Is the SCAD student designed ‘Y-District’ a new plan for Yamacraw Village?

Y District concept art.
Y District concept art.(AIA Georgia)
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many have found design concepts online that appear to show new plans for the Yamacraw Village area.

The discovery for some came after the Housing Authority of Savannah announced it will put forward plans to demolish the public housing complex because it will cost too much to renovate.

WTOC viewers have asked: Is this the official plan to redesign that area?

The answer is it’s not the plan for Yamacraw Village.

WTOC Investigates confirmed the design concept, on file with the American Institute of Architects chapter in Georgia, was submitted for an urban design concept challenge for college students.

Architecture students with Savannah College of Art and Design put together the concept for a class project. The urban design concept is called the “Y District”, which stands for Yamacraw as in Yamacraw Bluff. It’s a name that goes back to Savannah’s founding.

The concept is hardly recognizable compared to what the area looks like today. It includes high-rise living and even a robot dog.

WTOC Investigates spoke with Ralph Nickels, who helped put together the concept back in 2019. He said back then he was an architecture student at SCAD.

He and two of his classmates picked Yamacraw Village for a class project because they wanted to reconcile what they viewed is “a segregated social disconnection” to the rest of downtown Savannah, as described in the concept.

They reimagined the area with modern, rent-controlled housing and a grid street system to re-connect the area.

WTOC Investigates has confirmed the concept is a student project from three years ago. It is not a plan that is approved for the area.

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