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We share a storefront office in Madison WI
with our sister organization, Design Coalition Inc.,
a not-for-profit Architecture & Community Development Organization.


Our Roots & FAQ’s..

Long-time friends, clients, and colleagues of the award-winning architects at Design Coalition, Inc. will be curious to know the back-story of how Design Coalition Institute
was founded. If you are among the curious, read on....

The Back-Story:
Design Coalition Institute is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to contribute technical expertise and practical assistance to planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of programs, projects, and policies that promote sustainable futures and environmental justice.

Design Coalition
, Inc. is an award-winning architectural office, founded in 1972 in Madison Wisconsin. It began as a community design center (and is still a not-for-profit corporation)
-see for more. Over the years the architects at Design Coalition Inc have worked with a wide variety of non-profit, civic, tribal, educational groups, and governmental agencies on projects for safe, healthy, energy efficient, and ecologically responsible design and construction. Among these collaborators were the Director of the Community Design Action-Research Group (CDARG) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the founders of Dane County’s Better Urban Infill Development (BUILD) Program.

Do Design Coalition, Inc. and Design Coalition Institute have the same goals?
Design Coalition Inc. is a small architectural firm; Design Coalition Institute is a non-profit research and public service organization. The two groups share a common public service mission: helping create healthy, safe, beautiful, energy efficient, ecologically and culturally sensitive homes, facilities, neighborhoods, and communities. We share this common mission because we’ve seen the disparities between families and communities who have access to professional planning and design services and those who do not.

How do the “Inc.” and the “Institute” support each other?
Design Coalition Inc. supports the pubic service mission of the Institute with the donated use of office facilities, web site, and professional consulting. The Institute supports the pubic service mission of Design Coalition Inc. by assisting with research and communications. Both groups collaborate on fund raising activities to support research, education, and technical assistance programs, with specific focus on programs that benefit populations that are historically underserved by design and planning professionals.

What became of the Neighborhood Design Center?
Design Coalition Institute was originally known as "The Neighborhood Design Center" (NDC). The NDC was formed in 2006 as the 501(c)(3) non-profit outgrowth of Dane County’s BUILD  program. From 2006 to 2010 the founding members of the NDC provided technical assistance, public education, and advocacy for community design, preservation, and development to Dane County communities. The architects at Design Coalition and the Director of CDARG were frequent consultants on many projects with NDC.

In 2010 the Executive Director of the NDC was invited to join the staff of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC).  This started a series of conversations about the future of the NDC. The eventual outcome was to shift the CDARG programs and Executive Director to the NDC and relocate operations to the Design Coalition offices on Atwood Avenue. Changes in the name and board followed.

Visit our colleagues at Design Coalition at www.DesignCoalition.org