Savannah is a living, breathing, modern city faced with the challenge of balancing rich interwoven history with contemporary needs. With Savannah Day and Savannah as Platform, CNU26 featured two days of sessions delving into the past, present, and future of our city of Savannah.
Savannah Day is a captivating series of programs on Savannah's past, present, and future. Sessions explore what Savannah is famous for: the Oglethorpe and Savannah Plans, and its rich architectural tableaux. Also examined is Savannah’s reality as a living, breathing, and very modern city, striving to balance its historic nature with contemporary needs, and struggling with poverty and social divisions. Savannah Day offers a picture of the beautiful and the underbelly.
The Oglethorpe and Savannah Plans and their Legacy for Urban Design in Savannah
This three-part presentation explores the original regional Oglethorpe Plan for the Savannah area and the expansion and evolution of its urban heart – The Savannah Plan – with its famous wards, squares, and tree-lined boulevards that adapted to changing physical and social conditions to become one of America’s most enduring and beautiful cities.
Thomas D. Wilson, planner
Associate, Historical Concepts
Robin Williams, Ph.D.
Chair, Dept. of Architectural History, SCAD
Savannah's Building Types: The Plan is the Generator
Savanah’s celebrated urban plan imposes unique constraints on people and institutions wishing to build within its boundaries. Its small blocks of building lots, dense but rhythmically varied grid of streets and multiple public squares exact a rigor and discipline on the architectural design of its buildings that has resulted in nuanced versions of standard American building types. This session explores Savannah’s building types including categories such as: Trust Lot buildings; Row houses and Carriage houses; Churches and Religious institutions; Governmental institutions; Educational institutions and Commerce; Hospitality and Transportation.
Principal, Brown Design Studio
David Gobel, Ph.D.
Professor, Architectural History, SCAD
Striking a Balance: Are Tourists Loving our Cities to Death?
Success in attracting visitors to a tourism destination is a validation of a city’s legacy – its geography, climate, history – and the ways in which it has leveraged those gifts. While there is a boost in private revenues and public coffers, the management of visitors can affect a city’s capacity to protect the attributes that attract visitors and contribute to the local quality of life. What urban planning and design and other strategies could stabilize communities especially vulnerable to oversaturation, while at the same time channel benefits to neighborhoods most in need of investment? This panel will identify scenarios from Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Asheville, North Carolina to explore approaches for ensuring that cities can keep their appeal to visitors while also preserving a high standard for a quality of life for residents.
Co-Director, Mountain True
Jacob A. Lindsey
Director of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability,
City of Charleston
Not The Usual Suspects in Community Transformation - Savannah's Ongoing Legacy
This panel session will transform your thinking on achieving health, safety, and wellness in the community. It addresses community engagement in policy, systems, and environmental change through the lens of health equity and inclusion.
Green Associate, Director of Healthy Living and Community Development,
Savannah is all about holding on to the past. Yet this past-loving city has been in a constant stage of
change since General James Oglethorpe founded the colony in 1733.
This presentation offers the unique perspective of Alderman Bill Durrence, a native son of the city who started his professional life at age 18 as a staff photographer on the Savannah daily newspapers. Now retired after a 50+ year career, Durrence serves as the city’s Second District Alderman. Growing up in Savannah, Bill Durrence’s family was part of the diaspora from urban to suburban living in the early 1950s and he watched the renaissance of Savannah’s downtown beginning in the late 1950s through to today’s high volume of development projects. Working from his personal archive of local images, his presentation will include before and after photos showing how dramatically some things have changed in Savannah over the past 50+ years, and will also take a look at current and future development plans, many of which come with controversy because of competing visions for the city’s future.
Watch the video below to experience Bill's entire presentation!
The Honorable Bill Durrence
Alderman, City of Savannah