Rural Voices

Rural Voices: Cultivating Citizen-led Design

Design for the public interest takes on many forms, from Main Street redevelopment to landscape architecture to historic preservation. In all the rural towns HAC has worked with and featured in this issue of Rural Voices, there is also an element of engaging the community to create a shared vision for all town residents. Partnering with local artists to paint a mural or build a coalition for a local creative economy not only brings more beauty into public spaces, it can draw economic investment to the town. Ultimately, local citizens are tapping design to create a sense of place-that’s what creative placemaking is all about.

HAC’s foray into rural design has only solidified our housing work, while broadening the horizons for us and for our partners. Moreover, HAC’s founding documents cite the need for thoughtful design that engages the low-income rural people and communities that we’ve long served. Support from the National Endowment for the Arts makes it possible to carry out this charge.

Cultivating Citizen-led Design (pdf)


Boosting the Rural Creative Economy
by Rep. Chellie Pingree

Congressional Arts Caucus Chair weighs in on what works in her home state – and beyond.


Arts, Placemaking, and Design Help Imagine a Bright Future
by Mary Anne Carter

In an interview with Rural Voices, National Endowment for the Arts’ Chair, Mary Anne Carter offers an overview of rural design’s history and advice on how underserved communities can persevere through difficult times.

Linking Rural Needs with America’s Architects
by Stephen Sugg and Alejandra Hardin

New American Institute of Architects working group helps to elevate rural architecture.

Cheyenne River Youth Project Carries on Creative Placemaking
by Julie Garreau

In an interview with Rural Voices, Julie Garreau of Cheyenne River Youth Project explains how the tribal nonprofit continues to serve its youth through the arts despite challenges caused by the pandemic.

Rural Studio and the Front Porch Initiative: What Good Design Can Afford
by Rusty Smith and Michelle Sidler

A college architectural program in the South describes their innovative approach to making housing affordable to local residents.

Hard Times
by Stephen Sugg and Alejandra Hardin

The rural design community and CIRD look ahead by looking back.



The Rural Design Process

Rural Design (JPG)

Rural Voices would like to hear what you have to say about one, or all, of these issues. Please comment on these stories by sending a tweet to #RuralVoices, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.