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American Architectural Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh to convene a National Summit on Design & Urban Mobility



Photo: Mayor William Peduto and AAF President and CEO Ron Bogle announce Pittsburgh will host the National Summit on Urban Mobility in May 2017.

Read the press release from the office of Mayor William Peduto here. 

PITTSBURGH, PA, November 10, 2016 – In May of 2017, the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), in association with Mayor William Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh, will convene a National Summit on Design & Urban Mobility focusing on the nexus of public policy, urban planning, and innovative technology.

Pittsburgh, the city with the first self-driving ride-sharing program on public streets, is a national leader for connected and autonomous vehicles and research. AAF, which leads national discussions on critical urban design and planning issues, has chosen Pittsburgh as the site for its National Summit on Design & Urban Mobility. The mission of this summit is to bring together the perspectives of leaders in public policy, urban design, and contemporary mobility to understand how this new technology can lead to a smarter and more equitable city, and will be included in a comprehensive national report.

“Access to quality transportation is the key to growth, and equitable opportunities, for cities and their residents. Pittsburgh has been at the forefront of efforts to use technology to expand these resources, and is thrilled to be the host for the Urban Mobility Summit,” Mayor William Peduto said.

“This is a great opportunity for us to think about how introducing autonomous transportation will change the way we design cities,” said AAF President and CEO Ronald E. Bogle. “For example, we can widen sidewalks, repurpose street lanes, increase the number of bike lanes, and greatly expand development opportunities. At this National Summit on Urban Mobility we will bring together urban planners, architects, transportation specialists, city officials, technology experts, and others to develop strategies, recommendations, and solutions to help cities prepare for this rapidly advancing mobility transformation.”

Pittsburgh’s relationship with innovation, transportation, infrastructure, and technology has been featured on the national stage. The city hosted the White House Frontiers conference that explored the future of innovation for Pittsburgh and the world and has received $10.9 million from the Department of Transportation through the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment program. The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Robotics Institute have put Pittsburgh at the forefront of research and robotics.

AAF is dedicated to the vibrant social, economic, and environmental future of cities. For the past 15 years, AAF has provided technical design assistance to local leaders; over the past two years it has engaged with mayors, city managers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and transportation experts to assess the opportunities and challenges presented by the introduction of transportation innovations, including autonomous transportation.

It is now time to elevate the conversation about this rapidly evolving technology and its impact on cities by bringing together the perspectives of public policy and urban design leaders with those at the forefront of this technology revolution.

“To us, connected and autonomous vehicles are a part of a complete streets vision of how we can make our streets work for people,” said Ray Gastil, Director of City Planning for the City of Pittsburgh.

The Summit is planned as a three-day event with over 120 invited nationally recognized delegates, including: current and former mayors, public policy and urban mobility experts, influential governmental officials at the local, state, and federal level; design professionals with urban design, transportation, engineering, and planning expertise; representatives from companies developing autonomous transportation technologies; and urban transportation systems.

The Summit will inform a comprehensive national report composed by AAF on strategies, recommendations, and further actions for city leaders.

For more information, please contact Matthew Despard via email or by phone at 202.787.1007.

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Posted in: Center for Design & the City, Civic Leaders + Government, Print, Technology, 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.