for youth and seniors, and leadership training for area neighborhood associations. To host the MSO concerts and other cultural activities, a vacant grocery store at a key neighborhood location was reimagined and repurposed as a temporary performance venue. The kickoff event at the venue featured Soulsville native and soul legend Booker T. Jones alongside the symphony and youth performers from the Stax Music Academy.
The Memphis Slim Collaboratory opened in April 2014 during the annual Stax to the Max festival. The former home of blues legend Memphis Slim was redeveloped as a music-centered community space for artistic collaboration, music training and storytelling. Members of Slim's family came from Chicago and California to attend the opening reception and honor the music legend. The membership-based Collaboratory, managed by two full-time staff, is equipped with video-casting rooms to record oral histories, and is anchored by a recording studio. The studio is run on a cooperative basis to support emerging artists as well as apprentices learning the production business. The building was designed by br3gs Architects and has been recognized with numerous awards, including: American Institute of Architect's TN Award of Merit, Builder Magazine's Builder's Choice Award, and American-Architect's Building of the Week. Grant funding from ArtPlace America and the Kresge Foundation supported the redevelopment and staffing of the Collaboratory.
Green Machine Mobile Food Market
The Green Machine Mobile Food Market, launched through the cooperative efforts of St. Patrick Community Outreach Center, the Vance Avenue Collaborative and the Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning, began operating in 2013. Students and faculty assisted residents and leaders in securing and converting a MATA bus, enlisting food providers, and designing routes to maximize the number of poor and working class families served by the bus. The Green Machine, designed to bring high quality and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables to the seventy communities in Memphis lacking a full-service supermarket, has been a welcome addition to Memphis' growing food security and local foods movements.
Bike friendly university technical review
Memphis' Bikeway/Pedestrian Program Manager and University of Memphis planning alumnus, Kyle Wagenschutz, led a 2014 Project Planning Studio course focused on bicycling improvements in and around the university. Students prepared an application to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) to certify the University of Memphis as a Bike Friendly University and developed a set of short-term and long-term recommendations. The classroom approach to preparing the BFU application has been adopted as a best practice by LAB and has become a model for other universities.
Economic Development in Memphis
A research brief prepared by the students of PLAN 7011: Planning and the Metro Economy. The purpose of that report was to determine what "economic development" currently means in Memphis -- as defined by policies and actions -- in order to lay a foundation for what economic development could or should mean, and for how economic development policies can become part of a comprehensive approach to planning.
West Memphis EcoPark
Awarded a Memphis Regional Greenprint Plan planning sub-grant, the Department partnered with the City of West Memphis to complete plans for the West Memphis EcoPark. The Spring 2014 Project Planning Studio course guided the process of planning for a greenspace amenity on undeveloped land at the western terminus of the Harahan Bridge. The EcoPark is designed to complement Big River Crossing, which will convert a portion of the Harahan Bridge over the Mississippi into a bicycle and pedestrian pathway.
Brownsville on the Move: A Comprehensive Plan for Creating a More Vibrant, Sustainable, and Just Community
Vance Avenue Collaborative
- Vance Avenue Community Transformation Plan
- Vance Avenue Renaissance Plan (prepared by the Neighborhood Subcommittee)
- Preliminary Planning Framework
- Data Book
- WMCTV - Taking Back Our Neighborhoods
- Memphis Daily News coverage
- Grow Memphis coverage of the Vance Avenue Garden
- University of Memphis video overview