The American Architectural Foundation (AAF), in association with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, hosted the National Green Schools Design Summit March 7–9, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Through the Summit, AAF aimed to educate and inspire local leaders working to create cities and schools capable of sustaining the next generation of Americans.

Participants followed one of two tracks, which ultimately came together on the final day of the Summit. Design workshops allowed four-person teams made up of city and school leaders (mayors, superintendents, and others) to immerse themselves in a green school case study from their communities. Nationally recognized sustainability architects, planners, and education facility designers teamed with them to develop tailor-made solutions. Cities represented included:

Bismarck, ND
Charleston, SC
Philadelphia, PA
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT

A second group composed of national thought leaders in education and design convened for a forum exploring the local-level impact of effective partnerships between cities, school districts, national education organizations, and the federal government. National and federal partners including the Department of Education, the White House’s Center for Environmental Quality, and the Coalition for Green Schools provided updates on new thinking and innovative solutions.

Overall, the Summit empowered mayors and superintendents to use design as a tool to improve their communities and support the educational success of students. This event was AAF’s response to the challenge made to participants at USGBC’s Greening of America’s Schools Summit.

The report from the Greening of America’s Schools Summit states: “Few issues facing our society are more urgent than creating schools that are healthy, conducive to learning and sustainable. Yet our schools are often unhealthy and neglected, impairing our children’s learning and undercutting our educational system. Through the greening of America’s schools, we have the chance to improve the health and education of our children, inspire future leaders and create a stronger America. We know the only way forward is together.”

AAF agrees. Forward.

To follow the conversation on Twitter use #GSDS2012. To continue to learn more about AAF’s events, news, and articles, follow us at @AAFDesign.

The National Green Schools Design Summit is presented by the American Architectural Foundation, in association with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Posted in: 12 Design Education, Adaptive Reuse, Center for the Advancement of Architecture, Civic Leaders + Government, Community Engagement, Design for Learning, Design Leadership, Great Schools by Design, News, Partnerships, Print, Public Spaces, School Design, Sustainability, Technology

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.