AIA selects 6 communities for long-term sustainability program

March 01, 2011

Washington, D.C., March 1, 2011 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced it has selected 6 communities throughout the country to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program in 2011. The communities selected are Shelburne, Vt., Apple Valley, Mn., Pikes Peak Region, Co., Southwest DeKalb County, Ga., Bastrop, Tx., and Santa Rosa, Ca.

The AIA also announced that the City of New Orleans had also been selected to receive technical assistance under the Design Assistance Team program, a project that will occur in conjunction with the commencement of the AIA’s annual convention in New Orleans in May.

The SDAT program represents a significant institutional investment by the AIA in public service work to assist communities in developing policy frameworks and long term sustainability plans. Since 2005, the AIA has provided technical assistance to 47 communities across more than 30 states.

“As the SDAT program has evolved, communities all over the country have embraced and implemented the detailed solutions for neighborhood revitalization, transportation infrastructure challenges and economic development that our volunteer teams have provided after conducting background research and an intensive design and planning charette,” said Erin Simmons, director, AIA Design Assistance.

The collaborative SDAT brings together architects and other professionals assembled from across the country to provide a roadmap for communities seeking to improve their sustainability – as defined by a community’s ability to meet the environmental, economic, and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The SDAT will work with local stakeholders to help the community create a plan for its sustainable future. To provide the most objective assessment, team members volunteer their time and expertise and are selected from areas outside the project communities.

“This year’s SDAT recipients present a full range of community types and geographic settings, from urban and suburban settings to rural communities,” said Simmons. “Each of these jurisdictions has demonstrated a unique commitment to building civic partnerships and engaging the community in a vision for a more sustainable future.”

SDAT program elements

The communities were selected after submitting an application to the Center for Communities by Design outlining the economic, environmental, and social equity challenges facing their region. The SDAT community assistance program provides the selected communities with these components:

                + Preliminary/scoping visit

                + Three-day visit from a multidisciplinary team

                + A report highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the community with regards to sustainability, along with the opportunities and obstacles to change

                + Consultations after the three-day visit (typically by phone or email)

                + To learn more about the AIA Center for Communities by Design or the SDAT program visit:  http://www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAS075425

About the AIA Center for Communities by Design

The Center for Communities by Design is the clearinghouse for the American Institute of Architects' many activities—from promoting sustainable design to leading design based technical assistance projects in communities—that influence the quality of life in our nation's communities. The center is a nonpartisan forum that provides information, develops policy, creates partnerships, and assists in advocacy efforts to facilitate discussions of community design and inform choices for neighborhoods, cities, regions, and the nation.

About The American Institute of Architects

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

         
 

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