Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design: Communities Facing Design Challenges
The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), along with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. Focusing on communities with populations of 50,000 or less, CIRD’s goal is to enhance the quality of life and economic viability of rural America through planning, design, and creative placemaking. CIRD is intended to empower local citizens to capitalize on unique local and regional assets in order to guide the civic development and future design of their own communities.
CIRD’s Communities Facing Design Challenges consists of two different opportunities:
1. Workshop Communities: Up to three communities will be selected to host an on-site rural design workshop. With support from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops bring together local residents and local leaders from nonprofits, community organizations, and government to develop actionable solutions to the community’s specific design challenge. The community receives additional support through customized follow-up support after the workshop and web-based resources, webinars, and peer learning through the Learning Cohort (described below). Examples of potential design challenges include (but are not limited to):
- Historic preservation and adaptive reuse of community buildings
- Designing quality affordable housing that supports livable and equitable communities, including housing and other amenities that support young people, families, and/or the elderly and aging in place
- Creating public or civic space that supports and integrates cultural expression and local identity and/or play and active recreation
- Developing recreational trails for mobility, active transportation, and economic development
- Redesigning Main Street as a local street versus state highway/thruway
- Improving access to healthy food and local food eco-systems
- Leveraging Main Street or local businesses for economic development, including branding, wayfinding, façade improvements, and streetscape design
- Integrating cultural identity into the built environment to drive heritage tourism
2. Learning Cohort Communities: Up to 20 rural communities will be selected to participate in a Learning Cohort. Rural community leaders from government, nonprofits, local business, and civic organizations are invited to gather together for peer learning; training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques; and support in navigating funding opportunities to make their community’s vision a reality.
Amount: Dependent on opportunity, as follows:
1. Workshop Communities: Each workshop includes:
- $10,000 stipend to the host community for workshop and related expenses. Recipients must provide a $10,000 match.
- A tailored site visit and multi-day workshop with design experts to assist with project visioning and advancing toward implementation.
- In-person or virtual check-in with CIRD staff and team members – including designers and planners – on a quarterly basis after the workshop, to help tackle the community design challenge.
- A travel stipend to participate in Learning Cohort activities.
Lodging stipend and registration fee waiver for HAC’s National Conference.
- Access to all events and opportunities afforded to the Learning Cohort.
2. Learning Cohort: This provides for an opportunity for two leaders from each selected community to gather together for peer learning; training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques; and support in navigating funding opportunities to make their vision a reality. Opportunities include:
- Invitation to the Rural Design Summit (Fall 2019), an in-person, design focused gathering of rural leaders, designers, and related subject experts
$1,000 travel stipend
- Access to online education and coaching on design related topics catered to the cohort’s particular design challenges
- Opportunities to exchange knowledge and experiences of design issues with peers from across rural America
- Invitations to in-person events and conferences to further peer learning and exchange
- Invitations to link to HAC’s national capacity building network including webinars, convenings, funding opportunities, and related opportunities
- An opportunity to contribute to rural design conversations at the national level
Eligibility: Organizations must:
- Be part of a rural or tribal community of 50,000 or less, that is rural in character (rural tribes and communities with higher populations should contact email@example.com with any questions)
- Have a specific design challenge in mind, although the CIRD team realizes that design challenges might evolve based on on-the-ground happenings
- Be able to participate in CIRD as indicated in Participation Expectations below
- Commit to the full period of programming from September 2019-December 2020
The following entities meeting the criteria above are encouraged to apply:
- Municipal, tribal, or county governments
- Local nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to Main Street organizations, art centers, preservation groups, historical societies, or chambers of commerce working in rural areasRegional planning organizations working in rural areas
- University community design centers or university agricultural/extension offices or other programs with close ties to the community presenting the design challenge
- Partnerships of the entities listed above
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