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Mobile Plans for “Walkable, Livable”

Downtown Mobile on the Mobile River.

Downtown Mobile on the Mobile River.

Photo courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department/Tad Denson

Mobile hasn’t always had a strong reputation for long-term planning but a potential solution has gotten a thumbs up from the city’s Planning Commission and will likely be made official by the Mobile City Council before the new year.

Map for Mobile is the first stab at comprehensive planning for the Port City in 20 years, according to the city’s website. It’s a collection of goals, design and development wish lists and ideas about downtown stabilization, resident satisfaction and family services. The process, which included lots of community input, was facilitated by Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood Inc., a privately held engineering and architecture firm with offices in Mobile and throughout the Southeast.

“The joke in Mobile has always been that long-range planning meant whatever was happening next week,” says Debi Foster, of The Peninsula of Mobile, a community nonprofit. 

Foster was one of several community members who spoke in favor of the plan before it was approved. She likes its call for more walkability and public access to the area’s abundant water resources.

George Talbot, spokesman for Mayor Sandy Stimpson, says that hiring a long-term planner will “absolutely” be one of the first things that will happen should the City Council approve the Map for Mobile. The administration hopes that will happen in December.

“Map for Mobile is the long-needed vision for the growth of Mobile in the 21st century,” Elizabeth Stevens, president of the Downtown Mobile Alliance, wrote on the city’s website. “Our city has been for too long in a reactionary mode regarding its development. The successful cities of today are intentional about building walkable, liveable places that enrich the lives of their residents. Map for Mobile is the important first step.” 

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