Our February issue features an interview with Charlie Brown, CEO of Context Partners, a design agency that leverages community building to grow brands and organizations.
Community design as a business model appears to be flourishing. One of the newest entrants on the scene is Design+Culture Lab, a Portland startup that zeroes in on the intersection between race, culture and place. The lab’s projects are eclectic. Led by energetic, 26-year-old owner Joy Alise Davis, the three-person team is helping craft Portland’s first African-American city plan, convene immigrant communities around the soon-to-be revamped Powell-Division corridor and draft neighborhood design guidelines aimed at preserving light in the Division street district.
“The way we are designing cities is changing,” Davis says. “We are no longer going to be architects planning in silos behind closed doors. We are going to have to engage the public. Sometimes communities are doing more designing than the trained experts.”