Features

By the time wildfires had finished tearing through Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding region in late 2016, 17,000 acres had burned, 2,000 buildings had been damaged or destroyed, nearly 200 people had been injured, and 14 people had died. Taken together, the fires were one of...
When the New Cornelia copper mine shut in 1985, the tiny town of Ajo, Arizona, became even tinier. Located 40 miles north of Mexico in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Ajo's population registered a scant 2,919 people in the 1990 census, a drop of roughly 40 percent from a decade prior. Employment...
Like their urban counterparts, rural communities are distinct from one another, with their own assets, challenges, histories, and visions for a better future. As such, their community design—and design challenges—are equally diverse, with solutions taking shape in vast and varied ways. The National...
In times of crisis, it is human nature to want to help. Where can designers be most effective? How do we put our skills to use in the right context, at the right time? COVID-19 is a medical crisis, certainly, but it’s also a psychological, economic, and logistical crisis. Without a vaccine on the...
The start of a new year is always a time to reflect on growth and evolution, as well as a time to set intentions for how to move forward. If there’s one thing we collectively tend to feel during this process, it’s that change is hard. This is just as true professionally as it is personally, and...
An architect draws
Like their urban counterparts, rural communities are distinct from one another, with their own assets, challenges, histories, and visions for a better future. As such, their community design—and design challenges—are...
“When Savannah tells the story of young people, it tells the wrong story; it's almost always about crime and gun violence,” said Dare Dukes, executive director of Deep Center , a creative writing and arts center in Savannah, Georgia, that recently received one of 1,114 new NEA grants . This story,...
In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts launched Our Town, a grant program that invests in projects that bring together diverse community partners to integrate the arts and culture into community revitalization work—a practice known as creative placemaking . Since then, more than 500 projects...
Art Talk with Public Artist Carolyn Lewenberg In the spring of 2017, Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) hired Carolyn Lewenberg as its first artist-in-residence. For the next 18 months, Lewenberg navigated the agency’s various departments—which range from public safety to clean...
“What… is an old black doctor doing wheatpasting images of Navajo people along the roadside on the reservation?” According to a blog post Dr. Chip Thomas wrote last year, that’s the question he is asked most frequently. To be fair, it’s a valid question. The answer, in many ways, revolves around...

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