Sustainable Cities Design Academy 11 Recap

Renewed optimism in civic engagement and appreciation for the unique character of place…that’s what AAF’s Center for Design & the City got when we engaged four public-private project teams from Atlanta, Detroit, Greenwood (MS), and Morristown (NJ) in a highly engaging and impactful Sustainable Cities Design Academy charrette in Washington, DC. The project teams collaborated with a team of 12 multi-disciplinary designers from a range of backgrounds (architects, environmental designers, landscape architects, planners, real estate developers, industrial economic development specialists, and urban designers) to investigate the following challenges in their on-going projects:

  • Atlanta: the revitalization of the Fulton Industrial Boulevard, the largest industrial corridor east of the Mississippi River;
  • Detroit: the planning, environmental remediation, and redevelopment of the Bloody Run Creek greenway;
  • Greenwood: the connecting of complimentary and complex comprehensive planning initiatives involving housing, recreation, economic development, and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures; and
  • Morristown: district-scale planning for new infill and rehabilitation of historic buildings and landscapes around the New Jersey Transit station.

The project teams and designers exchanged ideas around best practices in urban design, placemaking, phased financing, and authentic community engagement practices. Perhaps most importantly, the participants established a wider network of support, learning, and leadership to draw from when faced with opportunities to design better places. As resource team member Bill Cesanek reflected, ” It was wonderful to leave the routine behind and engage creatively, energetically, and thoughtfully with a wide range of expertise in sustainable planning and design and create improved options for our cities,” and Vivian Baker from the Morristown team seconded the sentiment and added, “SCDA was one of the best experiences in my professional life.”

See the slideshow below for images from this two-and-a-half-day event. Special thanks to United Technologies Corporation, our presenting sponsor, and to our friends and partners in the DC region for supporting this 11th engagement. Stay tuned for the 2014 Sustainable Cities Design Academy Call for Applications this fall.

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Posted in: AAF Culture, Center for Design & the City, Civic Leaders + Government, Community Engagement, Creative Placemaking, Design Leadership, Economic Development, Partnerships, Photo, Preservation, Print, Public Spaces, Sustainability, Sustainable Cities Design Academy, Transportation

The American Architectural Foundation has been dedicated to advancing the role of architecture and design in American society since its founding in 1943 by the American Institute of Architects.

In its 75 years in existence the Foundation’s work has taken many forms — from educational programming and exhibitions in its early years to large-scale design initiatives and programs —all of which serve to create a rich legacy.

As the managing partner of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design for twenty years, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors, the Foundation helped move the needle on design and cities. And, through its other signature programs like Save America’s Treasures in partnership with National Parks Service, the Sustainable Cities Design Academy, and Design for Learning, the Foundation has provided critical design leadership training and technical assistance to hundreds of elected officials, education leaders, business leaders, and other key decision makers in the design process.

In recent years, cities and civic leaders have embraced design and design thinking in a way that could not have been imagined when the Foundation begin its work back in 1943 — and AAF’s role in this transformation is a source of great pride for the Foundation. With this increased interest in the role of design in shaping our cities came a proliferation of new organizations to support and facilitate this cultural shift. These advances in the role of design in American society and changes in the nonprofit design sector, coupled with the departure of the organization’s longest-serving CEO, prompted the Foundation’s Board to embark on an intensive and lengthy process to examine the ongoing role and work of the Foundation.

As the Board of Regents reflected on the positive changes of the cultural value of design, the accomplishments of the Foundation, and how the legacy of the Foundation’s work is being carried out by its former staff in new roles and organizations across the country, they reached the conclusion that the American Architectural Foundation had accomplished what it set out to do. As a result, the Foundation began to complete its remaining programs and wind down its operations in the Summer of 2018 and the organization’s endowments have been distributed to allied organizations. The Foundation’s research and reports will remain available on its website as a resource to the field.

The Foundation’s work would not have been possible without the incredible talents of its many staff over the decades, the generous support of its funders, and the tireless dedication of its civic & design partners across the country. The Board remains deeply proud of the significant contributions Foundation has made in its 75-year history and would like to acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the efforts, dedication, and support from so many of you.