April 17, 2024

Design and Disaster Planning for Rural Communities

Disaster planning – whether for wildfires, floods, or hurricanes – can be an overwhelming process, especially for rural communities and small towns where leaders and resources already may be stretched thin. These two webinars, hosted by the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, seek to demystify the planning process by bringing together innovative disaster resiliency and response practitioners who center design, arts, and culture in their work. They will share their approaches and some successful projects, along with concrete best practices and key considerations for rural communities to prepare for whatever might happen next.

Watch Part 1 (recorded on March 27, 2024)

Watch Part 2 (recorded on April 17, 2024)

March 27th Speakers

Beth Flowers, Director, Air Collaborative 

Beth Flowers has 30 years of executive level experience with non-profits, governmental agencies, broadcast media, and the arts. She is a visionary thinker and a talented communicator. Beth has created messaging for victorious political candidates and issues, inspired citizen participation in government, managed public planning efforts, repositioned struggling organizations, and developed innovative programming that connects people. Beth is a national leader in the fields of arts professional development, community and economic development, and entrepreneurship. As the Director of the Air Collaborative, Beth is at the forefront of connecting artists and creatives to their communities in new ways.

Andy Fox, PLA, FASLA Director and co-founder, Coastal Dynamics Design Lab North Carolina State University 

Andy is a Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University Faculty Scholar, NC State Community Engaged Faculty Fellow, and the director and co-founder of the Coastal Dynamics Design Lab. The goal of his work is tangible, actionable change in the public realm. His teaching, scholarship, and engagement activities focus on people/water relationships, with expertise in green infrastructure, high-performing public landscapes, and resilient community design.

Travis Klondike, PLA, ASLA Associate Director, Coastal Dynamics Design Lab North Carolina State University 

Travis serves as the Associate Director of the Coastal Dynamics Design Lab and as an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at NC State University. His work focuses on helping communities better adapt to natural hazards and climate change by leveraging contemporary methods of geospatial analysis, public engagement, visual narration, and grant-writing as catalysts for public good.

April 17th Speakers

 Benje Feehan, Architect, Executive Director, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP

Benje Feehan is an architect, artist, and educator. His work focuses on the union of creative practices and a deep understanding of place to dismantle systemic injustices evident in the built environment. As executive director of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, Benje is responsible for leading [bc] through its next season of design justice through community engagement. Benje has worked with residents and clients to design and construct socially and environmentally responsible architectural solutions to some of our cities’ most pressing issues. This work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including LEED platinum certifications, multiple AIA design awards, national AIA/HUD design awards, and the Rudy Bruner Silver Medal.

Frandelle Gerard, Advisory Council Member, Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts

Frandelle Gerard is a St. Croix community, cultural and social justice activist who serves as the Executive Director of CHANT, an Advisory Council member of the Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts (VIAC) and a member of the St. Croix Foundation’s Non-profit Consortium. With VIAC, Frandelle advises the Board of Directors on the development of the educational center for built heritage, historic preservation, architecture and the building arts being developed at the Old Barracks Property in Christiansted, St. Croix. The daughter of a generational Virgin Islands family, Frandelle uses her voice to advocate for the community in matters of cultural authenticity, environmental justice and economic sustainability.

Kelly Johnston, RPF, FBAN, Operations Director, Community Wildfire Planning Center

Kelly Johnston has been involved in the field of wildland fire management since beginning his career in 1991 as a seasonal firefighter for the British Columbia Forest Service. Kelly focuses his expertise in community wildfire risk assessment, wildland urban interface mitigation solutions, fire behavior analysis, prescribed fire and fire ecology. Kelly works collaboratively with all levels of government, community stakeholders, residents and indigenous partners through key roles and projects that span from local to international levels. Kelly also maintains his qualifications as a Registered Professional Forester, IFSAC accredited Structural Firefighter, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Fire Behavior Analyst and Ignition Specialist.