Points of Pride
We started out in 2015 with a simple proposition: small scale developers sharing their hard-won lessons with folks who wanted to try their own hand at development. Within 18 months we were delivering 15 trainings across the US each year and developing guide materials to communicate our curriculum. As of 2018, we had held events in 28 states and cultivated an alumni network that crossed cultural and economic divides. There are new buildings and rehabs in neighborhoods that need them as a result of our training. City governments are adapting their zoning as a result of our coaching. These early returns are validating because of the typically-slow pace of development projects and policy change. Beyond what has been accomplished, we are proud of the way we operate.
Showing a different way
We are motivated by a set of values and principles which mark the difference between giving to a place and taking from it. We have dedicated time and thought to articulating these principles and as a result, have outlined an alternative approach to development that cities hunger for. At a time when development often makes enemies of neighbors, we provide a way forward that puts tenants, residents, cities, and developers on the same team.
Growing by our own Rules
Our own development at as organization models IncDev principles. We started with the smallest steps we could - initially a couple powerpoint presentations - and gradually built a curriculum and faculty that has responded with each iteration to the needs of our students. We believe in locally-driven, small-scale development, so our Alliance of practitioners are deeply rooted in their own communities. We have grown our team to 22 people across 10 states who have hands-on, concurrent engagement in real estate development work. They dedicate a portion of their time to training others at our 15 trainings across the US each year. We have two full-time staff, directed by five volunteer board members, who coordinate a team of 15 faculty.
We largely serve people in lower-tier cities or low-status neighborhoods where real estate development might be minimal or is not being delivered by companies that share the values, culture, or economic status of locals. We are proud of the relationships we’ve built in cities and neighborhoods that feel left behind. We are even prouder of the courageous ways these cities are using our tools to chart their way toward stronger development. Please read about our project work here.
Working Where We're Needed
Helping Regulators Walk in Developers' Shoes
When it comes to regulatory barriers, we coach cities and institutions to calibrate their policy so that small-scale infill is permitted. This coaching work is not anti-regulation; it’s about making rules scale-sensitive so that small projects are not unintentionally and unfairly impeded.
We have taught dozens of city staff and legislators how to do a development pro forma and lay out a site plan. This hands-on experience playing Developer-for-a-Day has proven an effective way to help civil servants across disciplines understand how policy interacts and effects the folks who build our cities.
A Happy Size
We have been operating at our ideal capacity since 2017. Training sessions are scheduled six to twelve months in advance with no advertising budget, yet seats are always filled. We also host crowded conference sessions where industry colleagues are eager to learn how we’re actually implementing shared city-building aspirations.
We deliver training to 1250 people per year and provide educational lectures to an additional 2000 each year. We have held events in 28 states since launching in 2015 and our alumni represent 45 states.
Cross-disciplinary capacity building
We only go to cities that invite us and our hosting process prompts cities to form a ground team of IncDev advocates. These teams are cross-disciplinary, including folks who build, finance, and champion small scale real estate in each host city. By creating alliances and building organizing strength before an IncDev event even comes to town, these places are better prepared to support their cohort of small developers after training takes place.