• 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.

  • Saving Main Street: Eleven Ideas for Spurring Investment in Downtown Businesses

    Does it feel like every time you walk downtown one more storefront is vacant? Combating the downward momentum of vacancy and neglect is no easy feat. Here are eleven ideas for spurring investment in downtown businesses that can put your town on a path toward revitalization.

  • Tips for More Nimble and Inclusive Rural Design

    We spoke to Maria Sykes, a citizen architect and the co-founder of the public interest design firm Epicenter, to learn more about what it takes for rural projects to become successful.

  • Start Dreaming, Houston!

    The board that architecture students from Mississippi State University created to gather feedback, with the workshop participants' ideas.

    We got a taste of Houston, Mississippi's creativity and energy during their Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ workshop, which explored how to transform the trailhead of the Tanglefoot Trail  into a great community public space, and how to create a stronger connection between the trail and Houston’s downtown.