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Deborah Hazen

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1 reviews

Review for PLACE, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the stunning scope of the WAV project: a new, environmentally sound community in downtown Ventura, CA that includes affordable housing units, supportive housing units, retail space, green outdoor areas for the public, gallery/theater space and market-rate condos. PLACE has forged a remarkably harmonious coalition of what are frequently competing interests, with the result that the WAV project can serve as a model for future green, mixed-use, mixed-income projects in our city. The WAV project is set up to deliver economic and cultural benefits to the Ventura arts and business communities for many years.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Chris Velasco is one of the most brilliant people with whom I've ever worked, yet always very collaborative and approachable.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their open, generous and community-oriented approach to both the development and implementation of this project.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

intelligent, committed, enthusiastic and thoughtful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create multiple waste-free, energy-efficient communities - see their website for information about the E-Generation project proposal.

Ways to make it better...

the City and private funding for the WAV project had been larger so that PLACE could have implemented even more of the cutting-edge environmental ideas and systems that they brought to the planning stages of the process.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the diversity of their talents, focus and efforts, because the PLACE mission is not simply to create projects that are 'green' or that construct 'affordable housing' or that result solely in positive economic returns, but rather to create projects that encompass all of these goals in addition to other specific goals as stated by a given community. I think that PLACE can be a difficult organization to neatly categorize and that creates for a more complex marketing message.

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Role:  Client Served & City of Ventura employee and liaison with PLACE on the Working Artists Ventura (WAV) project.