The Jackson Community Design Center, located in the School of Architecture’s fifth year Jackson Center, is an urban research laboratory whose mission is to support urban revitalization in Jackson. Initiated in 1996 by an endowment from The Phil Hardin Foundation , the Design Center adapts to the needs of the city and it provides research, visioning, planning, and technical assistance to associations that are working to make a viable, healthy urban environment and conducts public educational programs and sponsors visiting lectures and other Continuing Education Programs.

The mid size American city, a metropolitan area that ranges from 100,000 to 1 million people, is home to nearly 30 percent of the current US population. The JCDC’s primary focus is the greater Jackson metropolitan area, which has a population of around 530,000 people, as a means to think about the future of these areas that make up 288 of the 361 metropolitan areas in the US. With the US metropolitan population growing at 3.8 percent per year, the making of a sustainable future depends on the healthy development of these regions. Currently, growth in mid size metropolitan areas suffer from the convergence of three attitudes: an implicit association of sustainability with rural and suburban types of development, faith in the power of technology to solve every problem, and a fear of cities.

The JCDC is a think tank that analyzes the history and theory of urban design and questions the root of what drives development and evolution patterns in cities. The organization provides a service to the city by taking this research to develop and present concepts for land use – working regionally to influence growth to heal socioeconomic and municipal divides. The center runs diagnostics over specified regions of concern by conducting extensive mapping studies and historic analysis of comparable growth trends and proposes the most sustainable and feasible method for development.


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