Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design Applications are Open!

From National Endowment for the Arts –

Deadline: Friday, April 21, 2023

The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Housing Assistance Council and with design support from To Be Done Studio, is excited to announce the Request for Applications to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). Rural communities are invited to submit applications to receive design support and technical assistance to host an on-site Local Design Workshop or participate in the Design Learning Cohort.

There are two opportunities to choose from:

  • Local Design Workshops, where at least four communities, working closely with design, arts, and planning professionals, will do a deep dive into a pressing design challenge that is impacting their community.
  • Design Learning Cohort, where at least 15 communities will participate in peer-to-peer engagement and virtual training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques. Resources will include technical assistance, one-on-one coaching, and optional in-person gatherings.

For more information check out the Request for Applications.

Important Dates

Apply Now


Examples of potential design challenges include but are not limited to:

  • Historic preservation and adaptive reuse of community buildings
  • Addressing building and public space accessibility for community members with a range of disabilities
  • Designing quality affordable housing that supports livable and equitable communities including housing and other amenities that support young people, families, and/or the elderly
  • and aging in place
  • Creating public or civic spaces that support and integrate cultural expression and local identity and/or play and active recreation
  • Developing recreational trails for mobility, active transportation, and economic development
  • Redesigning Main Street as a local street versus state highway/thruway
  • Designing spaces and places that improve access to healthy food and local food systems
  • Leveraging Main Street or local businesses for economic development, including branding, way-finding, façade improvements, and streetscape design
  • Integrating cultural identity into the built environment to drive heritage tourism

Example of a past project from Franklin, NH:

The workshop focused on creating a healthy and vibrant community and a reinvigorated downtown for all ages to enjoy. To do this, Franklin focused on the development of affordable and accessible housing for all ages, building quality public spaces, cleaning up the riverfront, coordinating downtown improvement, and encouraging new, diverse businesses to open. Franklin wanted to ensure the availability of affordable housing options for seniors so that they could comfortably age in place and preserve Franklin’s cultural heritage.