Towns, villages, and neighborhoods in Alabama, and across America, face an uncertain future — a future which is increasingly threatened by large scale change to economies, relocations by the population, telecommunication needs, housing shortages, public health challenges, a changing environment, the distribution of goods, and changes in land policy.

In the face of these forces, communities struggle to maintain their vitality and even their sense of identity. Whether the threat is sudden growth or stagnation, planning and design decisions can often make the difference between survival and decay, between healthy prosperity and decline. Despite the crucial importance of planning and design, small communities rarely have good access to professional assistance and information on the application of planning and design to their communities’ issues.

The Your Town Alabama program is a first step in meeting these needs. The workshop format is an intensive engagement of citizen leaders and professionals. Our time together is intended to be highly participatory with lectures, case study presentations, and interactive group problem solving, including work on realistic issues in a hypothetical small town. The goal is to provide advanced leadership skills supported by information and planning tools that can be taken home to all corners of our state and applied to the process of designing our future!

The decisions
we make today
directly determine
the legacy we
leave tomorrow.

The decisions
we make today
directly determine
the legacy we
leave tomorrow.

There are two types of change, planned and unplanned. Since it’s inevitable, wouldn’t you rather have the former?

There are two types of change, planned and unplanned. Since it’s inevitable, wouldn’t you rather have the former?

Our Mission

Your Town Alabama inspires and educates Alabamians to use asset-based design for setting and achieving community goals.

1991

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Faculty of Landscape Architecture at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Syracuse developed a prototypical workshop curriculum for the NEA – Design Arts Program.

1994

The NEA expanded the program and created five Regional YourTown Centers to act as hosts for annual regional workshops and serve as clearinghouses for design information and technical assistance.

1996

The program has received national awards for design communication and public education from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association.

1998

Alabama’s first Your Town workshop was held as a result of the efforts of an ad hoc “Alabama Your- Town Steering Committee” convened by Paul Kennedy of the Cawaco Resource Conservation & Development Council in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts’ YourTown Program.

1999

The success of the first workshop led to a second workshop and to the creation of YourTown Alabama, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing asset-based planning and support to Alabama’s mid- and small communities.

2002

A series of youth workshops were held as outreach to a younger population of potential designers and planners

2018

Your Town celebrated 20 years of workshops with a reunion that gathered hundreds of past participants to share stories of success and chart the future of the organization

Your Town Alabama
Board

Officers

Matt Leavell, AIA LEED AP, Chairman
The Univ. of AL Center for Economic Development

Ben Wieseman, Vice-Chairman
PLACE ASSOCIATES

Katie Thomas, Secretary / Treasurer
AL Association of RC&D Councils, Inc.

Board

Brandon Bias
Goodwyn Mills & Cawood

Jim Byard, Jr.
Byard and Associates, Inc.

Jason Fondren
KPS Group, Inc.

Drew Gilbert
Tallulah Brewing Co.

Mary Helmer
Main Street Alabama

Kathleen Kirkpatrick
Sustainability Consulting

Debra Love
E3 Solutions

Lea Ann Macknally, ASLA (ExCom)
Macknally Land Design

Larry Mason
Community Member

Collier Neeley (ExCom)
Landmarks Foundation of montgomery

Nigel Roberts
Jefferson County

Phil Segraves
Mayor, City of Guin

Jenny Brown Short
Community Member

Rip Weaver
Aldridge Gardens

Nathan Willingham, AICP (Immediate Past Chair)
Rural Innovation Strategies

Emeritus

Paul Kennedy
Walker Area Community Foundation

Mary Shell
Alabama Communities of Excellence

Randy Shoults
Artist