Our History

Thriving Cities Group started as a research project at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia in 2012 and then re-established itself as an independent initiative of IASC in 2016 called Thriving Cities.

Led by Dr. Josh Yates, Thriving Cities set out to work and learn in 10 cities from 2012-2017, engaging researchers, city leaders, philanthropists, and nonprofits around these questions about life in modern cities.

  • What does it mean to thrive?

  • What does it take to thrive?

  • Who gets to thrive?

Thriving Cities’ research lead to the creation of the Human Ecology Framework, an ecological view of community wealth and wellbeing that can help cities assess and identify strategic opportunities for engagement and investment.

In early 2018 Thriving Cities became an independent nonprofit organization (501c3) called Thriving Cities Group.

Today, Thriving Cities Group translates theory to practice through civic design, a multi-disciplinary approach that equips all - from the most powerful decision-maker to the least influential of our neighbors - with the tools and skills to work for the common good in their communities.

Thriving Cities Group Evolution

Thriving Cities Group offers three core programs:

  • City Craft, a new paradigm for civic design, training and resources for city institutional leaders; 

  • City Roundtable, a technology platform for redirecting community-based philanthropic investment; and, 

  • City Voice, a four-stage process for increasing neighborhood leadership over decisions affecting their community.