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Placemaking Across the South

The #PlacemakingTrain is chugging along its route having made recent stops in Atlanta (GA), Birmingham (AL), the New Orleans area (LA), and Jackson (MS)! It's been wonderful so far to explore the country through a locomotive lens and meet with passionate placemakers making their towns top the bill!
Trip Highlights
In Atlanta, we obsessed over the Atlanta Beltline, a 33-mile multi-use trail that seamlessly connects housing, businesses, places and people. We got to meetup with collaborators from the International Society of Urbanh Health who are planning a global urban health conference in Atlanta this November and a friendly group of local placemakers joined us for happy hour and Southern BBQ. Ryan also went on a tour of Sweet Auburn, the historic black neighborhood Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, lived and is enshrined.
In Birmingham, we got a grand tour by placemaker extraordinaire, Carmen Mays. Carmen showed us the BRT bus rapid transit system she has a ten year history advocating for. We also caught up with Naughty but Nice Kettle Corn, a black-owned business who had a food truck when we came to town last and now has a brick and mortar storefront. We were surprised by the new City Walk Birmingham, a massive linear park built under 10 blocks of newly-constructed highway. As we explore freeway removal and reconfiguration across the country, Birmingham has created something that furthers the debate and is well worth looking at. We also enjoyed seeing all the black history and celebration of black beauty in Birmingham and we are looking forward to the Historic African American Neighborhoods and Districts (HAANDS) conference happening there this September.
We visited New Orleans and nearby railroad communities Hammond and Slidell in one fell swoop. In NOLA, we cooked gumbo with local food advocates Anandi Premlall and Mark LaMaire. We enjoyed checking out Hammond's Railroad Park, busy Saturday Farmers and Artisans Market, lively streets and well-preserved walkable district with the stellar Hammond Downtown Development District. It was exciting to see the entrepreneurial spirit including Batter, a brick and mortar business that started at the farmers market and Luma Coffee who beautifully built out an old Rexall Pharmacy space on the main drag. In Slidell, we saw a celebratory spirit at the Crawfish Boil at Fritchie Park which brings togehter over 50 community teams to serve up this seasonal seafood delight. After a tour with Old Towne Main Street Director Katie Case, we watched the sunset at Bayou Jam at Heritage Park where we jumped in the second-line when the saints came marching in.

Placemakers: Ride the Rails to Revitalization with US
If you are a placemaker looking to gain more experience, we welcome you to contact us to join us on this trip as a participant and to learn more about the placemaking strategies being discussed and implemented.

Funders: Full Steam Ahead with Your Assistance
​We invite funders and donors to support our mission to bring placemaking expertise to rural America and empower BIPOC and student placemakers to come with us by financing their trip. Your gift to our Travel Fund will make this journey possible and help us catalyze thriving, equitable communities across the country.

Let's Meetup After?

Can't catch the train? Let's converge at one of these upcoming events/festivals or let us know what's happening in your neck of the woods!

Join us at:
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