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PLACE

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: To build a sustainable, just, and inspiring world, one community at a time. PLACE® is a nonprofit organization that works with cities to create and build leading-edge communities that promote the arts, environmentalism and social justice. Through a community-driven, ethically-focused process, PLACE develops new models for urban neighborhoods that demonstrate the best practices in environmental design, live/work development for artists and creative businesses, affordable workforce housing, and supportive housing for the most economically distressed. Our vision is to change the way communities are made.

Results: PLACE recently completed the WAV project in Ventura, California. It provides affordable, green live and work space for artists and solar penthouses for sale to artists and creatives. For the first time, PLACE created fifteen homes using the Supportive Housing model. These heatlhy, green homes are aimed and families and individuals suffering homelessness, and offer sliding scale rents at 30% of income. The PLACE team brings experience and passion to the planning, designing, funding, building and stewardship of over $450 million of green arts projects, residential, commercial, serving other nonprofits and cities. Recently, we have begun moving people into our WAV project, a sustainable community filled with artists and powered by solar power. In addition, we’ve created new homes for forty formerly homeless people and orphans and youth who’s foster care benefits end on their 18th birthday. Over six hundred people have signed up to be involved with the WAV project in Ventura, CA. Thousands have participated in over a hundred meetings to guide the vision. PLACE completed 6,200 square feet of commercial space targeted at arts-friendly businesses like coffee houses, jazz clubs, art galleries, wine bistros, etc. It helps support the WAV project.

Target demographics: PLACE serves people of all kinds by building better communities in which to live, work, play, create, and interrelate. We serve artists and the arts. PLACE serves the environment. We serve cities and communities. those who are interested in the experiment of creating better places, better communities. PLACE serves the most impoverished people. Those without a voice. PLACE builds sustainable communities for cities, affordable live/work space for artists and creatives, and renewable energy. We build sustainable supportive housing to help the most impoverished in our society. We build ecovillages that reflect the leading edge of community design.

Direct beneficiaries per year: We're working on these figures right now. But the WAV project currently provides 300 jobs. Not minimum wage job, but high paying jobs in law and banking and management and construction.

Geographic areas served: No limits

Programs: Place works with local governments, foundations, and community members to create sustainable, affordable, mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods for artists, under-served populations facing various life challenges, nonprofit organizations, and creative businesses. With place's guidance, these neighborhoods will be created with vigorous public dialog, built to the highest environmental standards, and filled with people from all backgrounds and economic circumstances. The place team assists its communities with every aspect of the project from visioning to planning, from design to funding, from construction to service coordination and project maintenance.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned about PLACE when I told my architecture professor that I wanted to help create buildings that are healthy for people and the planet while also being affordable to people of all income ranges and backgrounds. He immediately recommended getting in touch with Chris Velasco, the executive director and co-founder of PLACE. I began my research into PLACE and thought, "Is this real? Is someone actually weaving in all these wonderful elements of environment, health, art, community and affordability into their projects? This can't be real. I must be a part of this!"

The work of pushing for innovative holistic strategies in a somewhat unmovable development system is always challenging, but reminding myself of all the people who will someday call a PLACE community home as a result of our work makes it worth it. Of course, it also helps working with a great supportive team at PLACE as well as all the other wonderful people I get to work with among our current and future community members, regional government staff, designers, engineers, contractors and subs, experts, and everyone else we meet along the way who is passionate about creating these amazing PLACE communities.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a Resident Artist of the one of a kind WAV in Ventura, I can say that PLACE has set the bar high for a new way of living. PLACE conceptualized a new type of creative and caring neighborhood, and the results have surpassed any of my dream like expectations. The orchestration is no less beautiful than a symphony with co-creative minds working together to make this world a better place. I am honored to call The WAV my home and continue to create art which hopefully will benefit my community and environment. PLACE has changed lives and will continue to do so for many years to come.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family relocated thousands of miles in the hope of being part of something new and something great; a community of working artists living in affordable, eco-friendly residences in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. We have not been disappointed, and indeed our experience has exceeded all hopes. A huge amount of ingenuity has clearly been put into both the project as a whole and each individual aspect, from the design of the living spaces to maximise natural light to the selection of artists to ensure a balanced yet diverse community of individuals and families. The creating of a community, both in the bricks and mortar (a phenomenal achievement in itself) and in the people who are now living here, signals a radical yet brilliant vision. The lives of all those involved have been deeply enriched. These benefits are apparent after only a few months of the project being operational. The long-term postive impact on the community and the surrounding society is likely to be immeasurable.

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am living! I do not feel afraid. I have found a space that is understanding of who I am. An Artist. I am GREATFUL for the oppportunity to create history. To be alive and creating a home for my five year old son, Jubal-Lee. I am challenged each month to work hard to provide for my family and i am rewarded each month with a home and art studio at the WAV! This month (03.05.10) I invite two younge emerging artists to show at My Peacock Party Art Walk and next month i showcase Recycled Art. All thanks to PLACE, and a vision, and the means to manifest!

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just moved into the WAV building as a tenant, and just wanted to hurry and tell the world what a magnificent PLACE this is. Chris Velasco has created an ideal center for artist to inhabit. The WAV project is the dream home of every artist. It is so inspiring to see your neighbors happy, helpful, and dedicated to their ideals. Nothing can stop the group of artist living in the WAV project from being successful with their projects and giving back to their community. Julinya Vidigal De Vince

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked on the construction team that built the WAV project in Ventura, California. It is the most extraordinary project I have worked on in over twenty years in the profession. PLACE and Chris Velasco made us feel like important members of the team, and actually took the time to thank us for our work. I know they didn't have a big budget, but the community is the most beautiful project in Ventura and the greenest building in the region. Bravo to them!

54

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am continually impressed by the PLACE team's diplomacy and communication skills and have been inspired by their unwavering commitment to ethical management of the City's project at every step of the way. PLACE has succeeded in structuring a community process with the WAV project in Ventura that is inclusive, transparent, open and fair, and has done so with incredible good humor and generosity in the face of the many complex negotiations that are an inevitable part of any large public, private collaboration.

58

Client Served

Rating: 5

The most committed, energetic and knowledgeable staff with whom you could ever work. Everyone is marked by a high level of creativity and a perseverance to see lengthy, complex project through to completion.

42

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with PLACE on the Working Artists in Ventura project, and the things that have impressed me are their genuine commitment to an open, public design process and their tenacity in holding on to the quality of the design through the difficult process of entitling and financing a project.

46

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I was laid off from my interior and product design position in Oct ‘o8, I found myself eager to return to my work as a fiber artist. In years past I have been involved in the development of crafts marketplaces on both coasts. I inquired about the WAV project and was introduced to PLACE. After receiving a tour of the WAV construction site with Chris Velasco, I’m enthusiastic about the organization and the model being created for Ventura. Mr. Velasco has made himself readily accessible to the artists and the community at large. I'm confident that PLACE has extended their reach as far as possible to provide affordable housing for artist within a socially and environmentally balanced community while accentuating the beautiful views and respecting the local landscape. The project supports the artist’s ability to continue creating and offers new opportunity for eco friendly retail businesses. The visual and performing arts activity produced in and around WAV will enrich the community at large while setting the president for future green developments. As a single parent struggling in a down economy, the dramatic change WAV will bring in our ability to make ends meets can’t come soon enough!

33

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work for Bernards. We are the General Contractor on the WAV Project in Ventura, CA for PLACE. Speaking for myself I not only appreciate the opportunity bur am proud to be associated with such an innovative and socially responsible project. Everyone on the PLACE Team is a pleasure to work with. I wish them continued success. Bernards would be happy to work with these energy filled professionals again anytime! Gary Henschell Senior Project Manager

24

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended a city hall meeting a few years ago to speak about the needs of artists. This meeting was based around a non-profit project to create affordable living for artists. I was expecting bureaucracy, and the mundane. What PLACE brought to the table, and now into reality, couldn't be more amazing. They're the most forward thinking people I know. They're literally bringing dreams to life before our eyes. I can recommend nobody in higher regards.

25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

PLACE is the most innovative community problem-solving organization I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They bring a level of strategic thinking and implementation that is awe-inspiring. In my experience with them, they have accomplished a project that was almost universally accepted as impossible - and they have done so with remarkable speed and effectiveness.