We are strategic planners + interdisciplinary collaborators who align civic and philanthropic agendas with community leadership, creatives, corporations, nonprofits, and government.
We believe that Community Development = Economic Development because when people can walk to work for a meaningful job they see their neighborhood differently, realign priorities to become more engaged in its future, and find voice to express loyalty and pride in the broader community.
We are civic curators who imaginatively and impactfully combine community and cultural assets.
We think like artists to revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods.
We are systems thinkers who believe that creativity is a competitive advantage.
Small cities and towns are each distinguished by demographics, history, industry, natural assets, and cultural resources. Each of us has a deep connection to a “home-town” and possess intuitive perceptions about the conditions that make our community whole. Some believe in the geography and ground of place; others regard it from perspectives of social and economic history. Many recognize the need for an emotional bond while others decipher these coordinates with demographic data. Whichever the inputs, it is shared appreciation and concern for place that bring us together in times of celebration and crisis — an intangible connection that evokes loyalty and spurs activism. Yet no two communities face identical apprehensions about their future. The optimal solution for each neighborhood, town, and city therefore varies by region, situation, and circumstance.
Communities thrive when they develop a shared language eclipsing individual dialect. Developing this contextual vocabulary bolsters and swells creative, economic, social, and physical capacity because it captures alternative viewpoints, especially those of non-linear thinkers. Like the flight attendant who authoritatively asserts the nearest exit may be behind you, we echo that sometimes unlikely and unfamiliar approaches to change — especially during early analysis and ideation — are the opportunities that produce dynamic directions.
Governments ask where should an incremental dollar be spent. Artists ask what would happen if a little more aggregate was added to the glass. Private developers wonder would it be possible to acquire the next block of buildings or the air rights.
We identify and design collaborative solutions across interests for economic vitality, social harmony, and aesthetic places. We invest where the slope of the problem is the steepest because that yields the highest return, maximizes community benefit, and improves civic health and well-being.
We create strategic design alliances and cross-current partnerships to reach beyond goals and policies to grow stronger communities. Artists are always engaged in our process because they are highly trained thinkers, visionaries, and problem-solvers; America’s cities and towns desperately need their imagination to enhance well-being, pride, and shared identity. Civic discussions therefore deserve the artist’s voice however disorderly and strange the exchange may be because creative thinkers expand possibility to help realize civic ambition. Although uncertainty is endemic when change is proposed, when we are prepared to say yes, and… rather than no... the outcomes produced will be positively impactful!