Democratic Design – Next City

Community Engaged Design in America

Democratic Design

Neighborhood Funders Group

In this brief yet robust report, Michael Rios, PhD, an associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental design at the University of California, Davis, summarizes the content from a March 2015 convening that focused on the intersection between Neighborhood Funders Group’s concept of “democratic community development” and Surdna’s frame around community engaged design (CED). Both organizations, one a private philanthropy and the other an affinity group of grant-making institutions, prioritize support for low-income communities and communities of color to be at the center of design and development decisions throughout the United States. If you’re new to this field, this report provides a great history and overview of key principles that define community engaged design, discusses real-world projects that have successfully shifted power to the benefit of low-income communities and communities of color, and reflects on barriers to the mainstreaming of CED as common development practice.

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Organizations Referenced

Neighborhood Funders Group, Surdna Foundation, Hester Street Collaborative, The POINT CDC, Annie E. Casey Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Artplace America

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