This weekend could lay the groundwork for a new and re-invigorated Norwich Street commercial corridor in Brunswick.
The Congress for the New Urbanism will be in town thanks to a partnership earned by the city to partner with the Georgia Conservancy, Atlanta-based Kronberg Wall architects and Savannah-based Symbioscity to get ideas and feedback about how to redesign the once bustling section of Norwich Street north of Gloucester Street.
The New Urbanism movement suggests that our physical environment has a direct impact on our chances for happy, prosperous lives. It grew in the late 1980s and early 1990s when urban designers, planners and architects became frustrated with the development trends of building housing that was dispersed far from city centers and main streets. They watched as thriving city centers in towns of all sizes declined and lost their sense of community.
Drive down Norwich Street in Brunswick and think about the thriving commercial corridor it once was. It is easy to see from where the frustration came. Since convening the first congress 26 years ago, New Urbanism design projects have popped up in places like Boston, Buena Vista, Colo., New Orleans, Atlanta and Huntsville, Ala., just to name a few.
We are happy to know Brunswick could be added to that list.
Norwich Street has for years been on the city’s list of areas it hopes to rehabilitate to its former glory. It once served as a main commercial district in the city to compliment nearby Newcastle Street. While there are still businesses thriving on Norwich Street, much of it looks hard and uninviting. The design workshops this weekend should go a long way in developing tangible ideas and ways the city can update, upgrade and beautify the corridor.
We thank the groups coming to partner with Brunswick on this project and hope the suggestions do not collect dust on a shelf somewhere once they are done. We urge the city to take designs and run with them. That is what the folks in Tukwila, Wash., who hosted these workshops in 2017 did. They are already seeing parts of those designs coming to fruition.
We hope the community comes out and participates in the numerous opportunities that will be available to offer ideas. The partners in the project will be out from 6-8 p.m. Friday during First Friday on Newcastle Street and will host a workshop from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at HIS Ministries, 2009 Norwich St. An open house will be from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Old City Hall, 1229 Newcastle St. and a presentation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday at Old City Hall.
Don’t miss this chance to be a part of it.