Creative Reaction Lab is a racial justice nonprofit that empowers residents to design better cities with action-based challenges and civic engagement.

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We believe in being community-led and democratic. Our annual programs will address the issues you define as priorities. So tell us, "What would you do to design a healthier, safer, and more equitable city?"

give 1-minute of your time and tell us what you would do.


We're putting racial equity back into the hands of city residents.


Racial inequity exists by design, and therefore, only intentional design can dismantle it.

In 2015, Brown University named Saint Louis the fifth most segregated city in the nation, only behind Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. According to Forward Through Ferguson (2016) and For the Sake of All (2015), if you live in Saint Louis County and are White, you can statistically expect to live 79.9 years. If you are Black, your life expectancy is 73.9 years. The difference? Zip codes. And, Saint Louis is not the only city in which racial inequity is so pronounced. Disparities are built into our communities through systems of policy, education, housing, healthcare, etc., and they thrive because of the barriers that have been built between our citizens. At Creative Reaction Lab, we agree with Dr. Atyia Martin, Chief Resilience Officer of Boston, that “social disconnection in cities are in response to social injustices.” As recent protests around the nation have indicated, the current services, programs, and policies in place to fight racial injustices are ill-informed and ineffective. With 53% of the United States’ population expected to be made up of people of color by 2050 (U.S. Census), community-created and -led programs and policies are needed to decrease the equity gap. To holistically address this issue, it's time to put the power back into the hands of everyday residents and not just the elite few.


“Social disconnection in cities are in response to social injustices.”


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How we're fighting back. Fighting design with design. 

Creative Reaction Lab rallies, educates, and guides community members to design inclusive cities by developing solutions addressing racial inequities and injustices citizens define as priorities. Using immersive experiences, Creative Reaction Lab organizes people representing different expertise, perspectives, and demographics to learn and dialogue about racial inequities and civic engagement, and then, co-creating solutions to pilot and scale. 

Areas of Engagement.


Child Well-Being & Education


Respect & Dignity


Health & Healthcare


Civic Engagement


Criminal Justice


Mental Health


Housing & Homelessness


Job Access & Employment

We see the importance of dismantling racism through macro approaches, such as policy changes, and micro approaches, including public art programs. To us, we can’t create an equitable society without small and big changes, and this includes supporting and amplifying community-led, people-centered solutions.

Our civic engagement process.

Phase 1. democratic Idea Crowdsourcing.

Through digital campaigning, workshops, and outreach initiatives, community members share their ideas on how to improve their city. Reactions and responses will dictate the city issues Creative Reaction Lab will address throughout the year. 

Phase 2. Solution Development.

Convening of community to develop solutions in response to resident-chosen topics.


Program cohorts receive mentorship, partnership, and funding support to turn ideas into actionable solutions.


Implementation of solution in city.

We believe in the power of cities to create systemic and personal transformation. Therefore, our immersive experiences build upon the foundation of urban areas with our programming not being anchored to one community, but within a diverse array of institutions (e.g. community centers, charter schools, corporations, and innovation districts). 

Why immersive experiences? 

Creative Reaction Lab was founded on the belief that immersion and action lead to personal and community-wide transformation. Attending a training is not enough. Therefore, our programming are rooted in participatory engagement with interactive activities being the foundation of our program model. We strive to move beyond ideas and education to the development of actionable solutions.


Community-Led, Civic Solutions. 

immersive experience: breakthrough | racial inequality and police brutality

Creative Reaction Lab was founded in response to the unrest in Ferguson, MO (August 2014) in the form of a 24-hour Breakthrough Experience. From the first lab focused on racial inequality and police brutality, all five pitched projects were activated throughout the St. Louis region:  Cards Against Brutality, Connected for Justice, Look Beyond Your Fear Guerilla Art WarfareVibe Switch Campaign, and The Red Table Project. These projects ranged from public art efforts to educational programs. 


city highlight

Design to Better [Saint Louis, MO]

Creative Reaction Lab is on-the-ground in Saint Louis, MO asking community members, "What would you do to design a healthier, safer, and more equitable Saint Louis?" From rallying community members via #designtobetter and interactive workshops to public art and design outreach, we are bringing community voice back to city resiliency. But beyond awareness, St. Louis residents will collaborate to co-create solutions in response to the most frequently mentioned issue hindering city growth and improvement. 

outside of saint louis, mo

Talk with us about bringing our holistic Design to Better [Our City] process to your city. Before we can design more equitable and resilient cities, first we must learn the opportunities for improvement while rallying the community to lead. Contact us for more information. 

in saint louis, mo

Tell us what would you do to design a healthier, safer, and more equitable Saint Louis. 



  2. Download our card and share your photo via #DesigntoBetter



community partners

  • Venture Cafe
  • We Stories
  • COCA
  • The Y

this problem is more than one person, company, or city.

Join us.


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