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Katrina Cottage Unveiled

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Journal: Time's Up
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Journal: Community Input
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Journal: Focus on Design
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Journal: Teams Visit Communities
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October 12, 2005
Journal: Renewal Forum Begins

Governor Enlists CNU

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By Ben Brown

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI, November 17, 2005 -- Gov. Haley Barbour's promise to help "illuminate choices" for communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina takes another step with the release of final design team reports from the Mississippi Renewal Forum held October 11-17.

Cover pages of the eleven city reports

The Forum took place under the auspices of the foundation-supported Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal, headed by former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale. The Commission invited a national team of design specialists led by architect and planner Andrés Duany to join with a like number of Mississippi colleagues for an intensive seven-day planning session in Biloxi's Isle of Capri Hotel. The teams were charged with coming up with ideas to not only restore the Coastal Gulf region to pre-hurricane standards but to raise the standards. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild the right way and make the Coast bigger and better than ever," said Gov. Barbour.

The final team reports include proposals for 11 towns: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gautier, Gulfport, Long Beach, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Pass Christian, and Waveland. There are also reports from teams focusing on architecture, zoning codes, economic strategies, regional planning and the environment, retail, social issues, and transportation.

An illustrated summary report will be published in printed form at locations throughout the three affected counties beginning in late November. And a printed architectural pattern book, celebrating South Mississippi design traditions and featuring new plans in harmony with those traditions, will be available about a week later. The publications are free on request. For distribution locations, see: www.governorscommission.com.

The release of Forum results is just one step in the Governor’s Commission information-gathering process. The process will culminate in a report to Gov. Barbour, who will distribute the Commission’s findings back to the towns and counties, who will have final say on their adoption and implementation.

Coming next: A three-day review and discussion of the Forum reports, beginning November 30th. Andrés Duany will meet in Biloxi with the team leaders to talk about adjustments and clarifications of their analyses. That night and the night of December 1st, the teams will fan out into the communities for meetings with citizens, who will have a chance to review the reports and ask questions of team leaders. During the day on December 1st and 2nd, town officials and planning practitioners, plus developers and other business leaders, will meet with Duany, government agency officials, and other experts to talk about the principles behind the Forum reports and strategies for implementation.