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      AIA Announces 2012 Sustainability Program for Communities

      Contact: John Schneidawind

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – January 10, 2012
      – Today, the American Institute of Architects announced that 7 communities have been selected for its Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program. The SDAT 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.

      2012 SDAT Communities

      This year’s SDAT recipients will include:

      Augusta, Georgia
      Austin, Texas
      Sipaulovi Village, Arizona
      South Hadley, Massachusetts
      Springfield, Illinois
      Stanwood, Washington
      Wenatchee, Washington

      More detail on the nature of each project in each community can be found here:

      “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 Program
      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.

      Getting Results
      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.

      SDAT Process
      The 2011 SDAT jurisdictions were selected after submitting a formal application to the AIA’s review panel outlining the key challenges facing their community. The SDAT process includes the following elements:

      • Preliminary/scoping visit from the AIA Team Leader and national staff;
      • A 3-day charrette process with a national team of 6-8 members working collaboratively with the community;
      • A summary report highlighting the team’s final recommendations and policy suggestions;
      • Ongoing, ad hoc consultations after the process via email and conference call.

      For more information on the program:

      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


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