« View All Upcoming Grants

Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design: Communities Facing Design Challenges

Deadline: February 16, 2018

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) conducted in partnership with the Project for Public Spaces and the Orton Family Foundation. Simply stated, rural design utilizes design strategies, improvements to a community’s streets, buildings, public spaces, or landscapes, to address the specific physical, environmental, social, and economic challenges facing rural areas.

CIRD’s process for improving communities follows a holistic approach, assessing the synergistic roles of streets, sidewalks, buildings, public spaces, commercial districts, natural areas, historic and cultural resources, amenities, activities, securities, management, and other factors in and around the site. The process begins with discovering what people in the community need and desire in their public spaces.

Developing locally-driven solutions to these challenges is critical to the long-term vitality of rural communities, and rural design can play a powerful role in this process. Forming collaborative multi-sectoral partnerships that cross county lines and town boundaries as well as governmental agency jurisdictions that include trusted local institutions and public agencies, is one of the key goals of the program.

CIRD helps rural leaders and residents come together to find creative solutions for:

  • Multimodal Transportation: Design challenge examples include improving bike/pedestrian access in your community; retrofitting commercial strips to accommodate pedestrians; the development of recreational trails for mobility and economic development; mobility for the elderly and aging in place; context sensitive rural highways and byways; integration of arts/culture/design to improve transportation or pedestrian experience.
  • Healthy Living by Design: Design challenge examples include creating public space that supports play and active recreation; improving access to healthy food and local food eco-systems; enhancing access for walking, biking, and active transportation/recreation; building social cohesion and opportunities for social interaction via creative placemaking.
  • Main Streets: Design challenge examples include leveraging Main Street for economic development; redesigning Main Street as a local street versus state highway/thruway; cultivating/enhancing public space on main street via design or creative placemaking; branding and design along Main Street; historic preservation and adaptive reuse of Main Street buildings; maximizing the role that arts and culture can play as an economic driver for local and regional economies.

Amount: This grant provides an opportunity to help up to six communities organize and host a two-and-a-half day community workshop, supported through $10,000 in cash stipends. A $10,000 cash or in-kind match by host communities is required. CIRD will provide a comprehensive package of technical assistance services to support the workshops, including:

  • Honoraria, travel and lodging expenses for up to four regional or national Resource Team members
  • Advice on development and production of workshop content and instructional materials
  • One-on-one assistance and site visits by CIRD staff to support planning the workshop logistics and content
  • Conference calls and webinars on relevant rural design topics
  • A write up of an action plan and key summary of the workshop event
  • Opportunities to connect with a broad network of rural practitioners and resources

Eligibility: CIRD supports rural communities and small towns with a population of 50,000 or less. Community is defined broadly, not just the town center or area within town boundary, but also the surrounding areas that depend on its goods and services and contribute to its economic base, including agricultural lands, scenic and natural landmark and preserves, and an areas used for recreation. State-level entities may support the application, but cannot serve as the primary applicant. Lead applicants may be:

  • Municipal, tribal, or county governments
  • Local nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to such entities as Main Street organizations, art centers, preservation groups, historical societies, or chambers of commerce
  • Regional planning organizations
  • University community design centers or university agricultural/extension offices located within 50 miles of the community

Link: https://www.rural-design.org/request-for-proposals

Note: An application preparation webinar will be held on January 25, 2018.

« View All Upcoming Grants