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    Design Revival 24 - Small Towns, Big Ideas

    Design Revival 24 is rooted in the conviction that helping communities in need is a core calling of design professionals everywhere.


    Alumni News: Kate Pearce, MCRP '10
    As a 2010 graduate from DCRP, I was entering the workforce at the worst possible time.   The impact of the housing crisis and Great Recession was being felt throughout the design and build community.  The private firms still in existence were hard pressed to justify new hires.  However, as luck would have it a position opened up at a firm I'd been courting since my first year at Chapel Hill.  LandDesign, an urban design, planning, branding, civil engineering and landscape architecture firm, headquartered in Charlotte, NC was looking to fill a planning position and I was just the person for the job.

    I was thankful to be employed and truly enjoyed both the work I was doing and the people I was doing it with.   However,  while I was simply eager to work, the reality is that the staff that survived the downsizing was in need of both an infusion of motivation and a creative outlet to stretch their design legs.  Enter Design Revival 24.   The beauty of the event is that ultimately, coming together as a group of planners, urbanists, architects, engineers in a collaborative burst of design energy provided as much for its participants–camaraderie, creative freedom, sense of accomplishment, self worth–as it did for Bluefield.   

    In April of 2011 a team of  planners, landscape architects, architects and engineers volunteered  24 consecutive hours of design work to the town of Bluefield, WV.  The event, Design Revival 24, was was inspired by Charleston’s annual CreateAthon®, a work-around-the-clock creative blitz during which advertising agencies generate creative and strategic work for local nonprofits that have little or no marketing budget.  Applied to the built environment, DesignRevival 24 is rooted in the conviction that helping communities in need is a core calling of design professionals everywhere.

    During the 24 hours we delivered a streetscape program, strategy to catalyze economic development projects, a recycling program, local foods initiative, public arts project, small area plan for the downtown district, redevelopment program for infill residential, public park concept sketches and a heritage tourism framework.  Beyond the deliverables we also infused the City, residents and business with a fresh look at their downtown and set of ideas, strategies and recommendations for them to consider and potentially pursue.  Within one month of the 24-hour work period, we prepared a summary document, refined presentation and compendium of funding and implementation strategies to help project initiatives take flight.  While the first Design Revival is officially over the relationship sustains and Bluefield is currently in the process of applying for grants to secure the funding necessary to move some of the ideas towards implementation.  

    We are currently evaluating potential sites for the next Design Revival 24. If you know of a community in need with the political and social infrastructure in place to support an event of this type, please e-mail me at

    For more information and a short documentary video please visit:

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