Rural Well-Being Design

How might we improve happiness and well-being in and around Scottsville, Virginia?

Role: Designer and project co-lead
Type of Work: Service & system design
Date: October - December 2019
Organization: Masamichi Souzou

Collaborators: Nuzi Barkatall; Town of Scottsville, Virginia


The Health Equity and Access in Rural Regions (HEARR) Initiative supported by the Mayor’s Office in Scottsville, VA was exploring health disparities in rural areas, specifically within the ten-mile radius of Scottsville, VA. The group was struggling to understand what makes the community a healthy place to live and overall what they can do to impact well-being in their area.


We supported HEARR on their ongoing research activities and helped them complete primary research, including onsite interviews and observations of the current state of health and well-being. The goal was to collaboratively design new service concepts and prepare them to be tested and prototyped.

After four months we identified insights focusing on pain points & opportunity areas around current services & experiences. We developed stakeholder maps, personas, and journey maps around the health and happiness of the citizens of Scottsville and the surrounding area. Later, 64 future state reccomendations (e.g. new school start time policy changes)  were proposed to improve the current situation and align with the cities ongoing work. 

Meaningful Change

Together, we ran a public workshop to gather insights and feedback from citizens from the orginial list of reecomdnations to help improve citizen happiness and well-being, ranging from improving air quality to creating a better sense of community. Seven concepts were later outlined in detail for the community to develop further. The HEARR team is currently testing these concepts and integrating additional ideas into their work (e.g. Town Council committee work). 

@ 2020  Elliott Wortham