June 27-29, 2019                                                                                                                                        Greenwood, MS

Host: Delta Design Build 

Community design work begins with an understanding of the power of people first. It is the web of relationships, history, narrative, mythology, and aspirations embodied in the people of a community that is the fabric of a place.  This conference will highlight these experts on place; the people who work, celebrate, struggle, organize, worship, and live in the neighborhoods we live, work, and play in. The 42nd Annual ACD convening will give us all a microphone and turn the amp up to 11 so as to focus on stories of PEOPLE+______.

The work of community design is frequently focused on strengthening urban communities, and this work is vitally important, however the work that is being done in rural communities is equally as important and this conference is a call to expand the conversation to include both the rural and urban. Rural places can sometimes feel like the end of the line, particularly for marginalized communities. Policies made in Washington, D.C. or state capitals filter down to the  organizations working in the neighborhoods who have to deal with the decisions of those who may, or may not hold their best interest at heart. Aren’t the residents, the locals, the radical few who stay put, sources of untapped breadths and depths of knowledge?

At PEOPLE+, we are inviting community designers to apply to speak alongside stakeholders and elevate the voices of the experts in place. As community designers, we seek to listen to those with whom we partner, and this year’s convening will carve out space for the voices of people plus the designers who work on their behalf to hear each other.



Just as rural places can feel like the end of the political, financial or geographic line, rural people can feel their work and ideas are peripheral to the bigger, newer and seemingly more innovative urban world. The Mississippi Delta is the home of the blues, a genre that inspired the vast majority of modern music. In the Delta, visitors can also be inspired by writers, painters, cooks, activists and others who have portrayed the best of the human spirit. The Mississippi Delta also lays plain the great injustices and inheritances of the worst of the human spirit through the ever present divisions that remain as a result of a history of slavery and civil rights battles. Despite this history, and though mired at the bottom of nearly every poll for health, education, and poverty, there is magic in the Delta, wrought of both the good and bad that seem to have seeped into the soil. 

The hosts, speakers, and events of the PEOPLE+ ACD convening will provide insights into the context of the Mississippi Delta and how both lifelong residents and those new to the area have sought out authentic and individualized understandings of the people and places in this region. Greenwood will serve as home base for a few days as the experience of the Delta unfolds through a gathering of those on a shared mission to understand and elevate context in their everyday work. Join us for long summer evenings sitting on the porch, enjoying iced drinks together!



  • Equity: Systems of oppression and inequity disproportionately impact Communities of Color.  How can community design actively work to build power and offset barriers to make more just places?
  • Engagement: Young people and vulnerable communities are valuable assets not often included in community decisions. What are ways to include these groups in design and community activism?

  • Resilience: In the face of adversity, our neighborhoods continue to bounce back. How do cultural heritage and people, as well as environmental conditions, impact a place’s ability to persevere?

  • Innovation: The practice of community design continues to evolve on large and small scales. What are alternative approaches to our practice that catalyze change?



At the ACD Conference, we seek to practice these values:

·   To re-center historically and currently marginalized communities, voices, perspectives, and expertise.

·   To embrace the whole person, not just the professional identity.

·   To foster space for critical dialog to support growth, acknowledge privilege, and allow for failure.

·   To support non-hierarchical spaces that lift up knowledge of all kinds, lifting lived experience as equal to formal training.

·   To create safer, braver, and kinder spaces.

·   To acknowledge that design is inherently political and has political and social consequences.

·   To provide intergenerational spaces and conversations that will strengthen our field.

·   To demonstrate that authentic participation and shared power is critical for equitable impact.



The Delta Design-Build Workshop (Delta DB) is a social impact design and construction company. We operate on the premises that process is as important as product, waste is a social construct, your well-being and mine are intertwined, and a deep understanding of context is a necessity. We believe in working closely with communities and residents to produce positive, meaningful impact. Our team works directly with our clients (low-wealth households, non-profit partners and small municipalities) to build equity through the built environment.

Founded by Emily Roush-Elliott (a former Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow) and Richard Elliott, Delta DB has been working in the since 2014 with a commitment to housing and community development in the Mississippi Delta. Delta DB works collaboratively with underserved populations to develop safe, healthy, and dignified affordable housing and pathways to economic opportunity. With a commitment to building economic stability, Delta DB invests in local workforce training for construction and sourcing materials and trades to reinvest into the communities we work.

Additionally, joining Delta DB as a host of ACD People+, Daniel Splaingard (another Rose Fellow alum) brings enthusiasm and introspection from the Beard + Riser Architects office also located in Greenwood, MS.




June 27 Preconference Event +COMMUNITY THINK TANK

This year’s  Pre-Conference event is focused on progress in the Delta.  Bringing leaders and “doers” with local knowledge, history, and understanding from Delta communities together with ACD’s community of change-makers, will result in fruitful discussion about new ideas, outside perspective and resources to look towards all to help a community move forward.



A think tank is often defined as a group of experts providing advice and ideas to work towards solutions around a specific problem.

Members of the Delta will serve as the local experts about their community’s history, assets and current issues. ACD attendees will serve as the technical experts, bringing their experience, knowledge and passion for working with communities to the table. Together, both groups will spend a day brainstorming about solutions that can be applied to the Delta communities and taken back with the attendees to inspire change in their own communities.  

This one-day workshop is not meant to be a start to finish solution for communities, but a resource day that helps to guide in the potentials or next steps to reach goals set by these communities. Following the ACD conference, these communities and community groups will continue to work with local Delta partners to realize their projects. Progress and updates from these groups will be shared throughout the year with the ACD community so that the legacy of the event, and real impact in a place, can be recognized.


You must pre-register for this event, which is a conference add-on. 

Due to the immersive nature of this event, we do ask that you plan to attend all day.

Lunch and refreshments will be served.



ACD Conference Schedule_5_30_19.pdf



People+ will be headquartered at the Historic Elks Lodge in Downtown Greenwood, MS.

Historic Elks Lodge
102 W Washington Street
Greenwood, MS 38930

Registration for the conference will be open on Thursday, June 27 from 8am-7pm and Friday, June 28 & Saturday, June 29 from 8am-5pm.  

While Greenwood will serve as the host city for the 2019 conference, Friday’s Delta Sessions will be held in communities outside of Greenwood. Hosted at local partner headquarters, attendees will have an opportunity to see some of the Delta and points of significance en-route. Transportation will be provided from the Elks Lodge to those locations for all conference attendees.

Saturday morning walking tours will depart from the Elks Lodge and all Saturday sessions are located in Greenwood.

A few special events that are open to the public are on the agenda. Turnrow Bookstore and Tallahatchie Flats will host evening events and are included in attendees registration. Additional tickets for the general public are available for Saturday’s After Party at the Elks Lodge registration for $5.

Here is a map with some of the key locations highlighted



Register Here



Closed April 15, 2019



Greenwood is a 2-hour drive from the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airport (JAN) in Jackson, MS or Memphis International Airport (MEM) in Memphis, TN. Both airports offer rental car options. Amtrak stops in both Jackson and Memphis also link directly to Greenwood, although the airports and Amtrak stops are only accessible by car (both airports allow Uber and Lyft).

Amtrak stops directly in Greenwood on the historic "City of New Orleans" line. We recommend this route if at all possible. Board in Chicago for dinner and breakfast before your arrival or catch the train in New Orleans for an afternoon ride through various ecosystems. The train has numerous other stops in towns and smaller cities.

As we approach the conference, a rideshare spreadsheet will be available for attendees to connect and carpool.



Blocks in two hotels have been reserved for conference attendees. To book, call the hotel directly and mention the ACD Conference. Both hotels will have a variety of room types blocked off.

The Alluvian Hotel in downtown Greenwood is approximately a 2-3 minute walk to the Historic Elks Lodge. The Hampton Inn is on Highway 82, the main highway that runs through Greenwood, and is a short 5-7 minute drive from the Historic Elks Lodge.

The Alluvian Hotel

318 Howard Street

Greenwood, MS 38930

662-453-2114 or toll-free at 1-866-600-5201

The Hampton Inn

1815 Highway 82 West

Greenwood, MS 38930






The Association for Community Design's Annual Conference brings together university faculty, students, design professionals, community members, firms, nonprofits and local government representatives to facilitate dialogue on the intersection of community design, equity, and environmental justice while also sharing unique perspectives from the host city which changes every year. By building skills, honing cross-disciplinary techniques, and openly examining on-the-ground experiences we deepen and amplify our impact. 



Please contact aoneill@communitydesign.org