Today, the American Institute of Architects announced that 7 communities have been selected for its Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program. The program represents a significant institutional investment in public service work to assist communities in developing policy frameworks and long-term sustainability plans. Since 2005, the program has provided technical assistance to 54 communities across 34 states.
This year’s SDAT recipients will include: Augusta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Sipaulovi Village, Arizona; South Hadley, Massachusetts; Springfield, Illinois; Stanwood, Washington; and Wenatchee, Washington.
“This year’s SDAT recipients present a full range of community types and geographic settings, from urban and suburban settings to rural communities,” said Erin Simmons, Director of Design Assistance. “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.”
The SDAT is a collaborative program that brings together multidisciplinary teams of professionals from across the country to work with residents, community stakeholders and decision-makers through an intensive charrette planning process. SDAT teams are composed of volunteer professionals representing a range of disciplines customized to match local needs, including architects, urban design professionals, economic development experts, land use attorneys, and others. The goal of the program is to provide technical assistance and process expertise to help communities develop a vision and framework for partnerships to address their key issues. The approach is designed to address many of the common challenges communities face by producing long-term sustainability plans that are realistic and reflect each community’s unique context.
Through the Design Assistance program, over 200 professionals from 30 disciplines have provided millions of dollars in professional pro bono services to communities across the country. To date, the program has helped tens of thousands of citizens envision more sustainable communities and build innovative partnerships to achieve success. The Design Assistance program has galvanized hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment in communities across the country. Its processes have led to numerous award citations, and in 2010 the Center for Communities by Design was named Organization of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation for its impact on communities and contributions to the field.