About Connect the Dots - Connect The Dots Insights
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Connect the Dots values collaboration, equity, impact, and specializes in innovating participatory processes to connect diverse voices to decision-making.

Our mission is to build meaningful engagement and outreach methods that elevate community voices in participatory processes. Through our creative and iterative approach, we incorporate education and intentionally-designed interactions to ensure these processes are inclusive, accessible, and representative.


We are an impact-driven, fully women-owned firm that specializes in civic and community engagement. We build consultative processes based on data that help organizations meaningfully engage with their stakeholders to move projects forward with confidence and trust. We work alongside local partners to craft insight-driven and iterative engagement processes that foster participation, build capacity, and re-imagine the future of our communities.


Connect the Dots was founded on the basis of finding, connecting, and amplifying voices that have been historically underrepresented in planning and design processes. We believe in a world where all citizens are involved in designing their cities and spaces, and where communities themselves have the means to control and sustain their environments. We have seen first hand how direct involvement and thoughtful communication surrounding complex issues leads to stronger community support and a lasting sense of ownership. 


The careful and collaborative engagement of all voices is critical to forming positive responses to systemic challenges. As a result, we have a wide range of experience working with public and private sector entities to co-design with stakeholders to enable decisions that drive bold and equitable solutions.


Our History

Marisa Denker founded Connect the Dots (CTD), with her co-founder, Naomi Murphy, in Ireland in 2016. CTD has grown from a small Fulbright project to a firm working internationally to bring individuals and organizations together to co-design the future of our cities.


Exploring a paradox in post-crash Dublin: underused vacant spaces, Marisa and Naomi realized that the various stakeholders (city officials, landlords, tenants, even squatters) were siloed and not collaborating. They developed a unique, data-driven methodology to build trust, gather insights, and co-design solutions for seemingly unfixable city challenges. Their success in bringing people to the table spread and demand for their innovative approach grew. The two soon left their jobs and took the leap to formalize Connect the Dots as a business.


Within a few years, CTD went from crowd-funded engagement efforts to working directly with Ireland’s Congress and National Transport Authority. Marisa brought CTD to Philadelphia in mid-2019 and quickly built partnerships with leading organizations such as Project for Public Spaces, collaborated with Comcast, the City of Philadelphia, and other large entities. The team has expanded quickly to meet the needs of planning processes across the East Coast, working from Maryland to Maine.


CTD’s mission is to build better cities and neighborhoods through inclusive, insight-driven stakeholder engagement. We help community, private and public sector partners to develop creative solutions that make cities more livable, vibrant and equitable. Through their unique engagement process, CTD is working to make sure community voices are heard in issues that matter most to changing cities-  enabling new cycleways, pedestrianization efforts, recovery initiatives for key main streets, reimagined transportation, affordable housing, vision plans for major districts, long term comprehensive planning and more – all created with, for, and by communities.


Want to hear more about our origins? Read an interview with our founder Marisa about how CTD got started.