Since 2020, Thriving Places Collaborative, LLC, has helped community organizations ensure their placemaking project ideas come to fruition in the Greater Boston-Providence Area. We coordinate all elements of a project with a collaborative spirit and sense of adventure. Thriving Places is a women-owned and disability-owned business,
Jill Eshelman, PhD
Jill is a community researcher and program evaluator who focuses on forging connections between people and art, nature and the built environment in their communities. Her work evaluates ways organizations can effectively engage in placemaking and placekeeping strategies, even in the face of political or economic barriers. She utilizes a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches in order to understand stakeholder perspectives.
She is committed to supporting the creation of playful, culturally resonant communities for all people and advocates for fair and affordable housing policies, immigration rights, anti-racism, LGBTQ rights, and gender equality.
Jill earned her MA and PhD in Sociology at Northeastern University. As a Doctoral Researcher, she studied community gardens and their implications for social, environmental, and food justices. She also holds a BA in Sociology and Spanish education from Calvin University.
Personal Mission Statement: Facilitate the creative expression and connection of local residents in their communities and create equal access to environmental resources in urban places
Swiss Army Knife Skills: data collection and analysis, program evaluation, budget management, grant writing, interviews, focus groups, surveys
Superpowers: groundedness, intuition, and communication
We believe that the most interesting places contain an element of surprise that differentiates them from anywhere else in the world. We help guide community members through the creative process of expressing their local identities.
We believe that life is more fun when cities and towns have festive spaces that reflect the culture and values of a neighborhood. We enjoy creating places for memorable community events and celebrations.
We believe placemaking is an ecological practice that helps transform underutilized urban space and prevents destruction of natural habitats. We focus on ecologically regenerative practices like using renewable materials, native plants, and design decisions that honor the well-being of plants, animals, and people.
We believe all people are worthy of a welcoming experience in public space. We prioritize amplifying voices of historically marginalized communities such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, disabled people, and the LGBTQ+ community in every project.
We believe that visiting a place should feel like an adventure and that the transformation of a place should be a joyful and imaginative process too! We chart out a plan and roadmap, but we dive in with our minds and hearts open as we see where the adventure takes us.
We believe that the best places are not only attractive enough to catch your eye but also interactive enough to make you want to stay a while! We focus on engaging multiple stakeholders to assure that the spaces we create will continue to serve the needs of the community for many years to come.
We believe all places have their own spirit and that people, whether consciously or not, can sense the essence of that space -whether it's exciting and inspiring or calming and serene. We're invested in understanding the character of a space and bringing our enthusiasm into every part of our work process.
We believe in building spaces together for the community, with the community. In addition to building partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, and residents, we also continue to build a network of technical experts who help us create vibrant places.