Our Clients are Excited about Moving Discussions to Decisions

The CivicMoxie team works with clients eager to explore current planning theory, examine planning efforts that have succeeded and failed, and discuss a range of ideas in order to move thoughtful planning discussions to sound decision making.  Our team represents the best of all worlds by combining research and cutting edge ideas from the world of academia with decades of professional planning and development experience.  We don’t get hung up in the theory but it does inform our work in significant ways and we believe our collective teaching and research adds real value for clients.  Our knowledge of planning theory and cutting edge research can help us target efforts, ensure recommendations and plan frameworks take advantage of the best of current thinking, and engage our clients in discussions about goals and good practice.  At the same time, clients share our excitement about putting pedagogy and theory into practice by moving discussions to decisions.

Key characteristics of our clients?

  • Eager to hear about new thinking in planning and development
  • Willing to discuss goals within the context of trends and best practices
  • Supportive of our inclusion of their projects in scholarly work and planning articles (with their permission of course!)
  • Willing to test new practices and move from talk to cutting edge action and recommendations
  • Committed to the best possible outcomes using all the information and tools available

The MetLife Innovative Space Awards (ISA) was a multi-year effort by the MetLife Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and Susan Silberberg’s research team at MIT to create a database of the best examples of affordable artist space.  As Associate Director of the awards, Susan worked with over 100 arts organizations nationwide to understand the organizational, financial, affordable space, and community engagement challenges they face and to identify trends and common attributes of success.  The ISA moved the general discussion of the difficulty of creating and maintaining affordable space toward tangible solutions by highlighting real practice challenges and successful solutions.  In a parallel effort, the Artist Space Development (ASD) Guidebook was developed by Susan and her MIT research team to answer basic questions about the process of developing affordable artist space and to provide a road map and resources to arts organizations and other non-profits. The awards and the guidebook illustrate a commitment on the part of MetLife Foundation to move discussions about the challenges facing artist space developers toward guidelines and assistance to meet goals.

In another project, the Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets organization engaged in discussions with the “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” planning workshop at MIT to explore the image and marketing challenges facing the commercial district.  These discussions became the germ of an idea to capitalize on what had been perceived as a weakness and “Two Squares, One Place: Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets” was an early branding decision of the team. The client ran with the idea, using pilot marketing materials to launch the new commercial district brand before the plan was completed.  The client’s ability to move from discussion to decision was recognized by the American Planning Association AICP Student Project Award for Application of the Planning Process.