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Shaping our Towns and Cities–A New IF Discussion Guide

Download a PDF of the Guide

Download a PDF of the Guide

What makes a well-designed community? What policy decisions might we make to bring about our differing visions of a well-designed community? What are some different aims we might have? Shaping our Towns and Cities is a new discussion guide from the Interactivity Foundation (IF) that explores some alternative approaches we might take to designing and developing our communities.

A diverse group of citizens developed the seven policy possibilities presented in this discussion guide through an extended series of intensive and wide-ranging discussions. Some of these citizens were specialists in fields relevant for discussions of urban planning and design. Others were simply citizens interested in the topic. Their goal was to open up diverse perspectives on the choices we might face and to sketch out some diverse ways to respond to those choices.

The citizens who developed this guide offer these ideas as a jumping-off point for similar exploratory discussions by other citizens. This discussion guide is their invitation to you, for you to engage in your own conversations and to develop your own thinking about the different ways we might shape our towns and cities.

The policy notions in this report include:

  • Create Beautiful Towns and Cities: focus on beautiful design that is responsive to local conditions
  • Come Together: focus community design on fostering social interaction
  • Design Communities to Maximize Access: focus community design on enabling ready access to things people need in their daily lives
  • Foster Sustainable Towns and Cities: focus community design on enhancing resiliency
  • To Your Local Community Be True: focus community design on fostering distinctive local identities
  • Protect Community Value in the Marketplace: focus on fortifying the social value of our communities
  • Let the Private Sector Determine Community Design: focus on enabling the free market to shape our communities
Memphis Streetcar by La Citta Vita (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Memphis Streetcar by La Citta Vita (CC BY-SA 2.0)


If you’re interested in exploring the report with your own discussion group (or even on your own), you can download a copy from the Interactivity Foundation’s website, or you can use the website to submit a request for cost-free printed copies.


The Interactivity Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to enhance the process and expand the scope of our public discussions through facilitated small-group discussion of multiple and contrasting possibilities. The Foundation does not engage in political advocacy for itself, any other organization or group, or on behalf of any of the policy possibilities described in its discussion guidebooks. For more information, see the Foundation’s website at

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