Ashley Kyber walks among her students’ models of community parks.
The landscape architecture professor at West Virginia University points out good elements in their design. But she also expects their designs to work for real people in real communities.
Like Jenny Selin, who scouts the state of West Virginia in search of those communities. The team she leads has worked in more than 40 towns across the state. But there are always more towns that could use their assistance to keep people in the state.
Like Andrea Bowman, who grew up in West Virginia. She loves her home and wants to see it thrive. But she sees the young people move away, the jobs that aren’t there. She wants to do something.
Like Doug Hylton did. When he was the town administrator for Ronceverte, a town of about 1,000 people not far from Lewisburg, he wanted to grow community assets. But he wanted some ideas.
So he called WVU’s Community Design Team, led by Selin and involving participants like Kyber and Bowman. For the last 13 years, the team has included WVU students and professors who assess needs, find solutions and compile suggestions for driving economic growth, increasing tourism and creating a higher quality of life.
Their work is all about the community, and it starts with the residents and what they hope to see in their towns.
The Community Design Team is a quintessential example of a land-grant university at work: bringing together a broad array of academic disciplines to work with the people of the state to improve their lives while providing an education to its students.
At the site, you can interactively view how the team works, where it’s been and the lives it’s changed.
If professionals, students and residents can transform Ronceverte together, then so can people in other towns; towns just like yours.
CONTACT: Jenny Selin, WVU Community Design Team coordinator
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