Africatown International Design Idea Competition

Africatown shot to the forefront of the world's consciousness with the sensational May 2019 announcement that the sunken slave ship Clotilda had been found  in Alabama's Mobile River Delta.

M.O.V.E. Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation is levaraging that spectacular historic moment to jumpstart a comprehensive urban and community planning process to revitalize Africatown through cultural heritage tourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the trillion-dollar travel industry. Tourism focused on African American history is booming.

M.O.V.E. CDC's goal is to ensure that this under-served community and its environs directly benefit from the finding of the Clotilda, the ship that launched Africatown's unique history.

The U.S. had banned importing African people for slavery in 1808. Yet on a bet, the Clotilda owners in Mobile illegally shipped 110  West Africans provided by the King of Dahomey (in present-day Benin) to America's shores in 1860. After a short enslavement, and unable to return home, 36 of the Africans formed and governed their own community in 1865. Their descendants and the community exist today, but Africatown suffers from benign neglect and industrial encroachment.


M.O.V.E. CDC -- with master urban planning assistance provided by studio|rotan  -- seeks funding to fully support THE AFRICATOWN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN IDEA COMPETITION. It gives architectural designers around the world a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to imagine a revived Africatown. They are invited to interpret Africatown's history in 16 land and water-edged venues on 4 sites across 3 cities, and to address some of the many challenges it faces.

Together, the 16 venues are destined to be essential components in a major new cultural heritage tourism destination system that we call "THE AFRICATOWN CULTURAL MILE." We believe a well-designed system can attract millions of visitors and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the economy of Africatown, for the Cities of Prichard and Chickasaw, and for the greater Mobile region.

This multi-site Idea Competition seeks multi-disciplinary architectural teams to develop design concepts using African design principles, creative placemaking and world-class destination planning that:
(1.) Honor the Africatown story;
(2.) Anchor current and future development plans;
(3.) Preserve this under-served community's cultural identity; and
(4.) Spark economic revitalization in Africatown.

Winning designs should also incorporate the latest digital technologies, imbued with “Wakanda Forever” Afrofuturistic sensibilities.

Local leaders and officials can use the designs in pre-implementation planning for equitable collective impact. Our vision is a cultural heritage tourism system that is worthy of Africatown's unique world history and that economically sustains the community.

Watch the video, "Africa Town A Story Worth Knowing, A Community Worth Renewing."

Learn more about The Africatown International Design Idea Competition, and sign up for the latest developments, at the official website,


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M.O.V.E. Gulf Coast CDC 
Mobile, AL
Move Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation (Move Gulf Coast Cdc) 
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