Heart & Soul Research

Planning for Community Heart & Soul: A Review of Processes & Practitioners

by Rebecca Sanborn Stone

with Helen Whyte



This research publication from the Orton Family Foundation is a compendium of resources to help communities discover, protect, and grow their heart and soul—the unique attributes that citizens value most and that contribute to a sense of place. Communities have long been exploring those attributes and seeking ways to protect them, but we lack a common vocabulary and understanding of creative strategies and tools for expanding this work.

Planning for Community Heart & Soul: A Review of Processese & PractitionersWe include here examples of visioning, of towns seeking a sense of place, or of building community character, all of which address the same values that we label "heart and soul." The Foundation hopes that this research will help communities and planners find innonvative strategies and new ideas among the many the successful projects we discovered in the process of writing.

For an overview of the research question, current state of the field, and review of the research findings, we recommend that you first download the Review section of the document. Turn to the Appendices for a more in-depth look at specific references or aspects of the field (such as Case Studies or Tools); each appendix contains summaries of the resources mentioned in the Review, along with documentation and contact information where available.


Download the document as a single PDF file, or as individual chapters >

Table of Contents

Review of Resources, Trends, and Issues (1.7 MB)
Appendix 1 - Case Studies (2.3 MB)
Appendix 2 - Processes  (1.0 MB)
Appendix 3 - Organizations (947 KB)
Appendix 4 - Tools (3.3 MB)
Appendix 5 - New Frontiers (214 KB)
Appendix 6 - Annotated Bibliography (506 KB)

Entire document (9.75 MB)

The resources given here are by no means a complete representation of all relevant organizations, tools and cases; they are intended only to provide an overview of the field. Community planning resources are changing and expanding daily, and we expect to update this research periodically to include new ideas and examples. If you are aware of a resource that you feel should be profiled here, please email us at communications [@] orton.org. The summaries and reviews are based on the best available information at the time of publication; we welcome corrections to facts presented here. 

Readers are welcome to use and share this research individually, but anyone wishing to copy and distribute all or part of the document must contact the Foundation for permisison. Please see our Terms of Use for full details.

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