Community Programs

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Imagine With Us

The design process in the hands of conscientious community members can help address pressing issues, amplify stakeholder voices, and illuminate new paths forward. Are you working on innovative solutions for Rhode Island communities?

 
 

Our team of creative facilitators can assist with strategic planning around an organization's physical space, conceive solutions to small-scale design issues, or lead stakeholders in a conversation about growth and expansion. We facilitate Community Design Days that lead participants through fun, engaging activities that help to clarify priorities, build consensus, and inform a design direction. We also organize Community Build Days, and can help your community group tackle any small-scale construction project.

 
 

Featured Design Days

 
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United Way Housing for All Summit

How can Rhode Island's housing be accessing safe, healthy, and affordable for everyone? 

In March 2016, United Way of RI convened nearly 300 people from across Rhode Island to generate fresh approaches to the issues surrounding housing affordability in our state. United Way invited DownCity Design to design and facilitate a series of dynamic activities for the Housing for All Summit that guided participants through the process of generating innovative responses to the challenges that prevent all Rhode Islanders from accessing safe, healthy, affordable housing.

We invited participants to begin by mapping the issues that prevent Rhode Islanders from accessing quality housing they can afford, using colorful shapes to represent barriers, root causes, and emerging needs. The groups then identified sites for intervention and brainstormed new policies, new programs, and new initiatives to help remove barriers and create new opportunities for housing accessibility.

 

 
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RIDE EDUCATION exchange

How can Rhode Island schools help students identify and reach their personal goals?

The RI Department of Education commissioned DownCity Design to create the Education Exchange as an integral part of the participatory design process that RIDE used to guide the creation of a new strategic plan. The Education Exchange toolkit contained a series of activities used by 30 non-profits and community-based organizations across the state to engage groups of their constituents in conversations about the future of public education. Using the prompts and templates in the toolkits, facilitators guided participants through exercises that ask them to consider students’ pathways toward their future goals and imagine how schools might change to help them reach those goals.

Education Exchanges invited people to have meaningful conversations about priorities for education in RI while writing and drawing their ideas. Every participant was given an equal opportunity to share their thoughts, and all of the information collected was considered by RIDE’s community design team as they created the strategic plan that will guide RIDE’s work through the year 2020.

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PVDFEst Ideas

Cyborg Cities Conference Workshop

For the 2018 PVDFest Ideas conference, Cyborg Cities, DownCity Design facilitated an Urban Investigation workshop designed to generate questions and provoke ideas about the future of our cities. Participants are invited to think deeply about their own role in shaping our cities, embracing a spirit of open inquiry and collaborative investigation.

About PVDFest Ideas: Cyborg Cities

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new visions of urban modernity were celebrated at World’s Fairs in cities like Chicago (1893), St. Louis (1904), and New York (1939). These great pageants offered ideal venues for scientists to showcase innovative technologies; they also reflected ways that corporate America’s influence over the development of cities intensified over the course of the 20th century.

Boosters of the smart cities movement promise, like the futurists and midway barkers before them, that their visions for standardized, rational, and finely tuned urban spaces will help people adapt to today's greatest challenges, and yet, new net- worked technologies are highly susceptible to misuse and manipulation.

This conference brings together scholars, artists, and practitioners to consider what might be gained as well as what might be lost as cities become smarter.