CIRD supports host communities before and after their workshops via informational conference calls and webinars that cover critical topics in community engagement, rural design, partnership development, and workshop planning.

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Program Goals

The CIRD program offers rural communities the following:

  • Competitive funding to small towns and rural and tribal communities to host a multi-day community design workshop, including a stipend and in-kind technical assistance and design expertise.
  • A learning cohort consisting of selected local leaders and residents from 20-25 communities, who benefit from training in design, planning, and community engagement; information about funding opportunities; and peer learning and networking with other rural communities
  • On-line resources including case studies, visioning and technical training, and collaborative network building to address rural community design challenges.

Through these three primary components, the program seeks to: 

  • Raise awareness about the role of design in enhancing the quality of life and economic vitality of rural communities and to spur innovative design solutions.
  • Empower citizens to play a role in guiding and determining appropriate development for their communities, including best use of available federal and state funding.
  • Equip participants with the tools and techniques to identify, value, protect, and enhance the unique aspects of their towns and landscapes.
  •  Strengthen the work and the partnerships of individuals and organizations who are already providing assistance to rural areas on design and community development issues.
  • Provide a forum for rural technical assistance providers to share their professional skills, learn new techniques that would aid them in their work with rural communities, and exchange ideas and experiences with rural communities and other providers.
  • Provide participants with access to best practice approaches to place-based architecture, landscape architecture, heritage tourism, cultural development, arts-based civic engagement, historic preservation, and land management.
  •  Contribute to the creation of a community of practice for rural design.