I spent much of 2011 helping the Community Design Collaborative to create a book in celebration of the organization’s 20th anniversary. The result is LEVERAGE: Strengthening Neighborhoods though Design, published in September and now available at the AIA Bookstore in Philly (1218 Arch St.) as well as through Distributed Art Publishers and Amazon.com.
LEVERAGE showcases 20 projects that reflect the strong work the Collaborative has done over the past two decades to help neighborhoods and organizations transform themselves in three dimensions, through planning and design services that are entirely pro bono. A series of essays offer national and local perspectives on the impact the organization has made through this good work.
The Collaborative offers valuable guidance for clients that are often too busy doing good work to step outside and process it in a way that enables others to see the impact. In addition to providing design services, the Collaborative serves as a “translator” for its clients—just as I sometimes function as one; they teach clients, who are generally nonprofits, how to “speak the language” through planning documents that are essential tools in fundraising and other growth opportunities. Similarly, when I help clients to communicate effectively with their audiences, this sometimes means translating what they do into writing that’s effective for marketing or other purposes that lay outside their area of expertise.
I’m proud of the way that, together, we were able to showcase the work of the Collaborative.