Rural Communities Need Design Help, Too

The new Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Project for Public Spaces, and other organizations, is looking for proposals from rural communities who need design help. According to the group, successful applications will receive a $7,000 grant and technical assistance valued at $35,000.

CIRD, which used to be called “Your Town,” helps rural communities with fewer than 50,000 people. Through facilitated design workshops, CIRD aims to “enhance the quality of life and economic vitality” of these places. The intensive two-day workshops bring together “local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations with a team of specialists in design, planning, and creative placemaking to address challenges like strengthening economies, enhancing rural character, leveraging cultural assets, and designing efficient housing and transportation systems.”

Since the program began in 1991, more than 60 workshops have been held across the U.S., resulting in a range of new projects like new public art and business improvement districts, new waterfront parks, and complete streets.

Communities will need to find $7,000 in matching funds to participate (cash or in-kind).

Submit a proposal by March 5.

Also, the American Architectural Foundation’s innovative Sustainable Cities Design Academy (SCDA) program is asking teams that represent public-private partnerships to apply to attend design workshops in D.C.  The program connects “project teams and multi-disciplinary sustainable design experts” in workshops that “help project teams advance their green infrastructure and community development goals.” See the kinds of communities SCDA has helped in the past few years.

Image credit: ASLA 2011 Residential Honor Award. A Farm at Little Compton. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects / Michael Thomas

One thought on “Rural Communities Need Design Help, Too

  1. 2ndgrowthumpqua 01/25/2013 / 4:15 pm

    Sorry, but of course rural communities need design help. The language of your headline implies that rural areas are an afterthought and reinforces the real and perceived rainshadow effect felt by rural America behind the shadow of this country’s metropolises.

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