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U of M Students' Vance Avenue Community Initiative Wins State-level Award University News
For release: September 15, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning was selected to receive the 2010 Outstanding Planning Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association. The award, made in the student project category, is for the Vance Avenue Collaborative Community Visioning Initiative.

The Vance Avenue Collaborative project grew out of a request from local pastors and residents of a low-income neighborhood for assistance during redevelopment of Cleaborn Homes, one of the oldest and largest public housing projects in the city.

Over a nine-month period, students and faculty led a variety of departments, universities, and organizations in an extensive neighborhood planning campaign designed to allow residents to voice their opinions and take ownership of the plan. With almost 200 resident interviews, hundreds of participants, and several focus groups, the initiative produced an extensive planning document that will guide the implementation of a comprehensive community plan.

“We are thrilled that the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association has recognized the Vance Avenue Neighborhood Improvement Plan for the area just south of FedExForum,” said Dr. Kenneth Reardon, director of the graduate program in City and Regional Planning. “The plan is the product of an unusually energetic and effective community/university development partnership that is committed to working together during the coming months to implement the major elements of this plan.”

The award will be presented Oct. 1 in Knoxville during the conference of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Tennessee Section of the Institute of Traffic Engineers.

A YouTube video of the project is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZTJ0g1i_gE

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