Community Development

Mobile Studio

Over one hundred communities have local architecture schools and some others have Community Design Centers there are still many that don’t and suffer from little to no access to Architects or other planning professionals. Mobile studios can change this and help a community to develop a working relationship.

Preparing the Visit

This involves community organization ahead of time. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • “What would I need to be able to show up somewhere I had never been, meet people I had never met, and provide them with recommendations in a days’ time?”

In order to accomplish this a list was made which included:

  1. Places to sleep
  2. Food to eat
  3. Miscellaneous materials
  4. Access to key buildings, sites, and people

Meeting the Community


This community project began in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania a paper mill town of about 3,000 people. Meeting the community was critical step since this is a school project that the students wouldn’t be able to complete without the support of the community.

Application Process

In this process the community is asked to describe how they will organize and prepare for the design team visits. Most of the time communities are very willing to help out but don’t realize the amount of time and commitment needed in order to have a success. This process can take up to nine months and includes the following:

  1. Forming a host committee
  2. Developing a publicity program to bring the community up to speed on what will be going on
  3. Collect background materials such as maps, drawings, etc.

Set up

Supplies and technical support need to be thought of in advance since there is no time available during the visit to do this. Things needed include:

  1. Drafting supplies
  2. Miscellaneous materials
  3. Computer equipment

The Visit

The visit lasts between two to four days and is made up of a listening period and a working period.

  • Listening period: teams are introduced to the community
  • Working period: team comes up with a strategy based on the information received from the community

Essential Elements

  • Publicity
  • Time
  • Follow-up



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