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U of M Students Will Participate in Planning Process for South Memphis University News
For release: March 19, 2009

For press information, contact The Rev. Kenneth S. Robinson, 901-948-3441

Last summer, St. Andrew’s AME Church, The Works Community Development Corporation, Self Tucker Architects, the Memphis Regional Design Center, and the University of Memphis came together, with the support of the Hyde Family Foundations, to establish the South Memphis Renaissance Collaborative. The primary purpose of this alliance is to design and implement a comprehensive set of community improvements projects in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future residents of South Memphis.

During the fall of 2008, more than 40 anthropology, architecture, city and regional planning, and engineering students from the U of M conducted archival research, studied population and housing trends, surveyed building conditions, and interviewed a cross-section of area civic leaders to gain a deeper understanding of existing physical and social conditions in South Memphis and to learn more about residents’ hopes and dreams for their neighborhood.  The participating students also developed, in response to residents’ specific concerns, a preliminary set of proposals and designs for open-space improvement, housing rehabilitation, mixed-use development, and safe routes to schools.

This weekend, March 20-22, two-person teams composed of longtime neighborhood residents and U of M students will conduct a door-to-door survey throughout South Memphis to gather additional ideas and suggestions from residents for improving the quality of life within their community. The results of this survey will be reviewed at a Neighborhood Planning Summit on Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Andrew’s Fellowteria, 867 E. South Parkway, near the intersection of Mississippi and South Parkway.

Participants in the Neighborhood Planning Summit will have an opportunity to determine the overall revitalization goal, specific development policies and objectives, and individual neighborhood improvement projects that will form the basis of the South Memphis Revitalization Action Plan.

 All South Memphis residents, business owners, institutional representatives, service providers, and elected and appointed officials are invited to participate in this “bottom-up, bottom-sideways” planning process that is being carried out in cooperation with the Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis and Shelby Division of Planning and Development.  Parents are encouraged to bring their children to the summit, where they will have the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate community planning activities under the supervision of U of M students and faculty. A hot lunch will be served  to all program participants, courtesy of the Memphis Regional Design Center.

Among the issues to be addressed at the summit will be affordable housing, street improvements, neighborhoods parks and open spaces, police protection, educational excellence, human services, municipal service delivery, local economic development, youth empowerment, land use, and transportation. During the month of April, teams of neighborhood residents will work with U of M students to develop each of these elements of the redevelopment plan. A final community review of the South Memphis Revitalization Action Plan is scheduled at St. Andrew’s Fellowteria on Saturday, May 2, at 10 a.m.

For more information about the South Memphis planning process, contact Dr. Katherine Lambert Pennington at  or Dr. Kenneth M. Reardon at, or call Vickie Peters at 901-678-2161.

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