Democratic Design


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.

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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