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AIA Publishes 14 Research Reports on Design and Health

Following up on the AIA’s Call for Abstracts on “The Value of Design”, Architect Magazine recently reported on the outcomes from the summit on Design and Health. Hosted by the AIA, the American Institute of Architects Foundation (AIAF), and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in April, participants authored fourteen new research reports examining how design and public policy can “shape healthier environments, both built and natural environments.” Along with architectural university programs and practices, research collaborators included schools of public health and medicine and government agencies such as the Centers for Design Control and Prevention. The reports–available for free on the AIA’s site–document a range of successful design interventions and offer strategies for creating “active, connected, toxin-free, optimized, and equitable spaces for the 21st century.”

Click here to read the full article on the AIA’s Design and Health Initiative, online at AIA.org.

PID Institute Releases 2015 Training Schedule


Launched in 2011, the Public Interest Design Institute has held 23 in-depth training sessions to architecture and design professionals around the US. Now entering it’s fifth year, the team behind PIDI–Bryan Bell and Design Corps–has released a lineup of six sessions to take place during the first half of 2015. During the two-day event, attendees learn methods on “how design can address the critical issues faced by communities” through case-studies and best practices from leaders in the field. The curriculum is formed around the Social Economic Environmental Design® (SEED) metric, which was recently added as an option to obtain LEED’s pilot Social Equity Credit. Along with the training, continuing education credits are available for AIA members along with certification in the SEED process.

Washington, DC – January 16-17, 2015

Brownsville, TX – January 30-31, 2015

Ames, IA – March 6-7, 2015

Detroit, MI – April 13-14, 2015

Dallas, TX – May 22-23, 2015

Pittsburgh, PA – June 5-6, 2015

Click here to learn more and register to attend an upcoming PID Training Program, online at PublicInterestDesign.com.

Reminder: Rudy Bruner Award Entries Due 12/9


Entries to the 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence are due tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9th. As a biennial celebration of urban places distinguished by quality design and social and economic contributions, architecture, urban design and planning project entries must be a real place, not just a plan or a program, and located in the 48 contiguous United States. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded to use towards the project.

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) seeks to promote innovative thinking about the built environment and advance conversation about making cities better. The national award discovers and celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design along with their social and economic contributions to our nation’s cities. The award was founded in 1986 by architect and developer Simeon Bruner and named in honor of his late father.

Click here to learn more and enter the 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence by December 9th, online at BrunerFoundation.org.

CUP’s new design guide helps protect U.S. immigrants


In late November, President Obama announced a broad executive action on immigration that could shield nearly half of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now believed to be in the U.S. from deportation. However, it remains to be seen what effects this will have on the immigration courts. In a timely move, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a nonprofit organization that uses design to foster social impact and civic engagement, partnered with the Immigration Defense Project to launch a new website in October on this very issue. “Don’t Get Iced” is a digital choose-your-own adventure to help non-citizens, their families, and lawyers navigate the complicated legal system and avoid deportation.

Getting arrested can have serious consequences for non-citizens living in the United States. Even a minor crime or dismissed case could lead to deportation. But many non-citizens, their families, and even the lawyers representing them, don’t know about the potential immigration consequences of their cases. An uninformed decision can be the difference between going home or being deported. The site shows what can happen to non-citizens who have been arrested and also provides information for lawyers to learn how to better advise their non-citizen clients.

Click here to learn more about “Don’t Get Iced,” or read about CUP’s Public Access Design, online at Welcometocup.org

Book: ‘The Sustainist Design Guide’ Reviewed


Guest post written by Maren Maier, Founder and Editor of Creative States

In 2010, cultural theorist Michiel Schwarz and Dutch designer Joost Elffers coined a new term called “Sustainism.” In their ensuing book, “Sustainism is the New Modernism: A Cultural Manifesto for the Sustainist Era,” they eloquently articulated a larger cultural shift and burgeoning movement that has since gained influence around the world – a new ethos of design that is socially and environmentally responsible, collaborative and inclusive, tech savvy and democratically networked, global and local.

Recently, Schwarz partnered with designer Diana Krabbendam to create “The Sustainist Design Guide,” which takes a deeper look at the contours of the movement. Positioning it as a crossover between design for sustainability and design for social impact, they assign ‘sustainism’ four distinct design qualities – sharing, connectedness, localism, and proportionality. Through design briefs and case studies ranging from humanitarian relief to fair products and community resilience, the duo offer designers helpful examples and practical guidelines for incorporating these emerging qualities into their work.


New Exhibit on “EMPOWERMENT – Social Change Through Building”


A new exhibition opened last week at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s premier Centre for Design and Architecture in the heart of Glasgow. Open through March 1, 2015 EMPOWERMENT: Social Change Through Building” explores the role of social impact architecture throughout the developing world. It shares projects by humanitarian design organization Orkidstudio, which uses architecture to empower and enable communities where architectural input is vastly absent. The exhibition introduces commentary and essays from locals, student volunteers and renowned professionals–including James Mitchell, Guylee Simmonds, Tom Woodward, Grace Mark, David Fleck, Peter Rich, Mhairi McVicar, Maurice Mitchell, David Cole, Yutaka Sho, Jason Moses, Jo Ashbridge, Christopher Platt, and our own editor Katie Crepeau–to debate the role of architecture as a process rather than a product, examining its impact in some of the world’s most deprived and challenging contexts.

‘Architecture is for everybody’ is probably a mantra which every architect would support, yet the profession currently serves around 1% of the global population. It comes as no surprise either to find that this largely equates to the wealthiest 1%. The ‘EMPOWERMENT’ exhibition at the Lighthouse explores how architecture, and indeed how architects, can engage a wider population and play a part in affecting long term social change that relies upon and starts to redefine the practice of architecture as something far more entrepreneurial and socially conscious than its current ailing state.

Click here to learn more about the EMPOWERMENT exhibition, online at thelighthouse.co.uk.

Profile: Preserve Langmusi Opens in Tibet


Desertification from rapidly changing weather patterns is a serious issue in the vulnerable grassland areas surrounding Lhamo – a town bordering Sichuan and Gansu Provinces in the Amdo region of Tibet. This past summer, NGO Winrock International invited a team of five students from the University of Virginia to design and build an eco-community center as a place of environmental education and dialogue for locals, nomads, and tourists who frequent the breathtaking area. During a five-week period, local architects and carpenters worked alongside the students to create Preserve Langmusi. The structure incorporates traditional building techniques and materials – along with brightly colored bottles from nearby polluted streams – that blend into the local context.

As nomads are the primary inhabitants of the area with their grazing yaks and sheep, it is important that their voices are heard in finding a solution in reversing desertification in the grasslands. Established as a space that sparks conversation about trash, environmental planning, and unified efforts among nomads – the center aims to prevent the desertification of Tibetan grasslands and reduce the prevalence of litter in local streams. The new structure includes a learning library that will offer environmental books to magnify the efforts of the eco-community center.

Click here to learn more about Preserve Langmusi, online PreserveLangmusi.Wordpress.com.

Support The Charlie Cart Project on Kickstarter


For the past 15 years, educator Carolyn Federman has helped build garden programs with the Edible Schoolyard Project, and teaching kids to cook. While school gardens have gone mainstream, cooking in public schools is often still too difficult and expensive. After years of scrambling together hotplates and plastic bins, Carolyn wanted to find a better way. In collaboration with Brian Dougherty at Celery Design and expert advisors, such as Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, the team founded The Charlie Cart Project to bring a kitchen to every classroom. Help Carolyn reach her pledged goal of $40,000 by this Friday and fulfill her dream – to give a whole generation of kids direct experience with healthy food.

The Charlie Cart Project packages everything needed for high-quality cooking and nutrition programs in a simple-to-use, streamlined kit for educators everywhere. Just as hands-on learning develops critical thinking and promotes collaboration in subjects like science and math, cooking projects engage all the senses to reinforce academic concepts, influence attitudes about food, and foster lifelong healthy habits. The Charlie Cart Project enriches programs where school gardens or limited cooking are already in place, and brings hands-on learning to schools that are just getting started with food education.

Click here to learn more, and support The Charlie Cart Project by Friday, December 5 2014 8:41 AM ET, online at Kickstarter.org

“Four Steps to Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage”


ArchDaily recently featured a new McKinsey & Company report on global affordable housing. A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge offers a sobering assessment of the global crisis, stating adequate and affordable housing could be out of reach for more than 1.6 billion people within a decade. In the report, MicKinsey proposes four critical pathways in providing affordable housing to families across socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities, and launches a 2025 Housing Challenge to accelerate the development of sustainable solutions.

The proposed blueprint is one of ascending goals, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with a four-tiered plan targeted towards households earning 80% or less of the median income for any given region. The program is designed to meet McKinsey’s 2025 Housing Challenge which aims to provide housing to a projected 440 million households worldwide within ten years through community engagement,  gathering funding, appropriate delivery of housing models, and creation of governmental infrastructure to sustain housing.

Click here to read “Four Steps to Fix the Global Affordable Housing Shortage” on ArchDaily.com, or click here to download the full report on McKinsey.com.

Reminder: Redefining Home Design Challenge Starts Today


The Home Matters initiative is opening registration today, December 2nd for its Re-defining Home: A Design Challenge on affordable housing. Multidisciplinary teams are invited to submit designs that go beyond the idea of shelter and “animate the connections between housing and other important social factors of community life.” Features and services in each proposal should speak to the following values: health, education, individual success, public safety, and a strong economy, ensuring that “every American lives in a safe, nurturing environment with access to education, healthcare, public spaces and community services.” A total of $18,000 will be awarded to the three final projects. Submissions are due May 1st, 2015.

The challenge is an initiative between eleven design organizations–AIA Austin, AIA Chicago, AIA Los Angeles, AIA New Orleans, American Architecture Foundation, Autodesk Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, Public Architecture, SPUR, and Urban Land Institute.

Click here to learn more and register for the challenge, online at HomeMattersAmerica.com.