After lots of application review and interviews, [bc] along with the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) and the National Endowment for the Arts are pleased to announce that 23 communities have been selected to take part in the Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design (CIRD).
CIRD has worked with communities of 50,000 or less since 1991 to enhance quality of life and economic viability through planning, design, and creative placemaking. This is our first year partnering with HAC to lead the Institute.
The following three communities will take part in multi-day design workshops in the communities to focus on their specific challenges.
Millinocket, Maine (population 4,400): The residents of Millinocket, located near Maine’s Mount Katahdin, have mobilized around sustainability, mental health/wellness, and diversifying the town’s economic base after the departure of the paper industry. The goal is to create a design principles guidebook that will inform downtown revitalization plans and be used by local businesses to help create a unified sense of place.
Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico (population 1,241): The Pueblo is developing an ambitious master plan for the Village of Laguna (one of six in the Pueblo) that seeks to address longstanding challenges, including a dearth of affordable housing and the need for both walkability and commercial space that builds on indigenous cultural assets such as artisanship and arid-land farming. The University of New Mexico’s Indigenous Design + Planning Institute will join local institutions to support the workshop.
Athens, Ohio (population 23,832): Mt. Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society wants to preserve and reimagine the use of a century-old church built by free-born and formerly enslaved black artisans. In addition to architectural rehabilitation, the Preservation Society and its partners envision the place as an economic engine and as a hub for black history and culture.
It was a competitive application process, as 85 applications were received — a record for CIRD. New this year, 20 additional communities were chosen to take part in a peer-learning cohort and will attend a Rural Design Summit in West Virginia this October 9-11.
We are excited to be part of this amazing team and can’t wait to delve into the design challenges in the upcoming workshops and the peer-learning cohort.