AIA Selects 7 Communities for Community Assistance Program to Promote Long-term Sustainability Print
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 08:11

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Communities by Design has selected Allegheny County, Pa., Allentown, Pa., Bridgeport, Conn., Coos Bay, Ore., Ithaca, N.Y., Oxford, Miss. and Portland, Maine  as seven communities to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program in 2010. 

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.
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“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 Joel Mills, director of the AIA Center for Communities by Design. 

An architect-led team of professionals including planners, hydrologists, economic development specialists, and others will be selected based on their credentials and the specific needs of each community.  The SDAT will work in conjunction with local stakeholders to help shape the community’s strategy to increase sustainability.  To provide the most objective assessment, team members volunteer their time and expertise and are selected from areas outside the project communities. 

SDAT program elements

The communities were selected after submitting an application to the 2009 SDAT review panel 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.

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