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New Program Aims to Connect Creative Placemakers to More Opportunity

Sponsored content from CoLab Roanoke. Sponsored content policy

CityWorks (X)po is not new to the placemaking scene. Now in it’s seventh year, the organization has been providing an annual homecoming for placemakers across the nation since placemaking was a relatively new term. Each year, 300-plus participants gather to discuss “big ideas for better places,” and over the years have worked on different methods of turning those ideas into actions to make their communities stronger.

As community development professionals know well, the resiliency of a community is dependent on many factors. (X)po finds speakers who can expand on these factors as themes, asking each to deliver one specific take-away: tools for implementation.

“The market is saturated with ideas and inspiration, which is wonderful, but we know our participants come seeking blueprints and resources so they can take these projects and ideas home with them,” says Brad Stephens, (X)po 2017’s head planner. “Getting folks excited about placemaking isn’t enough to make real impact on a community. (X)po is a platform for empowerment and implementation, which is what makes the annual gathering so effective.”

This upcoming October, CityWorks (X)po will launch a new fellowship program to meet these goals. Upon acceptance into the competitive program, fellows will have access to exclusive content including private meetings with speakers and sponsors, specific programming, early access to certain events, unique resources and continuing mentorship. Accepted fellows will also receive a complimentary ticket to (X)po 2017.

These resources aren’t “free,” though. Fellows will be expected to be present and to give their energy and attention to the programs and tools offered through (X)po. They will be asked to provide feedback and will be among the candidates for (X)po 2018 speakers.

“The fellows are already doing incredible work in their communities,” says Ariel Lev, a member of the (X)po planning committee. “We just want to fill up their toolbox with resources unique to (X)po ​— resources that have roots in collaboration and placemaking ​— all informed by the speakers and mentors that make up (X)po 2017.”

Participants this year can expect a number of themes to be explored, from social justice in community development to how to use the arts for transformative change to participatory budgeting. The (X)po schedule includes opportunities to network with other participants, explore small events throughout the city, meet speakers and collaborate on big ideas. It’s an event like no other, and it’s guaranteed to to create a positive impact for communities across the country.

CityWorks (X)po is October 5 through 7 this year, and there will be a limited number of fellowship seats available. The planning team hopes to expand the program next year. But, seats are filling up quickly and candidates are encouraged to apply by September 19, via the link on the website.

Visit CityWorks (X)po online for more information.