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Department of History & Geography

Department of History & Geography

Columbus Community Geography Center

What is Community Geography?

Working with local non-profit agencies, community organizations, and local government bodies, the Columbus Community Geography Center involves faculty and students in research projects that:

  • Raise awareness about important community problems and resources;
  • Inform community and neighborhood planning processes;
  • Support community organizing; and
  • Empower communities to make positive change.


Located in the Department of History and Geography at Columbus State University, Columbus Community Geography is a community-driven collaboration that uses geographical thinking to research, map, analyze, and provide fresh and insightful perspectives on issues in the Columbus region. Columbus Community Geography is committed to addressing community challenges that relate broadly to the themes such as:

  • Community and economic development;
  • Neighborhood revitalization.


Columbus Community Geography helps create communities – from neighborhoods to regions – that are empowered to use maps, spatial analyses and other geographical and historical data to better understand their landscape and to build a just society.

Community Focus

Columbus Community Geography provides services to, and serves as a resource for, community and neighborhood groups, NGOS, faith-based agencies, and community coalitions that would like to use GIS mapping and other geographical techniques (such as place-making) to address community concerns.

The History of Columbus Community Geography

After the Bibb Mill fire in 2009, CSU faculty and students came together to consider the history of the Bibb City community and contemplate its future after loosing the massive historic mill structure. An interdisciplinary group of geography, history and theatre students developed interpretive materials to aid the community's planned Historic District status and to support a reinterpretation of the community.

In 2010, CSU's College of Letters and Sciences Strategic Plan, geography features prominently. The college identifying geography as important in developing the intellectual capital of the college by requiring a GIS lab established on the RiverPark campus, requiring the general expansion of undergraduate research opportunities, and a call to develop social capital by strengthening social capital by strengthening partnerships through at GIS Center with local and regional government.

The university's call to strengthen partnerships with the community inspired the creation of Columbus Community Geography. The CCG is modeled in part on the Syracuse Community Geography (SCG) program. SCG director Jonelle Robinson came to speak at CSU about her experience (2010). The Columbus Community Geography Center seeks to connect cultural geography, urban geography, and GIS students to community-based projects with local and regional government and local NGOs through service learning projects.

Major Community Partner Projects


Community Partners: CSU Art Department and Pasaquan Director, Dr. Mike McFalls
Project: In Transition: The Visionary Art Environment of Pasaquan
Authors: Dr. Amanda Rees and class members of Cultural Geography


Community Partners: Whitewater Express and Historic Columbus
Project: History from the River
Authors: Dr. Amanda Rees and class members of the Cultural Geography Class

Community Partners: Housing Authority of Columbus, Georgia and the Columbus State University Social Research Center
Project: Moving to Work Analysis
Authors: Dr. Brad Huff, Douglas Allen, Jason Allen, Rachael Cofield, Anthony Gibson, Jessie Scott, Cristian Waters, and Juli Yoder



Community Partner: Talbot County Chamber of Commerce
Project: Talbotton Report: Historical Driving Tour Narrative and Route Map.
Authors: Ron Fuller, Jessica Juhan, Wesley Mellina

Community Partner: River Valley Regional Commission (RVRC) and Butler, Georgia city council
Project : Visioning Process for a Community Redevelopment Plan, Butler GA
Authors: Dr. Huff andstudents in the Intermediate GIS class

Community Partner: Feeding the Valley (Columbus GA Food Bank)
Project: Report: Measuring Food Pantries and Food Accessibility in Columbus, GA
Authors: Dr. Rees, Dustin Laska and Angel Jorcin


Community Partner: Historic Columbus
Project: Community House Genealogy Workshop: Waverly Terrace Historic District.
Authors: Students in cultural geography class

Community Partner: Girls Inc.
Project: Spatial Reasoning and Urban Planning Lesson Plans.
Authors:Students in Dr. Rees' Maymester class

Community Partner: Girls Inc.
Project: Liberty-East Commons Timeline (Major Historical Locations and Leaders in the Liberty-Booker T Washington District)
Authors: Catherine Lovin, Meredith Duke, Joyce Wade, Rafael Torres, and Robert Williams. in Dr. Rees' Maymester class

Community Partner: Historic Columbus
Project: Initial Report on East Highlands Historic District
District Map: Using House Construction Data to Map Neighborhoods in the East Highlands, Columbus, GA.

Author: T. J. Rice, Dr. Rees' spring cultural geography class

Community Partner: Mayor's Neighborhood Stabilization and Improvement Commission
Project: National Trends in Community Garden Management and a Survey
Community Gardens in Columbus GA.
Author: Joyce Wade (graduate student) and Dr. Amanda Rees


Community Partner: Historic Columbus
Project: Converting Vacant Lots to Assets: Considering the Possibilities for Community Gardening: Mapping Leaned Properties in East Highlands, Columbus.
Author: T. J. Rice in Dr. Rees's urban geography class

Community Partner: Midtown Inc.
Project: Creating a Sense of Place: Midtown Neighborhoods
Micro-histories of Neighborhood Schools.
Authors: Phillip Causey and Amanda Ferguson (undergraduates) in Dr. Rees' urban geography class


Community Partner: Midtown Inc.
Wynnton: On the Line – Exhibit analyzing of the role of economics and race in the creation of Midtown Columbus, GA.
Student exhibit presented at the Midtown Inc. Midtown celebration.
Authors: Students in cultural geography class.


Community Partners: Bibb City Residents.
Project: Bibb City: Collected Lives from a Mill Town - Creation of a community play and history exhibit, “in-character” walking tour scripts, printable self-guided community tour, and downloadable audio tour. Website includes: an oral history play, text and images from the history exhibit, "in character" walking tour scripts, a printable self-guided community tour and a downloadable audio tour.
Authors: Drs Amanda Rees, Becky Becker and 40 Maymester students

Media Coverage

Anne Knowles

Anne Knowles Fall 2011 Visit

Bibb City Project:

Student Performances Bibb City Project

Bibb City Project News

Bibb City Project News

More Information

For information on the Columbus Community Geography Center, please contact

Dr. Amanda Rees

Phone: 706-507-8378