GT City ReAssembly Planning Studio Gains Attention

Primary tabs

The College of Architecture's City and Regional Planning Program conducted a master's level planning studio during the 2006 fall term focused on redevelopment strategies and preparing a framework plan for the General Motors vehicle assembly plant in Doraville that is slated for closure.

The GM plant, a fixture in Doraville since 1947, occupies 150+ acres and employs over 3,000 workers. When the plant was originally built, it physically splintered the city by closing streets and demolishing neighborhoods. Further splintering occurred in the 1960s when Interstate 285 was built through Doraville, and again, in the 1990s, when a MARTA line and station were built. Today, Doraville is a small, fragmented city made up of several isolated and poorly connected neighborhoods. Though the GM plant's closing will leave a large void in Doraville, it also represents a unique opportunity for Doraville to put itself back together and create a new identity and vision for its future.

As the capstone course in the City and Regional Planning master's curriculum, the planning studio allows students to perform a real-world planning task for an outside client. Dr. Nancey Green Leigh, City and Regional Planning professor and the lead faculty, chose to work with the City of Doraville because of the unique opportunity it provided students to use their skills and creativity to provide the city government and its citizens with ideas, strategies, and evidence for the creation of a strong and viable plan for the GM site. Adjunct Faculty John Skach was co-leader for the studio, and Architecture Associate Professor Richard Dagenhart provided additional design consultation. The seven student members of the studio were Susan Cohn, Marc Dixon, Kenwin Hayes, Miguel Granier, Dave Pierce, Rick Liu, and Samantha Singer.

After several months' worth of research, the results of the City and Regional Planning studio have been enthusiastically received by the Doraville community and have attracted interest throughout the metro Atlanta region. Students have presented the results of the studio to the Doraville City Council, the DeKalb-Doraville Blue Ribbon Commission formed to study redevelopment options for the GM site, and at the spring conference of the Georgia chapter of the American Planning Association. Additionally, the City and Regional Planning studio has been featured in a WSB-TV Atlanta news segment and in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.

The recommendations for Doraville from the studio work include a flexible and pedestrian-friendly subdivision of blocks and streets for the 150+ acre site, with ample parks, a transit-oriented development, town center, and small arena to act as anchors for new housing, retail, and offices.

During the City ReAssembly Studio, a separate group of graduate students engaged in a similar redevelopment planning process for the recently closed Ford assembly plant in Hapeville. A Spring 2007 Architecture studio led by Professor Richard Dagenhart is intended to expand the work of the studio by creating urban design guidelines for each site based on the City ReAssembly studio recommendations.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Automator
  • Created: 03/07/2007
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


No categories were selected.


No keywords were submitted.

Target Audience