The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts that enhances rural communities and economies through a collaborative design process. From 2011 to 2019, Project for Public Spaces managed the Institute. Over the course of that time, the team worked with 19 small communities of 50,000 residents or fewer to build capacity and turn locals' ideas into comprehensive design visions through collaborative design workshops, webinars, and other capacity-building resources.
With support from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, CIRD workshops bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government to develop actionable solutions to the community's pressing design challenges.
While no longer led by Project for Public Spaces, the Institute continues to support placemaking in rural communities. Resources can be found at www.rural-design.org.
A workshop in Las Vegas, New Mexico, hosted by the Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance, drew upon the community's knowledge to drive the design and planning of the town's future river park. By empowering independent voices through active listening, members of the town worked toward a foundation of communal trust and common purpose.
With a great deal of attention on the park's environmental dimension, the Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance sought the help of CIRD to make the connection between the natural, social, and physical design dimensions of the project. Project for Public Spaces staff partnered with a creative team of other professionals to establish a concept for the future park design and actionable next steps to showcase the river as a place that celebrates the diversity of the Las Vegas community. The community's vision quickly became clear: the Gallinas River Park will serve as a place that will nurture the relationship between the river and its people, now and for generations to come.
Place Evaluation & User Analysis
Community Engagement & Visioning
Place Plans & Design
Lighter, Quicker, & Cheaper
Training & Capacity Building