Operating under the tagline “Fostering sustainable communities in the United States,” the Surdna Foundation has developed the Thriving Cultures program to support artists, architects, and designers working in community engaged design. For this quarter of 2014, the foundation has awarded eight grants totalling an outstanding $845,000 to organizations that “combine artistic and design practice with authentic engagement of neighborhood residents and community organizations.” This quarter’s grantees include the Kounkuey Design Initiative, Skid Row Housing Trust, the Center for Sustainable Development, Michael Singer Studio, the People’s Emergency Center, MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), Turner World Productions, and Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. Surdna’s Director of the Thriving Cultures Program Judilee Reed describes the investment in professional activities:
Surdna is supporting an approach to design that recasts the traditional top-down method to urban and regional planning, design, and architecture, to one that prioritizes an understanding of the way people live and work in their communities. This focus on professional practice is one that requires prioritizing partnerships based on trust and genuine dialogue that results in projects that are driven by a shared understanding of communities’ needs, values, and aspirations.
Click here to read more about the eight Community Engaged Design grant winners, online at Surdna.org.