ACT for Alexandria

Community Design Workshop: Crafting a vision for Alexandria

  • What do you love about Alexandria?
  • What would you like to improve in Alexandria?
  • How can a community organization / foundation help make life-changing results?

These are just a few of the questions that we posed to 30 Alexandrians a few weeks ago.  As part of ACT’s strategic planning process, we gathered together a cross section of our community.  We wanted to hear their perspectives on our community so that we could begin to form a shared vision for our community and the possibilities for ACT. 

The workshop was led by Elgin Cleckley, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design Thinking at the University of Virginia. Elgin is an expert in applying design thinking principles to community issues and has led several projects in Charlottesville, VA.

Design thinking, an innovation and creative process used by many companies, is rooted in developing a deep understanding of customers – or in our case stakeholders.  ACT’s community design workshop featured a set of fast-paced activities that surfaced thoughts and perspectives about Alexandria and the people who aren’t traditionally at the table.  Working in small groups, participants also brainstormed ways for ACT to deepen its engagement with various stakeholders. 

You can add your voice to the discussion.  Workshop participants helped us hone in on what needs to be improved and ways that an organization like ACT can make a difference.  In response, we crafted two poll questions for the Alexandria Times which will run in the June 28 and July 5 editions of the paper. 

For questions about the workshop or to learn more about ACT’s strategic planning process, please contact Heather Peeler at

 By Heather Peeler, President & CEO