- Overview & Purposes
- Defining Community Vitality
- Building Community Capacity: Diagnosis & Roles
- Building Community Capacity
- Purposeful Activities
- Systems Planning & Network Analysis
- Principles of Community Vitality
- Asset-Based Community Development
- Community Placemaking & Community Design Charrette
- Criminal Background Checks
- Mandated Reporter Training
- Awards, Publications, & Presentations
Principles and Practice of Community Placemaking
This priority area utilizes wide-ranging strategies related to Principles and Practices of Community Placemaking, and partners with a wide variety of external groups such as the American Planning Association, American Institute of Architects, the Local Government Institute, National Park Service, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Arts Wisconsin, UW-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration, and a number of municipal, county and tribal governments. Although its primary outreach focus is Design Wisconsin (a community design charrette program), the Signature Effort holds a biennial in-service, individual members conduct imageability mapping, placemaking training and assessments, and community marketing and branding initiatives.
Have you ever lived in or been a visitor to a community that seems especially vibrant, or one that has a strong sense of place? The Community Vitality & Placemaking Signature Effort helps communities pursue a shared vision of place that fosters vibrant, resilient and inclusive communities. The team offers involved large-scale programs, such as Design Wisconsin, alongside smaller-term trainings for community development professionals and consultations with individuals communities.
Overview & Purpose
The number and complexity of issues confronting local governments, community organizations, and networks are rapidly increasing. There are significant differences in the capacity of local groups to deal with these issues and develop effective policies and efficiently manage resources. UW-Extension colleagues have concluded that all fields related to the development of community (broadly speaking) have undergone dramatic changes in the last 40 years. Community structures and organizations now need to know how to “play the game” and develop the “necessary expertise” to address community needs and build community capacity. All program areas of UW-Extension are positioned to lead processes and provide resources to our vast network of community networks in need of our assistance.
Defining Community Vitality
The purpose of defining community vitality is to provide a shared understanding that allows us the ability to identify, measure, and evaluate the dynamics that define the community itself. After reviewing scholarly work, the UW Extension Community Vitality & Placemaking Team offers the following:
Community Vitality is defined as the community’s collective capacity to respond to change with an enhanced level of participation (process or pursuit of) with aspirations for a healthy and productive community (an outcome or shared vision of success). Shortly speaking, community vitality is the people‘s pursuit of a shared vision of a place, or CV=P3.
Building Community Capacity: Diagnosis & Roles
Effective diagnosis is the first critical element in community capacity building. An effective diagnosis is the cornerstone of effective purpose-based action. Determining which purposeful activity or activities to pursue through either quantitative or qualitative assessment of the community needs and the scope of the effort needed to achieve desired outcomes requires four key principles: considering the unique characteristics of the community, how the issue uniquely manifests itself in the community; using a limited amount of information focused more on developing solutions than analyzing the issue or problem; considering all the functional components of the community system necessary to achieve the desired outcomes and focusing on community strengths, or assets, when choosing from potential purposeful activities to pursue.
An Extension professional’s response to a diagnosis and her role in the community capacity-building effort will be determined by the purposeful activity or activities identified and the necessary functions to be performed when pursuing that activity. Most often, Extension professionals will be responsible for performing the primary functions associated with each purposeful activity and assisting the community in identifying secondary roles and community members to fill those secondary roles.
Community Capacity Building: Diagnosis & Roles
Case Study: Sleepy Falls, WI
Sleepy Falls, WI is a mid‐sized town in an urbanizing Wisconsin county. Sleepy Falls lies in a fertile valley with a spring‐fed lake, state‐sponsored bike trail, and a championship golf course which in the winter converts to a cross‐country ski venue. The Sleepy Falls population numbers about 23,000 people with about 8,000 families and 3,000 youth. Sleepy Falls was hit hard by the 2008 economic recession because most of the private sector economic base is concentrated in manufacturing, housing and retail small business. Sleepy Falls is the home to one of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers and the county boasts over $1B in agricultural production and related economic activity. Tourism revenues began to rebound in 2013 after 16 straight quarters of decline. The largest employers in Sleepy Falls are the local hospital and school district. Both the hospital and school district are feeling financial pressure due to increased needs and fewer resources.
Sleepy Falls families pride themselves on their resiliency, but the economic downturn, housing foreclosures, and related mental health concerns have taken their toll on the community. The growing population of senior citizens is worried about their health care and ability to remain living in their community. Sleepy Falls youth are disillusioned at their future prospects and most can’t wait to leave the community for a better life in the Twin Cies or Chicago. The only thing that keeps most youth going is the wicked fast dsl/wireless speeds at the local coffee shop and their ability to hang out in virtual environments and play massive online multiplayer games. Sleepy Falls High tech club won the Apple award last year for most innovative app creation and scored second place for their robotic drone in an Amazon.com STEM contest. Most Sleepy Falls adults commute 25 miles or more to work each day in the larger cies to their east and west. Given its proximity to the local interstate highway, Sleepy Falls saw an influx of upper-middle-class professionals during the housing boom. After the 2008 recession, there now exists a significant divide in socio‐economic status among many Sleepy Falls neighborhoods.
Local Ag producers are enjoying record high milk prices and expanding their livestock operations to take advantage of the economies of scale. Sleepy Falls’ cash grain operations can’t produce enough bushels of soybeans and corn due to a severe drought in Nebraska and Iowa. Local producers are concerned about their future independence as markets have become increasingly integrated both vertically and horizontally. Many local residents are concerned about the environmental effects of these large farm operations. Some newer Sleepy Falls residents would prefer local zoning ordinances that place more restrictions on agricultural land and its use. Agricultural producers and others in the community have been advocating for some time now for farmland preservation regulations.
The local chamber director and her business roundtable are concerned about the loss of manufacturing jobs and the collapsed housing market. Yet, last week an entrepreneur and accredited microbrewer toured the community as she was considering Sleepy Falls for a brewery and bottling operation. There is some fear the bicycle manufacturer will relocate to Georgia because of more favorable tax structures and a highly trained workforce. The mayor and city council have been squabbling about how to address the falling property and sales tax revenues given the state-imposed levy limits on municipal governments.
City leaders are perplexed about how to address the older adult needs and grow the local economy with such limited resources. Nonprofit organizations in the community are struggling to raise funds to meet the growing needs of individuals and families in the community. A growing malaise has fallen over the community even though they have many assets.
Local leaders approach the Extension office in the county because they’d like to re‐engage the community in positive change and move the community forward. They’ve heard about how a neighboring community, Werocaroca (We Rocka Rocka), engaged in a visioning process to unite their residents and create a plan for the community’s future. Sleepy Falls leaders figure if the Werocaroca community can do it, so can they, b’gosh! As the community team, you are putting together a diagnosis plan and meeting with community leaders tomorrow night.
- How does this opportunity align with local community vitality and your professional plan of work and/or local needs assessment?
- How would you approach the diagnosis process?
- What assumptions might you or the leaders make? How might those assumptions lead to either an accurate or inaccurate diagnosis?
Diagnosis Methods & Principles:
- What additional information might be needed?
- How would you gather it?
- What are critical principles to incorporate as part of the diagnosis?
Scope of the Effort, Types of Approaches, and Roles:
- What scope or level of community capacity building might take place?
- How many purposeful approaches might be needed?
- What role(s) would Extension agents play?
- What role(s) would community members play?
Written by Kathleen Eisenmann and Nathan Sandwick
Building Community Capacity
This segment provides an overview of UW Extension-based resources on foundational concepts for transforming communities and building community capacity. This segment synthesizes existing research on definitions of community, community development, and community transformation. A model for conceptualizing community capacity is described and includes three interdependent elements: community environment (the setting or place for vitality to occur), community structures (the people as the means for advancing positive change), and purpose-based actions (the processes used by people to pursue the desired end-state). A distinction is made between development in the community (outcomes in the setting or place) and development of the community (enhancements of people and organizations). This segment has been piloted, peer-reviewed and extensively used by experienced community development professionals in Wisconsin. This session is foundational for enhancing knowledge and practice skills for leading change, building community capacity, and laying out a roadmap for helping communities move toward vitality.
- Community Transformation
- Defining “community”
- Community Capacity Model
- Interactive exercises during presentation
This segment describes UW Extension resources about primary processes for purpose-based action. Five fundamental purposeful activities are presented including learning, research, planning, and design, operating and supervising, and evaluation. Appropriate application of research-based processes enables delivery of these targeted approaches as a specific response or combined response. Knowledge of these five approaches and associated skills, tools, and roles bolster the effectiveness of change agents and ultimately help communities achieve their intended purposes. Complex community transformation (called Transformational Education by UW Extension) requires the integration of high-end process (purposeful activities) and high-end content and community knowledge. This segment provides an in-depth review of key aspects of purpose-based action with an emphasis on the primary activities used by community development professionals.
- Examples of programs and concepts
- Five factors of each purposeful activity
- Interactive exercises during presentation
Familiar and Common Purposeful Activities
1. Assure self-preservation and survival of the species
2. Operating/Supervising an existing System
- Team building (technique)
- Real Colors (tool)
- Leadership Development (approach)
- Conflict Management (skill, approach)
- Shared Leadership (skill, approach)
- Creating a Shared Vision/Shared purpose (technique, approach)
- Mission, Vision, Values (technique, approach)
3. Planning and Design – creating or re-designing a ‘situation-specific’ solution
- Strategic Planning (approach)
- Systems Planning, ABCD (approach)
- Systems Thinking (skill, approach)
- Problem Diagnosis: using mental models, reframing issues, (skill, approach)
- Appreciative Inquiry (technique)
- World Café (technique)
- Community visioning/backcasting
4. Search for Generalizations and Causes (Research)
- Community Based Research (approach)
- CEDPI (tool)
- COAT (organizational assessment) (tool)
- Field plots (technique)
- Community surveys (tools)
- Market analysis (technique)
- Focus Groups (tool, technique)
- Causal Looping (skill, tool)
5. Evaluate the performance of solutions or other activities
- Program evaluations (pre-post tests etc) (tools)
- Adaptive management (approach)
- Plan-Do-Check-Act (technique)
- Causal Looping (skill, tool)
- Outcomes measurements/indicators (tool)
- Pilot projects (technique)
6. Gain Skills and knowledge (learn)
- Peer Learning (tool)
- Study circles (technique)
- Participatory learning techniques and processes (technique)
- Workshops/conferences (tools)
- Public policy education (usually in conjunction with a P&D process) (approach)
- Asking purposeful questions (approach)
- Hands-on/scenario-based learning (tool, technique)
- Adult Learning Theory (method)
7. Experience Leisure – Fill in your favorite activity here!
Systems Planning & Network Analysis
A systems approach is one of the critical elements to effective community capacity building. It is a collaborative effort to analyze, define, and design a solution for a community issue, opportunity, or challenge. It is most effective because community level issues, opportunities or challenges are complex in their nature and rely on multiple sectors with interdependencies, thus requiring a systemic solution. It is a holistic, rather than a reductionist, approach which provides the community with an opportunity to build on its unique strengths in a focused way. Increasingly, community networks are either interim or permanent structures used to engage in community capacity building because they rely on social capital to achieve more synergistically than individual community members or organizations can do alone. This segment of the training provides:
- An introduction to System Planning
- An introduction to Network Analysis: Concepts and Practice
- Practice activity
The Role of Systems Planning & Networks in Community Capacity Building
Key Principles of Systems Planning
Every issue or problem manifests itself in an environment in unique ways. For example, heroin use may be a problem across the state of Wisconsin, but the problem is different in Marinette County than Jefferson County for reasons unique to each environment. The problem may also be different in Lake Mills than Watertown or Fort Atkinson. Any viable solution needs to take into consideration these unique qualities or it won’t work.
Too often groups rely on empirical evidence to solve complex problems. The groups engage in data gathering in an attempt to “know everything” about the problem. The underlying assumption is that once you know everything, the solution will be obvious. Most of the time this doesn’t work with complex problems because data is always incomplete and time-bound. It is more effective to spend time gathering data that will help create solutions, not analyze problems. The goal is to search out purposeful information that contributes to the knowledge about and understanding of the solutions.
Complex problems are more often successfully solved when the solutions involve each part of the systems involved. Heroin use isn’t going to be reduced by just having law enforcement arrest more people without a similar response from the legal system and the human services system. The problem is too complex and the interdependencies of the systems require multiple actors to be involved from their sector to address it.
Holistic vs. Reductionist Approach to Planning
|Holistic Solution Creation||Reductionist Problem‐Solving|
|Employs many mental models; intuitive, analytical, creative||Employs rational, empirical thought processes|
|Future-oriented; focus on creating solutions||Past oriented; focus on solving each problem|
|Seeks out broad context to understand a problem and its potential solutions||Limits context to the problem|
|Aims to find unique ideas that can create a solution that endures over time||Aims to find a single, immediate solution that “fixes” the problem|
|Recognizes that information is soft||Emphasizes hard data|
|Initially treats each problem situation as unique||Seeks similarities with other problems|
|Puts solutions in a systems framework, recognizing interdependencies with other systems||Specifies changes only in terms of the parts of the problem|
Key Phases of Systems Planning
Key People Involvement
Who is involved or affected by the issue, opportunity, or challenge; who is best qualified to be part of the solution design and decision-making process; and who has the talents and resources needed to implement and maintain the possible solutions.
Identify a Focused Purpose
It’s important to identify a purpose that reflects the ultimate needs, desires, intentions of the issue and its larger context.
Identifying the Ideal Solution
Focuses on identifying the longer-term solutions rather than “quick fixes”. Seek out the solutions that need to be achieved in the future rather than just focused on the immediate issue.
Identifying the Living Solution
What ideas can we come up with today that will move us further down the road to our ideal solution in a way that is modifiable as our community environment continues to change? What are the functional components of such a system?
The Effect of Technology on Networks
Lower Transactional Costs
Social media builds social capital quickly because social media lower transactional costs. People are easy to find online and on many channels.
- Talk is cheap
- Serendipity is enhanced online
- Reciprocity is incredibly easy
- Cost of failure is lower
Open System Infrastructure
Social media break down additional transactional costs because organizations are no longer necessary to build community capacity – social media allows individuals to build amazing amounts of social capital without formal structures and to generate crowdsourcing.
- Arab Spring was started in Egypt by a Twitter user Crowd Sourcing: crowd wisdom; crowd creation; crowd voting; crowdfunding.
- Social media create a “publish-then-filter” system pattern
- Open system infrastructure uses the “power law of distribution” to increase the durability of successful community engagement strategies
Key Components of a Network
Individuals/Organizations comprising the network
Connections or links between Nodes that form communication/information pathways. Can be weak or strong.
Groups of Nodes held together with very strong Ties.
Nodes with multiple Ties to Clusters. Sometimes indicate a “network weaver”
Nodes on the edge of the network. Most often loosely tied or linked to the rest of the network. May function as links to other networks.
Key Node is responsible for building and maintaining the network. Functions include mentoring others on network building.
Network Mapping Exercise
Begin by thinking about either a formal or informal network you are currently working with or have worked within the past. On a piece of paper, draw out the network noting the components (nodes, hubs, clusters, etc). Draw in the connections between each member of the network. Consider the following as you examine your drawing:
- Are the right connections in place? Are key connections missing?
- Who are the key community leaders? How are they represented in the network?
- Who are the experts in process, planning and practice?
- Who are the mentors others seek out for advice?
- Who are the innovators? How are ideas shared and acted upon?
- What are the networks strengths? How could the network improve?
- How well is the network working together now? How could it be more effective in the future?
As a Dyad
Share your reflections with your partner. What insights did you glean from mapping the network? How could you use a similar exercise in your work?
Share your reflections with the larger group? When would network mapping work well? When wouldn’t it work? What prerequisites might need to be in place?
Written by Kathleen Eisenmann and Joshua Clements
Principles of Community Vitality
This segment provides a research-based review of concepts and definitions of community vitality, community development, community economic development and economic development. Definitions from prominent community development professionals are presented. A “white paper” concludes with a summary of selected definitions which are compared to provide evidence of the many similarities and subtle differences in the definition of these important concepts. A working definition of community vitality is provided:
Community Vitality-Defined as the community’s collective capacity to respond to change with an enhanced level of participation (a process) with aspirations for a healthy and productive community (an outcome or vision of success).
This segment recognizes that the concept of community vitality is an evolving notion subject to wide-ranging interpretation. Interactive exercises to share perspectives and contribute to a UW Extension definition and model of community vitality are part of this segment. It builds on the model for capacity building from Segment 1.
Asset-based Community Development
This segment explains the fundamentals of Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) in the context of building and sustaining the vitality of communities. It explores the asset-based, internally focused and relationship driven principles of ABCD. It describes how to identify individual, organizational and institutional community assets and demonstrates how to engage these community assets in a process to create vital and sustainable communities. A case study will be shared detailing how the ABCD principles and approaches were utilized in a Wisconsin community. This section also explores related theories for implementing asset-based community development initiatives such as the community capital framework, action research and change theory.
Community Placemaking & Community Design Charrette
This segment shares the content and application of curriculum developed by the University of Wisconsin-Extension on Principles of Community Placemaking. Definitions of place, place identity and placemaking are provided. An overview describes how these principles have been presented, integrated and applied in community development practices throughout Wisconsin. Practitioners will see how photographic imagery supports research-based principles about “best practices” of community design. Examples for using this curriculum are provided from dynamic community visioning processes, adaptations of “First Impressions Community Assessment Programs” and other efforts to raise the capacity of aspiring citizen planners. This segment describes “off-the-shelf” resources that have been and can be used by community development professionals in their programming. These resources have been used in previous UW Extension in-service training workshops, and the scholarship has been shared widely (including the National Association of Community Development Professionals-NACDEP in 2011).
Placemaking refers to the process of people coming together to discover and express the unique and desired characteristics of their community. We have a long history of working with communities through this process of bringing people together to make their community special. Explore our educational programming and research.
Design Wisconsin, a core part of the Community Vitality & Placemaking Signature Effort, is a placemaking program that brings a multi-disciplinary team of 18-24 volunteers to a community in order to help that community discover a shared vision of the future. Design Wisconsin is modeled after the Community Design Charrette developed by the Minnesota Design Team.
Theory and Practice of Community Design Charrette
This segment shares the content and application of curriculum developed by the University of Wisconsin-Extension on Theory and Practice of Community Design Charrette. Community Design Charrettes are high-energy community planning activities that concentrate public involvement into a 3-day period (the charrettee) that generates energy and momentum needed for implementation.
The Community Design Charrette is based on the Minnesota Design Team model that since 1983, has assisted more than 120 rural communities discover their shared visions for the future. During the three-day charrette, a team of 12-20 volunteer planning and design professionals live and work with a community to collaboratively develop short-, medium-, and long-term visions. A “workbook” is used to help guide the community 6-8 months prior to the charrette with planning and logistical activities designed to prepare the community for the charrette and for implementation.
Community Design Charrette Process
Unlike a traditional strategic planning process, the community design charrette approach concentrates public engagement into a 3-day event. The event or “visit” consists of a flurry of interactive activities that encourage the exchange of ideas while generating the energy needed for implementation. Like a traditional strategic planning process, the community design charrette involves months of preparation and deliberation involving key stakeholders. Contrary to public opinion, the community design charrette process involves just as much time and effort as a traditional process and merely projects the illusion that it is quick, fun, and simple. This illusion is by design and is critical to successful public participation and implementation. The basic steps o the process is illustrated in the slide show below.
A Typical Timeline
- Community Develops a Community Leadership Team
- Community Leadership Team downloads Design Wisconsin Team Workbook and completes application exercises (at least 1 month’s worth of work)
- Community Applies for a Design Wisconsin program to UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team
UW Extension Community Vitality & Placemaking Team reviews the application and schedules a site visit with the Community Leadership Team and local UW-Extension Educator
- UW Extension Community Vitality & Placemaking Team:
- A design team of volunteer planning and design professionals, engineers, and scientists, along with UW faculty and students is assembled
- A community profile is generated to provide background information to team members prior to the “Visit”
- Community Leadership Team & local UW-Extension Educator:
- Half of the fee is paid to the UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team prior to the assembly of the team, the other half is paid 1 week prior to the “Visit”
- Preparations for the “Visit” begin with guidance from the local UW-Extension Educator
- Thursday, 7-9 PM: Team members meet Community Leadership Team and host families
- Friday, 9 AM – noon: Community presentations to team members
- Friday, noon – 1:30: Working lunches with 3-4 different community groups
- Friday 1:30 PM: Bus/walking tour of the community
- Friday 3:30 PM: Team meeting to prepare for Town Meeting
- Friday 6 PM: Community supper
- Friday 7 PM: Town Meeting
- Saturday 8 AM: Team meeting and work session.
- Saturday noon: Team working lunch.
- Saturday 4 PM: Team meeting of presenters.
- Saturday 5 PM: Team working supper.
- Saturday 6 PM: Team pin-ups and photographing for community presentation.
- Saturday 7 PM: Team presentation to the community.
- UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team:
- Evaluation and debriefing
- Slideshow and drawings distributed to community and team members
- Summary report of the “Visit” is generated and distributed to community and team members
- Community Leadership Team & local UW-Extension Educator:
- Implementation/action groups begin working on outcomes from the “Visit”
- UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team meets with Community Leadership Team and local UW-Extension Educator to assess impacts and collect feedback.
UW-Extension Pilot Program: Grantsburg, WI
In April of 2014, the University of Wisconsin Extension partnered with the National Park Service, the University of Minnesota Center for Rural Design, and the Minnesota Design Team of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Institute of Architects to conduct a Community Design Charrette in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. The team included architects, landscape architects and planners from Wisconsin and Minnesota along with Community Resource Development educators from the University of Wisconsin Extension’s Community Vitality & Placemaking Team. See full report.
Community Design Impacts (6 months later…)
Every community has different placemaking issues and opportunities that vary in scale and intensity. The Community Vitality + Placemaking Team works with local UW-Extension Educators and communities to diagnose and craft an appropriate placemaking response. Typically, responses are developed to address 3 different scales.
Community (3-day charrette): In some cases, a 3-day charrette is selected because it addresses community-wide issues in a holistic approach. A multi-disciplinary team of 20 professionals stays with host families from Thursday thru Saturday. The team of architects, landscape architects, planners, economic developers, engineers, artists, etc. works with the community to discover a shared vision of the future as well as some methods to realize that vision. Prior to the charrette, a community-wide survey, a youth survey, a teen S.W.O.T. analysis, a market analysis, and demographic analysis are conducted. During the charrette, public participation includes a half-day battery of community presentations, 3 focus groups, site tours, and a community-wide workshop. Fee: $5,000 + team housing and meals.
Area/Neighborhood (1.5-day charrette): Communities who want to target a specific area or neighborhood may not need to devote resources towards a 3-day charrette. In these cases, UW-Extension will work with the community to bring a team of 5-10 professional volunteers. Prior to the charrette, a community-wide survey, a youth survey, and market analysis are conducted. During the charrette, public participation is limited to a visioning session with a focus group and site tours. Fee: $2,500 + team housing and meals.
Site-Specific (half-day charrette): Instances in which the community has identified a singular site for visioning, a small 2-3 person team facilitates a half-day charrette with a local stakeholder group. Prior to the visit, a local UW-Extension Educator conducts a visioning session with those stakeholders. During the charrette, public participation is limited to a half-day workshop with the stakeholder group to develop design alternatives. Fee: $1,000
Design Wisconsin: Your Community’s Design Team
The University of Wisconsin-Extension provides communities with a variety of resources to help them make meaningful decisions about their future. The Design Wisconsin program is an opportunity to bring a team of planning and design professionals into your community to help you discover the short-, medium-, and long-range visions of your future.
Unlike a traditional strategic planning process, the Design Wisconsin approach concentrates public participation into a community design charrette or “visit”. The visit consists of a flurry of interactive activities that encourage the exchange of ideas while generating the energy needed for implementation. Like a traditional strategic planning process, the visit involves months of preparation and deliberation involving key stakeholders. For the average community participant, the process is often observed as being quick, fun, and simple. This illusion is critical as it creates the energy and momentum necessary for implementing the ideas generated by the visit.
Click here to learn a little about the theory behind the process.
To apply for a visit, please contact us. They will guide you through the application process, build community capacity for the visit, and assist with implementation. The Minnesota Design Team has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Extension to develop a workbook to be used for the community design visit.
Design Wisconsin Team Workbook
Please work with your local UW-Extension educator to complete and submit the application packet in the Workbook to:
Todd W. Johnson, Land Use + Community Development Specialist
University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UW-Extension)
315 Agriculture Science
410 S. 3rd Street
River Falls, WI 54022
(715) 425-3941 office
There is a fee for the Design Wisconsin program. The fee varies depending on the scale of the visit (see 9.2 Scale). The money is used for travel expenses and materials. Communities are encouraged to raise the funds from a variety of sources to help build a broad base of support. In addition to the fee, communities are expected to promote the visit, provide working and presentation spaces, and arrange for local transportation, food, and housing for the volunteers. The Community Vitality + Placemaking Team partners with local leaders and UW-Extension educators to coordinate all pre-visit activities to assure a successful program.
Design Wisconsin: Outputs & Impacts
The Design Wisconsin Team program provides communities with a Summary Report that documents the process and outputs. In some cases, short videos were created to demonstrate the process as well as its impacts. You may view and download past Summary Reports, videos, and other UW work built upon the Design Wisconsin program below:
|Community||Summary Report||Video||Follow-Up Work & Awards|
|Grantsburg (2014)||Summary Report||Grantsburg (YouTube)|
|Baileys Harbor (2015)||Summary Report||Baileys Harbor (YouTube)|
|Iron County Regional Trail (2016)||Summary Report||
|Reedsburg (2017)||Summary Report|
|Princeton (2017)||Summary Report|
|Kewaunee (2018)||Summary Report||Kewaunee (YouTube)|
|Ellsworth (2018)||Summary Report|
|Mineral Point (2019)||Summary Report|
|Three Lakes (2020)||Summary Report|
|Amery (2021)||stay tuned|
|Hustisford (2022)||stay tuned|
Design Wisconsin Team Volunteers
Design Wisconsin is a community placemaking program offered to communities across Wisconsin. The purpose of the program is to help communities discover their shared vision of the future using a 3-day charrette modeled from the Minnesota Design Team. The process relies on the professional expertise of volunteers who donate their time, talent, and passion in areas of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, economic development, art, as well as the natural and social sciences. Each multi-disciplinary team of 18-24 volunteers includes members from the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Community Vitality + Placemaking Team as well. Those interested in volunteering with Design Wisconsin should contact Todd Johnson, Land Use + Community Development Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (715) 425-3941 office, (715) 821-9217 mobile.
Those selected to participate in a Design Wisconsin program will be required to review and complete the following:
- Volunteer Position Description should be reviewed prior to participation in Design Wisconsin.
- Volunteer Behavior Expectations online form must be signed and submitted to the UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team prior to acceptance to the program.
- Background Check: As a University of Wisconsin-Extension Design Wisconsin team member, you are engaged with the community in many different ways, work alongside a variety of different people, and often in unsupervised situations. As a UW-Extension Volunteer you are also a representative of the UW-System. In accordance with Regent Policy Document 20-19 all staff and volunteers working in a “position of trust” are required to complete a criminal background check. Once you have agreed to participate in Design Wisconsin, you will be contacted by the University of Wisconsin to initiate the background check process.
Criminal Background Checks
As a University of Wisconsin-Extension Design Wisconsin team member you are engaged in communities in many different ways, work alongside a variety of different people, and often in unsupervised situations. As a UW-Extension volunteer you are also a representative of the UW-System. In accordance with Regent Policy Document 20-19 all staff and volunteers working in a “position of trust”, like Design Wisconsin team members, are required to complete a criminal background check.
Q: Does everyone have to do this?
A: Yes, in June, 2017, UW Colleges and UW-Extension Human Resources indicated all volunteers must complete a CBC via GIS. There are no exemptions for age or who you might work with — everyone has to do this.
Q: I just had the background check done in 2016. Why do I have to do it again?
A. The procedure used prior to 2017 was not in compliance with Regent Policy #20-19, so unfortunately it has to be redone.
Q: I had a background check done recently by my employer/municipality/non-profit/other organization, so can’t you just accept that?
A: The CBC must be conducted by UW-Extension Human Resources. They do the CBCs for 4-H and UW-Extension employees, so if you had it done for one of those please let us know and we will ask HR for your record number so you won’t have to do it again.
Q: My link expired before I got to use it – will I be kicked out of the Design Wisconsin program?
A: Don’t panic, you will have another chance, as the message will be sent again if you missed it for whatever reason.
Q: I tried to provide the information requested, but am not sure it went through or had other problems with my computer.
A: GIS indicates that their system works best in Internet Explorer and Chrome, so if you used a different browser you may wish to try one of these instead. For more specific questions, you can reply to the email you received from Angela Schultz explaining the process and she may be able to help resolve your problem or confirm that everything went through.
Q: Why do I have to provide my Social Security Number (SSN), can’t they take my driver’s license or passport number instead?
A: The SSN is required for a SSN Trace to authenticate the individual’s information and generates a list of addresses the applicant has lived at for the last seven years; as part of the trace, GIS and UW-Extension may verify that the SSN is valid and appropriately assigned to the applicant. UW-Extension staff does not collect social security numbers for background checks, and by asking each volunteer to enter their individual information directly into GIS’s secure website, we reduce the flow of your private information, which lessens the risk of exposure and offers the best protection available.
Q: I have been told repeatedly to never to give out personally identifiable or sensitive information when the request for this information comes via email. I don’t want to risk identity theft. Why should I do this now?
A: You should not give out any personal information via an unsolicited email.
- The email from GIS is anticipated and requested by UW-Extension.
- You are right to be concerned about protecting your information.
- We do understand your concerns; this is why each individual email is tailored to a specific recipient and includes first name, last name and email address.
- Your name and email address were entered into GIS’s system by Angela Schultz using her secure, private GIS-authorized account.
Q: Are you sure this GIS website is safe and secure? How do you know?
A: The GIS website is as secure as technologically possible. Additional information from GIS regarding their privacy protection practices is available here: http://www.geninfo.com/privacy.asp. UW-Extension Central IT Services management agrees that the GIS site is safe to use.
Q: I will not complete the criminal background check on the GIS website because I don’t think it’s safe. What can I do?
A: There is an option for a paper-based process. Please note that the information on the paper copy will be entered by staff in the GIS website. Please contact your county UW-Extension Staff for more information.
Q: I do not want to complete this CBC or provide my Social Security Number (SSN).
A: UW-Extension is required by policy of the UW Board of Regents to ensure that every employee and volunteer has passed a criminal background check. Anyone not completing the check will not be allowed to volunteer for UW-Extension. There are no exceptions.
Mandated Reporter Training
With the implementation of Executive Order 54- mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect- all UWEX staff and volunteers are required to complete mandatory reporter training. It is required you complete this prior to participating in any volunteer opportunities.
Step 1: Click onto this link Mandated Reporter Training to take the online course. (Note: there is no exam, but give yourself an hour to complete)
Step 2: After completing, certify your completion by filling out this form.
Awards, Publications, & Presentations
The following list of awards, publications, and presentations represents some, but not all of the work conducted by the Community Vitality + Placemaking Team between 2016-present.
2017 Wisconsin Extension Environmental & Community Development Association “Outstanding Team Award” for Iron County Regional Trailhead
2016 Wisconsin Extension Environmental & Community Development Association “Quality of Teaching Award” for Baileys Harbor Design Team
2015 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) “Excellence In Community Development” for Community Design Charrette Program
Publications & Articles
Johnson, T. “Grantsburg Facade Study-Outcomes”. Slide show. 2020.
Johnson, T. “Design Mineral Point Summary Report”. Report. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Grantsburg Facade Study”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin: A Researched-based Approach to Community Placemaking”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin: A Researched-based Approach to Community Placemaking”. Hand out. 2019.
Johnson, T. “The Community Design Charrette”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Imageability Mapping”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “The Principles & Practice of Community Placemaking”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “The Principles Community Placemaking Assessment Map”. Online interactive geographic information systems application. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Ellsworth Design Team Summary Report”. Report. 2019
Johnson, T. “Ellsworth Design Team, Next Steps”. Slide show. 2019.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin: A Researched-based Approach to Community Placemaking”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. and Klemme, N. “Empowering Youth/Transforming Communities”. Presentation. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes: A Simulation”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Kewaunee Design Team Summary Report”. Report. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Creating Community Visions That Inspire Change”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Making Fun”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Principles and Practice of Community Placemaking”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Facilitating for placemaking”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Creating Community Visions That Inspire Change”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. “Empowering Youth to Transform Communities”. Slide show. 2018.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “Community Placemaking: An Important Foundation for Comprehensive Planning and a Guide to Community Mobilization”. Pending Occasional Article. May, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Growing Meaningful Places”. Slide show. 2018.
Johnson, T. & Thompson T. “Kewaunee Design Team”. Video. 2018.
Johnson, T. & Thompson T. “Baileys Harbor Design Team”. Video. 2018.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “What is Community Placemaking?”. White Paper. October 10, 2017.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “Ecosystem of Planning Definitions & Hierarchy Including Placemaking”. White Paper. October 10, 2017.
Johnson, T. “Helping Communities Create Meaningful Places”. Publication. Scotland’s Urban Regeneration Forum. July 24, 2017.
Grabow, S. and Johnson, T. “MDT Futures Retreat: Proceedings Report”. Report. 2017.
Johnson, T. and Klemme, N. “Youth + Community Design: Design Wisconsin Team Engages Rural Youth in Community Development to Build Social Capital”. Slide show. 2017.
Johnson, T., Kono, M., and Thompson, A. “Clark County Fairgrounds: A Shared Vision”. Slide show. 2017.
Johnson, T. and Thompson A. “Clark County Fairgrounds: A Shared Vision”. Digital Model. 2017.
Johnson, T. “Placemaking, Not Space Making.” Slide show. 2017
Johnson, T. “Reedsburg Design Team Summary Report”. Report. 2017.
Johnson, T. “Helping Communities Create Meaningful Places”. Online article. 2017.
Johnson, T. “Making Fun: Using Charrettes to Transform Traditional Playgrounds into Outdoor Learning Environments”. Poster. 2017.
Johnson, T. “Princeton Design Team Summary Report”. Report. 2017.
Johnson, T. “UW-Extension: Helping Communities Create Meaningful Places”. Online article. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Placemaking: Imageability Mapping Field Guide”. Field guide. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Imageability Mapping”. Poster. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Community Led-Planning”. Slide show. UW-River Falls. 2016.
Johnson, T. “The Community Design Charrette”. Slide show. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Cognitive Map of Fort Atkinson”. Map. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Outdoor Learning Environment”. Digital Model. 2016.
Johnson, T. “UW-Extension Helping Communities Create Meaningful Places”. Online publication. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Outdoor Learning Environments”. Slide show. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Harnessing the Power of Collaboration”. Slide show. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin Team-Grantsburg”. Video. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Iron County Regional Trail Summary Report”. Report. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin Team Workbook”. Workbook. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Clark County Fair Visioning Summary Report”. Report. 2016.
Johnson, T. and Kozak, R. “Pathfinders Evaluation”. Evaluation instrument. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Business Walk”. Slide show. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Team Program Piloted In Wisconsin”. Online article. 2016.
Johnson, T., Burke, R. and Johnson, T. “Baileys Harbor Imageability Map”. Map. 2015.
Johnson, T., Morey, H., Ryan, B., and Veroff, D. “Baileys Harbor Community Profile”. Report. 2015
Johnson, T. “St. Croix Falls-River & Trail Access”. Report. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Baileys Harbor-Community Design”. Report. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Placemaking Tools: Imageability Mapping”. Field guide. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Team: Town Meeting Questions”. Field guide. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes”. Slide Show Presentation. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Team: Town Meeting Questions”. Field guide. 2015.
Johnson, T. and Morey, H. “Biophilic Planning & Design”. Slide show. 2015.
Johnson, T. “Grantsburg Facade Study-Outcomes”. Presentation. GRO Grantsburg. Grantsburg, WI. December 16, 2019.
Holtkamp, C. and Johnson, T. “Grantsburg Facade Study”. Presentation. GRO Grantsburg. Grantsburg, WI. April 29, 2019.
Johnson, T. “What’s All of the This About Creative Placemaking”. Panel discussion. The EXPOnential Creative Conference. Milwaukee, WI. April 27, 2019.
Johnson, T. “Tactical Urbanism and Community Engaged Design”. Presentation. University of Wisconsin-Madison “CommNS Annual Conference”. Madison, WI. April 24, 2019.
Johnson, T. “The Community Design Charrette”. Presentation. University of Wisconsin-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking “Foundation of Community Placemaking In-Service”. Fort Atkinson, WI. February 28, 2019.
Johnson, T. “Imageability Mapping”. Presentation. University of Wisconsin-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking “Foundation of Community Placemaking In-Service”. Fort Atkinson, WI. February 28, 2019.
Johnson, T. “The Principles & Practice of Community Placemaking”. Presentation. University of Wisconsin-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking “Foundation of Community Placemaking In-Service”. Fort Atkinson, WI. February 28, 2019.
Johnson, T. “Ellsworth Design Team, Next Steps”. Workshop. Ellsworth, WI. January 28, 2019.
Johnson, T. and Klemme, N. “Empowering Youth/Transforming Communities”. Presentation. University of Wisconsin-Extension All Colleague Conference. Madison, WI. December 5, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin: A Researched-based Approach to Community Placemaking”. Presentation. Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. Ellsworth, WI. November 15, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin: A Researched-based Approach to Community Placemaking”. Presentation. Amery, WI. November 7, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes: A Simulation”. Workshop. University of Wisconsin-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration. Madison, WI. October 10, 2018.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes”. Workshop. Creative Placemaking Institute. University of Wisconsin-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration. Madison, WI. July, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Creating Community Visions That Inspire Change”. Presentation. Community Development Society International Conference, Detroit, MI. July, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Making Fun”. Presentation. Community Development Society International Conference, Detroit, MI. July, 2018.
Baefsky, L. & Johnson T. “Principles and Practice of Community Placemaking”. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. June 26, 2018.
Grabow, S., Johnson, T., and Runge, K. “Facilitating for Placemaking”. The Bolz Center for Arts Management. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, WI. January, 2018.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “UW-Extension Community Vitality + Placemaking Team”. Workshop/Forum. Arts Business Research Symposium, UW-Madison. April 20, 2018.
Johnson, T. & Klemme, N. “Creating Community Visions That Inspire Change”. Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, Chattanooga, TN. March 15-16, 2018.
Johnson, T. & Klemme, N. “Empowering Youth to Transform Communities”. Presentation. Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, Chattanooga, TN. March 15-16, 2018.
Johnson, T. & Maddox, M. “Growing Meaningful Places”. Presentation. Joint Council of Extension Professionals. May 2, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin”. Keynote Presentation. Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. May 24, 2018.
Johnson, T. “Biophilic Planning & Design”. Guest presentation. River Falls United Methodist Church. April 25, 2018.
Cronin, W. “Placemaking Safari”. Presentation. Wisconsin Downtown Action Council Summit, Sheboygan, WI. October 25, 2017.
Deller, S., Johnson T., Runge, K., and Ryan, B. “Are Downtowns Public Goods?”. Workshop. Wisconsin Downtown Action Council Summit, Sheboygan, WI. October 26, 2017.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. “The Wauwatosa Papers # 1 and #2”. (#1 What is Community Placemaking?; #2 Ecosystem of Planning Definitions and Hierarchy: Including Placemaking) Workshop. University of Wisconsin Creative Placemaking Consortium, Madison, WI. October 13, 2017.
Grabow, S. & Johnson, T. (Process Designers and Facilitators). Strategic Direction Workshop. University of Wisconsin Creative Placemaking Consortium, Madison, WI, October 13, 2017.
Alexander, M. & Sandwick, N. “Community Placemaking 101”. Presentation. Wisconsin Downtown Action Council Summit, Sheboygan, WI. October 26, 2017.
Erickson, J., Sandwick, N. & Pittz, S. “Community Placemaking”. Presentation. 2017 Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI. September 26, 2017.
Johnson, T. “Placemaking, Not Space Making”. Keynote address. Sauk County Leadership Summit. November 9, 2017.
Johnson, T. “Community Design Charrettes”. Guest lecture. ESM 389: Explore Your Watershed, UW-River Falls. October 24, 2017.
Erickson, J., Sandwick, N. & Pittz, S. “Community Placemaking”. Presentation. 2017 Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI. September 26, 2017.
Clements, J. “Placemaking Education and Outreach in Practice”. Placemaking Leadership Forum. Vancouver, BC. September 14, 2016.
Johnson, T. “Community Placemaking”. Keynote address. NW Wisconsin Arts Forum. Amery, WI. 2016.
Johnson, T. “Design Wisconsin Team”. Reedsburg, WI, August 9, 2016.
Johnson, T. ”Design Wisconsin Team”. Princeton, WI, September 28, 2016.
Johnson, T. “Harnessing the Power of Collaboration”. Keynote address. Great Rivers Confluence. River Falls, WI, November 16, 2016.
Grabow, S., Johnson, T., and Runge, K. “Creative Placemaking in Practice”. University of Wisconsin Creative Placemaking Consortium. Bolz Center, UW-Madison. December 8, 2016.
Grabow, S. and Johnson, T. “Preparing for the Design Wisconsin Team”. Reedsburg, WI. December 13, 2016.
Grabow, S. and Johnson T. “Community Design Charrette – UW-Extension Community Vitality and Placemaking Team”. Arts Wisconsin’s Arts Day 2015 Conference. March 11, 2015.
Sandwick, N. “Revisioning Point Stevens Point.” Stevens Point, WI. March 19, 2015.
Andresen, W., Clements, J., Eisenmann, K., Grabow, S., Johnson, T., and Sandwick, N. “Community Vitality & Placemaking in Wisconsin”. 2015 Joint Council of Extension Professionals Annual Conference. April, 2015.
Andresen, W., Clements, J., Eisenmann, K., Grabow, S., Johnson, T., and Sandwick, N. “The Community Vitality and Placemaking Team”. Professional Development In-Service. Treehaven, WI. May 13, 2015.
Johnson, T. and Sandwick, N. “Community Vitality & Placemaking”. Wisconsin Rural Partners Summit. April 23, 2015.
Sandwick, N. “Place and Civic Engagement”. The 20th Conference on the Small City and Regional Community. Wausau, WI. October 7, 2015.
Grabow, S. “Comprehensive Planning, Community Visioning and Placemaking”. Special Session of the Fort Atkinson City Council. Fort Atkinson, WI. July, 2015.
Grabow, S. and Johnson T. “The Practice of Placemaking: A Research-Based Approach for Creating Meaningful Places”. American Planners Association Regional Conference. Madison, WI. October, 2015.
Johnson T. “Community Design Charrette”. Baileys Harbor Planning Commission. Baileys Harbor, WI. May 4, 2015.
Johnson T. “Community Design Charrette”. New Richmond, WI. April 9, 2015.