• Invitation to Communities to Host Design Workshops that Address Specific Local Design Challenges

    Image of people at a workshop Houston, MS.

    It is our pleasure to announce CIRD's 2016-2017 Request for Proposals for Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges. The RFP is intended to help small towns and rural communities, with populations of 50,000 or less, build their capacity and acquire technical expertise to solve their design challenges.

  • Top Tools for Building Better Project Communications

    Most small-town community improvement projects are run on a shoestring budget.  Community project teams view professional community outreach materials as luxury items - rarely as necessities. In today’s media rich environment, people are inundated on a regular basis with high quality content from organizations big and small.  How can small cities and towns craft “must read” content that resonates with their target audiences?

  • Franklin for a Lifetime: Promoting Livability through Age-Friendly Design.

    Franklin, New Hampshire, like many post-industrial communities, is seeking ways to bolster employment opportunities and revitalize its downtown. In addition to finding ways to spur economic development, Franklin wants to ensure the availability of affordable housing options for seniors, who often leave the city to find housing elsewhere, robbing Franklin of vital civic, economic, and cultural resources Franklin for a Lifetime focused on creating a healthy and vibrant community and a reinvigorated downtown for all ages to enjoy. 

  • Seven Tips for Increasing Participation in Your Community Design Project

    hoto Credit: Wolfram Burner, Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/aHg34i

    If you want to get people to participate in your community project there are no shortage of ways to spread the word. With the increasing number of online options combined with traditional methods, the challenge rests in selecting the most cost-effective communications alternative. Here are seven tips to help you develop an effective communications strategy for your effort:

  • The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: A Journey through Lancaster County’s Towns and Villages

    Within a stone’s throw of the state capital of Nebraska are the twelve incorporated towns and villages of Lancaster County. Their populations hover around a few hundred each, save for the 3,227 residents of Waverly. The proximity of these communities to Lincoln is both blessing and curse. The nearby schools, institutions, jobs, retail, restaurants, and cultural destinations are fantastic assets. Yet, the flip side is Lincoln dominates the majority of economic and cultural activity in the county. The towns of Lancaster County want to be seen as more than just bedroom communities. They want to provide a diverse set of experiences and services, both public and private. More than anything, they want their residents to have a sense of ownership and civic pride over their community. In this context, Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design , in partnership with the The Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department oversaw a two-and-a-half day workshop intended to create a toolbox of design techniques and resources to help the villages of Lancaster County recapture their sense of place. There is no single path for achieving these goals, but the folks of Lancaster County already had a better sense than most that it requires a mixture of services, programming, and amenities.