Tiny WPA

Tiny WPA strives to expand and empower community design leaders, in order to act as a national model for engaging people of all ages in community-based design. Their Building Hero Project works with diverse social and economic backgrounds from youth to adults. Collaboration, leadership, fabrication, and entrepreneurship skills are fostered and then applied to address […]

Design and Planning Assistance Center at the University of New Mexico

The Design and Planning Assistance Center (DPAC) provides low-income communities in New Mexico with design and planning services. It was founded at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) in 1969 as part of a national community design movement, linking universities, design practitioners, and communities. Their work involves research, community participation, asset inventory, analysis, […]

Detroit Collaborative Design Center at University of Detroit Mercy

The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) at the University of Detroit Mercy was originally founded to rebuild the city with community and philanthropic organizations. It creates sustainable spaces and communities in a multi-disciplinary, nonprofit architecture and urban design firm. The team is made up of seven professionals and a few student interns. The team uses […]

the UMass Amherst Design Center

The UMass Amherst Design Center, located at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, focuses on the challenges of communities in Massachusetts. They use research, and a wide range of planning and urban design work to address needs of various communities. Efforts include projects to support revitalization and sustainable design. The Design Center is a collaboration between […]

UW Extension Community Design Team

The UW Community Design Extension is a cooperative university extension at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A cooperative extension is a linkage between universities providing research-based knowledge to communities that would otherwise be less accessible. This allows communities to make more informed decisions about the future of their spaces. The UW Extension pulls knowledge from […]

Kounkuey Design Initiative

KDI is an international, interdisciplinary firm that includes engineering, landscape architecture, community organizing, architecture, and urban planning. They aim to create physical, social, and economic infrastructures to provide a foundation for equitable communities. They do this through designing and building, community-led planning, researching and testing, advocating and educating students and practitioners around the world. Their […]

Environmental Works

Environmental Works Community Design Center is a nonprofit community-based architectural firm that provides services to other nonprofit organizations, municipal agencies, and under-represented communities in the state of Washington. Their services include architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. They strive to create quality design and sustainable communities with efficient use of capital funds. Environmental Works focus on […]

Othello Square

The Othello Square project is a community-driven development initiative which strives to enhance equity in Southeast Seattle. From 2016 to 2018, the Othello Square Governance Committee and Othello Community generated the design guidlines and criteria for the new development, which consists of four buildings that will support more than 350 living-wage jobs and provide different […]

The EVC Public Space Network

The Eastern Coachella Valley Productive Public Space Network is an extension of the tools used in the Kibera Public Space Project by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI). California’s Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) is home to a large immigrant population that faces many challenges in terms of transportation, housing, health, and housing. Youth community members led participatory […]

Community-Driven Design for All: Interview with Barbara Brown Wilson

In this episode of Urban Resilience Project podcast, Barbara Brown discusses her book, Resilience for All: Striving for Equity Through Community-Driven Design, which addresses inequality and lack of representation. Barbara focuses on how community-driven design can allow access for those who are not normally included in the designing process to be on the designing table, […]

Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide

When one interacts with a community, one must prepare to be on his best behaviors. This guide provides activities that make you reflect and seeks to redesign your behavior in relation to the community in a more equitable manner. Design in this case signifies how one navigates and acts. To be more equitable this guide […]

Sharing Design Agency with Local Partners in Participatory Design

This article provides an overview of some of the opportunities and challenges associated with participatory design processes, especially those involving local partners in high poverty and informal settings. It reviews a participatory design project that took place in a Brazilian favela in collaboration with a local NGO and outlines 5 strategies for addressing challenges and […]

The Declaration of Interdependence

To honor those who declared interdependence before us, Randy Hester discusses our responsibility to sustain ecological democracy and attempt to achieve sustainable happiness. This video explores all the components and resources required to achieve this, which include the intersection between community, language, nature, politics, etc.

When Learning Is Real: The Mill Creek Project by Anne Whiston Spirn

The Mill Creek project allows students to engage in an alternative way of learning. The teachers of Sulzberger Middle School started asking students to draw what they would want to see in the community. This simple process encourages the students, even those without prior experience, to take initiative in this project and others that follow. […]

Community Engagement during the Pandemic and Beyond

During this unfortunate pandemic, in-person meetings and workshops needed for many collaborative design process are no longer possible. In this video, five landscape architects share their experience on how they continue to involve and collaborate with the community and stakeholders in decision making. They offer creative and effective strategies, tools and lessons for the pandemic […]

Design Justice: Colloquial Design for a Just City

Architect, Bryan Lee, found design justice and advocacy as a way to use architecture to create the biggest impact on communities. Bryan started his design company, Colloqate, to tell a story and acknowledge inequality to better design spaces that support racial, social and cultural equity. Their goal is to achieve justice through built environments.

How to make a model city: Place-It by James Rojas

This video gives a guideline on how to create a model city using everyday household art supplies. This concise video provides detailed instructions on how to create 3-dimensional topography and placement of different objects that may be on hand. This mixed-use of different supplies allows for an engaging, yet easy way to create your very […]

Community Designer: Chelina Odbert

With a teaching background, Chelina Odbert sees the importance of good design. She has also realized the potential for design to be more accessible, and start tackling big social and economic issues, such as poverty, to achieve equitable communities. She and peers created KDI to help low income communities build long lasting equity in places […]

Places in the Making: How Placemaking Builds Places & Community

Published by MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, this paper provides an overview of placemaking. It claims that the collaborative design process results in both great places and stronger communities. The paper outlines opportunities and challenges in the practice and presents a series of case studies from around the United States. Author Susan Silberberg; […]

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit organization based in New York City with a national audience. The CUP uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, particularly in underrepresented communities. They make urban policy and planning issues understandable to more community members so that they can better participate […]

The Kibera Public Space Project

Kounkuey Design Initative (KDI) works at the intersection of design and social justice. They view design as a process and a means to a solution rather than a product. Their method of design is ‘ask, listen, collaborate, and repeat’ and working with multidisciplinary stakeholders. The Kibera Public Space Project is the ongoing transformation of the […]