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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

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.