Envision. Design. Finance. Build. Sustain.

PLACE is a nonprofit organization with a mission baked right into our acronymic name: Projects Linking Art, Community & Environment. We exist to create affordable living and working for people of all income levels and backgrounds within sustainable, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities. Our team and board of directors possess many decades worth of development experience. 

“With its mix of uses, focus on sustainability and housing for all income levels, PLACE is an innovative project that pushes transit oriented development to a new level.” — Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene

The first complete community PLACE has developed and continues to own and manage as a nonprofit is WAV (Working Artists Ventura) – a mixed-income creative community in Ventura, CA. Completed in 2009 and thriving today, WAV is the country’s first sustainable arts community. Developed hand-in-hand with the local community over the course of 142 public meetings, WAV is a landmark project in southern California, providing affordable live/work homes for hundreds of artists and their families, along with permanent homes for families transitioning out of homelessness. Because PLACE owns and manages WAV, it will remain an affordable artist community forever. It is a hub for the arts, a tourist attraction, and a vibrant, 24/7 neighborhood. 

"They’re literally bringing dreams to life before our eyes." — Nick Goodenough, WAV Community Member

Today, PLACE is working in St. Louis Park, MN to create a community unlike any in the world. Hundreds of mixed-income apartments will provide affordable live/work units for creatives, luxury housing, and permanent supportive housing for lower-income families. A boutique hotel will cater to travelers who need easy access to downtown Minneapolis without the high prices. An urban forest will provide crucial green space and stormwater management. Perhaps most significantly, PLACE’s patent-pending E-Generation technology will power the entire community with 100% renewable energy, significantly lowering utility bills and lowering our impact on the surrounding environment. The entire project is positioned on the regional bike trail and future light rail line, making mass transit and car-free options available for all.

"We went after everything that was new, and then we went a step further." — Sid White, Former Economic Dev. Head, City of Ventura

To achieve this ambitious vision, PLACE has partnered with several public agencies and for-profit businesses to create a unified team with the right combination of financial assets and public benefit expertise. Charting new territory and confronting difficult challenges is part of our organizational DNA. PLACE continually seeks new ways to challenge the status quo, and ultimately to create beautiful, visionary places in which people from all walks of life can live, work, play, and create.


"PLACE is an excellent project, for the city and the region. Turning vacant, unused property into a community space with alternative energy features, that is connected to other uses, like transit, is just the kind of investment the Council wants to make toward a livable communities and a prosperous region” – Erin Heelan, TOD Grants Coordinator, Metropolitan Council Livable Communities.

  • Latest from the blog

    Talking About Poverty (Part Two)

    Welcome to Part Two of Talking About Poverty, PLACE’s five-part series on poverty and our deep-seated assumptions about our fellow Americans who are poor. As our guide, we will be using the excellent series, Busted: America’s Poverty Myths from WNYC’s On the Media.In this, our second part, we examine the long-held notion that people who are poor are poor because they do not have the same work ethic as those in the middle class. This assumption leads to the belief that some people deserve to be poor because of bad decisions they have made, or that they just don’t have what it takes. For example, Walter Mischel’s famous Stanford Marshmallow Study offered a group of children a choice: They could eat one marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes and get two marshmallows. The ability to hold out for the promise of that second marshmallow correlated with greater success later in life.People have naturally concluded that kids lacking in self control were missing something vital to success. The kids with the ability to delay their gratification, with self control, simply had what it takes.
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    Talking About Poverty (Part One)

    Welcome to PLACE’s five-part series on poverty. We hope to get you thinking about poverty differently, and by extension, those who are forced to live in poverty. And we also hope to explain PLACE’s complex and effective approach to alleviating poverty. Above all, we hope to make it interesting. After all, who doesn’t love myth busting? As our guide, we will be using the excellent series, Busted: America’s Poverty Myths from WNYC’s On the Media.Our understanding of poverty in America is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and tall tales of the American Dream. Even if you’re poor (and almost no one thinks they are), you probably share our country’s discomfort with poor people, because you are a product of a culture steeped in very potent, but very wrong narratives about people who are poor. The intent of our series is to expose those myths and dismantle them.
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    Why The Trump Administration Should Take Action Against Climate Disruption

    The PLACE organization will be leading a charge to convince the Trump Administration to take action to halt the destruction of the environment and the disruption of the global climate. And while many of you may think this is a fool’s errand, there are actually many reasons for Mr. Trump to embrace such measures. 
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    You Are Still Who You Are

    You are still who you are. I think that is crucial to remember.  Today is a day of soul searching. I can see it on the faces of people I meet. Whether they look vindicated or distressed, they all appear as if they feel alienated from the other half of America.  No matter how you feel about the election, it hasn’t changed who you are as a person. Nor has it changed the other people around you.  If you cared about the environment yesterday, you still do today. If you thought education holds the key to a better world, for you, that is still true. If you believe everyone deserves a fair chance, you will continue to work to that end.  We must stop believing that there are two Americas; red states and blue states, conservatives and liberals. These false dichotomies are brought to you by the two-party system, and they are as meaningless as they are unfortunate. Perhaps the greatest disservice The Political Machine has done to us is to convince us that there are two groups of people; those who think like we do, and everyone else, who must therefore be stupid, greedy or Un-American.
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    Why We Need Affordable Housing If We Want A Strong Economy

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    Seven Kinds of Sustainable

    Originally published May, 2013 What is “Sustainability?” Sustainability is a difficult word to define, or more precisely, is difficult to reduce to a single definition. American Heritage defines the term as “capable of being continued without long-term effect on the environment.” This definition certainly does not solidify the linguistic ground beneath our feet. It is a sort of negative definition, partially defined by the absence of “long-term effect.” I don’t know exactly what “long-term effect” means. Everything that exists has a long-term effect on the environment. For that matter, everything that stops existing, or goes extinct has a long-term effect on the environment.  Sustainability as a construct owes a great deal to the Brundt Commission report to the United Nations in 1987, entitled, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. The report establishes three pillars of sustainability: Ecology, Economy and Equity (often referred to as the Three Es). You can also find the three pillars at work in the notion of the triple bottom line business, with the three bottom lines being People, Planet, Profit, as attributed to John Elkington.  The work I do for the nonprofit PLACE promotes the Three Es. We’re community builders, known for developing sustainable places for the arts and economic development. PLACE often uses the shorthand, “we build sustainable communities,” prompting questions like “what is sustainable?” and “what is community?” Even as an organization actively engaged in “sustainability,” we throw the term around as though everyone agrees on its meaning. It’s almost as if the term has come to be defined by its very absence of definition; like Justice Potter Stewarts’ definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
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    Take our 1-Question Survey

    We have joined a Princeton project, All Our Ideas, to generate data that we can use to build better communities. Just take our one-question survey. Answer as many times as often as you like, and see the results in real time. It's fun, and it will help us improve our important work.  Share it with everybody, because everybody's opinion about community is valuable.  Thanks in advance.  Chris
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Showing 3 reactions

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  • commented 2017-02-24 08:09:18 -0600
    I was able to briefly attend the presentation last night. I LOVE THIS! SLP thank you for bringing PLACE to our community. Love the footprint and the density to compliment our existing neighborhoods.
  • @PLACEteam tweeted this page. 2016-11-09 18:10:21 -0600
    PLACE is a nonprofit developer building affordable, sustainable communities where people can live, work and create.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-10-28 01:39:21 -0500
    PLACE is a nonprofit developer building affordable, sustainable communities.

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