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Working in community design, affordable housing, or either in rural areas

Since I’ve been asked a few times about possible job opportunities in community design, affordable housing, and rural community design, I’m making my usual response list public. I’ll add to it as I find out more.

There are some places that aggregate these kinds of things, but nothing as comprehensive as I’d find most useful. Some good places to start would be the Archinect job board of course, but you can also find affordable housing related job listings at https://shelterforce.org/. They have a cool email newsletter that’s worth subscribing to. For a bigger list of potential firms and organizations you can look at the member directory of the Association for Community Design. You can also check out Pineywood Atlas, a group that shares less conventional artist residencies with groups that sometimes have a closer connection to community arts or design. Where I work now, Epicenter, was featured in their southwest-themed book.

There’s also positions available at colleges, but these really vary a lot between institutions on how directly you’re engaged in design or development. Those schools are also a little easier to find.

Possible affordable housing jobs on the development side include working for a government (most likely to exist in bigger cities or places that especially struggle with affordable housing but have money, like resort towns) or a housing authority. I don’t think these are usually design-oriented, but at the city level or smaller agency level, there might be more flexibility on the scope or nature of the work. You could also search for jobs at community land trusts, or include “community design center” as a search term.

  • Firms that seem to focus on affordable housing:
    • David Baker Architects (San Francisco and Birmingham, AL) – A friend of mine works here, so I can connect you
    • Landon Bone Baker Architects/LBBA (Chicago, IL)
    • Brooks + Scarpa (California and Florida)
    • Delta Design Build (Greenwood, MS)
    • Community Rebuilds (Moab, UT) – I work here part-time now, so I can answer more specific questions about it

  • Firms that seem to focus more on community design with maybe some housing, or that just seemed cooler firms:
    • Epicenter (Green River, UT) – I work here now as my main job, so I can answer more specific questions about it
    • Hi-Vis Agency (not sure if they’re based in just one place)
    • KoningEizenberg (Santa Monica, CA)
    • Latent Design (Chicago, IL)
    • March Studio (Santa Monica, CA) – I know one of the principals, so I can connect you
    • Department of Public Transformation (Granite Falls, MN)
    • MASS Design Group (Boston, MA)
    • buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (Texas)
    • Storefront for Community Design (Richmond, VA)
    • Community Design Collaborative (Philadelphia, PA)
    • Bird Works (Boston, MA)
    • Miller Hull (Seattle, WA)
    • Martin Rickles Studio (Atlanta, GA)
    • Tres Birds (Denver, CO)
    • Synecdoche (Ann Arbor, MI and Detroit, MI)

Hope this gives you a good start!

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