LSU’s Office of Community Design and Development Receives $25,000 Foundation for Louisiana Grant

The Foundation for Louisiana recently awarded $25,000 to the LSU School of Architecture’s Office of Community Design and Development, or OCDD, to conduct a 10-month public service project and pilot study, “Advancing Louisiana Small Town and Rural Community Development.”

The study will take place in northeast Louisiana, focusing on the Lake Providence and Tallulah corridor, including Shelburn, Lake Providence, Transylvania, Alsatia, Sandheimer, Tallulah and Richmond.

Primary investigators for the project are OCDD Director Marsha Cuddeback and School of Architecture Professor Frank M. Bosworth. Research Associates Stacy Palczynski, Christine Leech and Danielle Martin will assist, as will OCDD Graduate Assistant Christopher Peoples. The project will explore new strategic approaches to community design and planning solutions, which address common problems in the physical environment related to community health, education, quality of life, and economic prosperity in rural communities. Hospitals, public safety facilities and schools, among other institutions, will be evaluated to see if their physical condition correlates with performance on health, education and economic measures. Schools will also be evaluated to determine which improvements will advance community based education.

During the pilot study, researchers will meet with community leaders involved in health, education and economic development in Tallulah and Lake Providence to establish a baseline measure of performance on the Human Development Index measures. Researchers will also examine the identified community assets, people and places to determine if collaboration will promote improvement on the Human Development Index measures. This research focuses on expanding existing community capacity by identifying resources that could be shared among communities to build highly productive alliances.

The Office of Community Design and Development is a university-based interdisciplinary community outreach center that connects students with Louisiana’s communities to help improve the quality of the built environment and the lives of citizens across Louisiana and the region. Located in Room 411 of the Design Building, OCDD and the Office of Community Preservation give students a place to build on classroom knowledge, applying the techniques they’ve learned and a chance to gain practical experience. OCDD works with community and government organizations on research, planning, design projects, and public awareness and education. Focus areas include town planning, urban design, architectural program development, site planning and analysis, architectural design, construction management, research, consultation and public education.

Aaron Looney
LSU Media Relations