In Spring 2019, students in Dr. Byahut’s Synthesis Studio class developed several planning projects for the City of Dothan, AL. Dothan is a thriving and growing community which has embarked on several planning and development initiatives in recent years and continues to invest in their community.
In teams of three, students completed following five planning projects:
(1) Land use capacity analysis citywide with particular focus on housing and mixed uses;
(2) Feasibility of using a form-based code for historic preservation;
(3) Rental housing study and analysis;
(4) Rails to trail analysis and impact study; and
(5) Medical market economic development and land use study.
As part of the studio, they analyzed a case study, developed a proposal and work plan, undertook an existing conditions analysis, articulated goals and vision for the community, wrote proposals and policies, outlined an implementation strategy, and compiled final reports. At the end of the semester, students presented their plans to the City of Dothan officials in the City Hall.
The 2035 Wellness District Master Plan project received the 2019 Distinguished Leadership Award for Student Planning Team from the American Planning Association - Alabama Chapter.
During the 2018 fall semester, Dr. Jay Mittal’s Land and Urban Economics class worked with the City of Dothan to create potential economic development strategies and idea.
The students visited the city and learned about the current situation of Dothan in the context of to economic development. As a part of the research process, students first worked in groups to analyze the history, economic development, demographics, socio-economics, land utilization, zoning, and housing markets of Dothan. After gaining a deeper understanding of current trends, students explored their individual interests for the final stage of the project.
For the final stage, students were tasked with preparing strategies to attract new businesses and investments, attract new individuals, increase retention of local families, improve community assets, and revitalize areas in the city. The mayor and the planning staff visited the MCP Program to see the students' final presentations.
25 students in Dr. Sweta Byahut’s Sustainable Transportation Planning Class in Spring 2018 were tasked with creating a Corridor Improvement Plan for Highway 84 E. in Dothan, Alabama. Students re-envisioned the corridor in the context of connectivity, downtown land use, bike and pedestrian safety, infrastructure and place-making. This project was carried out in collaboration with the City of Dothan’s planning department and received inputs and feedback from Bob Wilkerson, Dothan City Planner.
Students worked in teams on three different segments. Their proposed plan focused on roundabout design, multi-modal connections, pedestrian and bike safety, parking enhancements and recreational trail enhancements.
First, students conducted case studies of similar projects from across the country to understand ways to incorporate bike and pedestrian facilities, planning interventions in both land use and transportation, policy measures, design for complete streets, traffic calming measures and more.
In the second stage, students conducted extensive field work to understand the existing conditions through GIS Mapping and land use analysis, bike and pedestrian level of service analysis, site analysis, photo-documentation, parking and policy review. They also participated in public meetings related to the project.
In the third stage, students developed specific proposals for roundabout design near Poplar Park, an intersection redesign of the Hospital Node and the Medical Campus, and a complete street redesign from Downtown to Hospital Node and further to the Medical College corridors. At the end of the semester, students presented their ideas to the mayor, the city manager, assistant city manager, planning director, public works director, the building officer, and other city officials.
This class received the 2018 Distinguished Leadership Award for Student Planning Team from the American Planning Association - Alabama Chapter.