New Community Vitality Series Designed to Bolster Main Street Programs

January 22, 2021 | New Community Vitality Series Designed to Bolster Main Street Programs | 
Downtown Lexington, Virginia. Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)

As we explored in our COVID-19 Trends Blog Series, the “work from home” revolution is just getting started, causing people to reevaluate where they call home. In response, our partners at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) have launched the 2021 Creating Community Vitality (CCV) Series to explore the unique opportunity that communities across the country have to retain and attract an increasingly mobile workforce, while also ensuring they have the necessary amenities, infrastructure, and social offerings in place to better position themselves for success.

This training series will focus on three themes over the course of the year: place identity, supportive ecosystems, and inclusive community building. Each theme will have its own unique collection of webinars, podcasts, and blog posts to explore key aspects, inspirational case studies, and tips for implementation. Monthly, community development leaders and practitioners—including NMSC's very own Matt Wagner and Lindsey Wallace—will help participants reflect on the future they would like to see for their community and develop a meaningful path forward.


Program Highlights

Identity | January – April 2021

Virginia DHCD will kick off the CCV Series by examining how the inflection points of the past year have led to seismic shifts that will force communities to reimagine how they define themselves, while also prompting community leaders to consider what tools and approaches are needed to remain responsive to the diverse needs of their constituencies and achieve desirable outcomes.

The first few months of the CCV Series will focus on the concept of place and how the places we design shape our lives. In an increasingly virtual world, relationships between people and their connection to the community’s past and future must grow stronger to successfully strengthen one’s place. Participants will explore the art of storytelling, learning how to cultivate pride and bolster small businesses while attracting and retaining talent and investment. Setting aside national and international distractions, let’s renew our love for local stories, align people to purpose, clarify aspirations, and create a new capacity for communities to grow and thrive, building a better future, together.

Ecosystems | May – September 2021

The second part of the CCV Series will center upon identifying institutions, uncovering community assets, and supporting infrastructure to spark momentum, building places where people want to spend time, interact socially, create memorable experiences, and connect with the built and natural environment around them.

Participants will learn more about the principles of small scale and incremental development. Explore why traditional services and infrastructure need to not only be maintained but also receive routine investments that help communities consistently deliver and navigate unique circumstances. Learn how to build a strong and resilient economy that includes all types of entrepreneurial talent and ways through which community organizations can help strengthen and revitalize neighborhood businesses. With thoughtfulness in mind, let’s bring new life to our communities!

Community | October – December 2021

The last few months of the CCV Series will focus on developing equitable and inclusive spaces, celebrating local foodways and shared culinary culture to help spur interaction and connection, and learning how communities can leverage remote workers’ flexibility to make living decisions based less on where their employer is located and more on personal living preferences.

Participants will learn more about action-based empathetic design thinking, food-focused events and their ability to complement local traditions, and the emerging post-pandemic opportunities to enhance place-based infrastructure, benefiting all involved. Let’s get our communities excited and involved as we look ahead and discover what’s possible!

Click here to learn more about sessions, featured speakers and download interactive workbooks that are designed to help participants identify and reflect on session ideas that rise to today’s challenges. Register today to join Virginia DHCD for the 2021 Creating Community Vitality Series.

Questions? Contact (804) 371-7000 or email