Meet the 2014-15 Cohort
Auburn, a city of 59,000 people in the lush, green, rolling hills of eastern Alabama, is part of a rapidly growing area of 151,000, located about 125 miles west of Atlanta. Auburn University is a public university with an enrollment of about 25,000 students and strong programs in a number of fields including planning, architecture and landscape architecture. Auburn University’s campus faces the main commercial street, College Street, in downtown Auburn. The city’s retail core has benefitted from substantial public and private reinvestment in recent years. Auburn’s project with the Accelerator is intended to build on that success by redesigning and redeveloping its arterials into complete streets, continuing to promote commercial and residential infill and redevelopment in an expanded downtown, and incorporating green stormwater infrastructure into the redevelopment of its streets and public spaces.
Duluth is a city of 86,000 people, with a scenic setting on high hills facing the blue waters of Lake Superior. Its initial rapid growth was based on iron mining and processing, timber production and grain shipments. Those old industries are giving way to new industries and a greater emphasis on the knowledge economy. It is aided in this transition by the University of Minnesota, Duluth, a university with about 11,000 students and specializations in engineering, sustainable natural resources industries and the arts. The city’s “Energy Futures” project focuses on the conversion of the municipally owned steam plant into a more efficient, closed-loop hot water heating system serving downtown. In addition, the project team will be examining how to promote the renovation of its older housing stock to save energy and promote transportation and housing choices (for students and others that contribute) to a more sustainable energy future.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico is a growing city of 101,000 people, located in the Mesilla Valley within the high desert, about 45 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas and 40 miles from the border with Mexico. Nearby, on the eastern horizon, are the jagged peaks of the Organ Mountains. New Mexico State University (NMSU), located in Las Cruces, is the state’s only land grant university. It has about 18,500 students and strengths in civil engineering, agriculture and other fields. The project focuses on redevelopment and revitalization of El Paseo, one of the major arterials connecting downtown with NMSU. The city and its project partners, (NMSU, the Mesilla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Hispanic, Green, and Greater Las Cruces Chambers of Commerce) are interested in converting El Paseo into a complete street that is safer for pedestrian and serves multiple forms of travel, while integrating green stormwater infrastructure into these investments. The team is also interested in promoting transit, biking,and walking and engaging NMSU students, faculty, businesses and the public in these efforts.