June 12, 2013

Citizens' Institute on Rural Design Announces 2013 Awards

Today the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) announced four organizations selected to host design workshops in rural communities. CIRD workshops bring together local leaders, non-profits, community organizations, and citizens with a team of specialists in design, planning, and creative placemaking to address design challenges identified by the community.

Selected by an advisory panel from a pool of 30 applicants, the four 2013 workshop hosts are:

  • Central Appalachia Institute for Research and Development, Inc.
  • Rochester Regional Community Design Center
  • University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Suwannee County Extension
  • City of Seguin, Texas

Two of the workshops will address the role design can play in revitalizing declining downtowns: Lima, New York (pop. 2,137) will focus on physical improvements and economic development strategies, and Live Oak, Florida (pop. 6,918) will focus on redevelopment and rebuilding after a natural disaster. The workshop in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky (pop. 21,931) will integrate arts and culture into existing community plans, raising awareness about the potential of artisans and craft industries to serve as an economic engine for a fifty-four county region.  The workshop in Seguin, Texas (pop. 25,674) will be centered around the design and public health benefits of a new waterfront trail for a low-income community suffering from high rates of obesity and limited options for walking, biking, or transit.

Each of the selected organizations applied with multiple partners at the local level. “We were so impressed by the quality of applications we received. The selected communities demonstrate rich potential for leveraging partnerships to take action on rural design issues,” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD Program Director and Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces, Inc. “Rural design is an important tool for communities to build on existing assets and improve a community’s quality of life, and its economic viability.”

CIRD offers annual competitive funding to as many as four small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-a-half day community design workshop. CIRD awardees receive $7,000 to support the workshop, in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000, and additional training through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources.

This summer, CIRD will co-host three capacity building conference calls to help selected towns plan for and implement successful community design workshops. Part of the ongoing CommunityMatters conference call series, these monthly calls are open to the public and designed to help any community working on a design or planning project get the skills they need to succeed, as well as the inspiration to get started:

  • Spreading the Word About Your Community Design Project, June 20, 3:00-4:00PM EDT
  • Designing for the Vision and Values of Your Community, July 25, 3:00-4:00PM EDT
  • Secrets of Successful Communities, August 22, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT

Participation in each call is free but registration is required. Click here to register!

Click here to download the official press release for this announcement.