AIA Launches “Blueprint for America”

Washington, DC, May 22, 2006 — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today launched a nationwide community service program titled “Blueprint for America: A Gift to the Nation” by funding the first 60 grants for collaborative visioning initiatives between AIA architects and their communities created to produce a shared vision for a more livable future. The AIA will provide two million dollars in the next six months to fund up to 200 grants. The Blueprint for America initiative is the primary program of AIA150, a yearlong observance in 2007 that will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the AIA. The theme of AIA150 is “Celebrating the Past, Designing the Future.” However, the main focus of the anniversary will be the Blueprint for America, a nationwide initiative empowering citizens to share in creating a vision for their communities’ design priorities. From Lubbock to Rhode Island, Birmingham to Puerto Rico, AIA architects and members in more than 160 communities will participate in Blueprint initiatives that utilize community engagement, in a collaborative process, and quality design as keys to improving a community’s livability. Blueprint initiatives are a gift to the community from the members of the AIA, and the members’ participation in the initiative is provided at no fee. “The Blueprint for America is primarily about a vision of what’s possible for communities,” said AIA President Kate Schwennsen, FAIA. “It’s about helping communities see what is possible when architects, mayors and other civic leaders, and fellow citizens work together to tackle such issues as brownfields, accessibility for the disabled, affordable housing, sprawl, and environmental sustainability,” she added. “The Blueprint for America, a keystone program of the AIA’s 150th anniversary, is an extraordinary opportunity to make a significant, substantive difference in the future of our nation's communities, and AIA members, working through their state and local components, are key to the program's success,” said George H. Miller, FAIA, chair of AIA150. “We’ve taken on the task of launching these initiatives and uniting architects in service to their communities by providing the resources necessary for this bold undertaking to be successful,” he added. “With the launching of this community service initiative, a simple but clear message emerges,” said Schwennsen. “The Blueprint for America is about doing things with your community, not for it. While the distinction may seem minor, indeed it can change the way the entire community process works,” she added. Of the 60 initiatives selected to receive funding grants, the issues addressed include revitalizing a downtown, designing a master plan to save a historic community, dealing with homelessness, working with state legislators to build a coalition focused on green design, and rezoning land along a light-rail system. The following selected initiatives received funding grants: AIA Columbus, Ohio: Multimodal Transit Station Design (MTSD) Initiative In 2007 the AIA Columbus Livable Communities Committee will implement its seventh community design charrette – “MTSD Initiative.” The charrette will focus on developing passenger facilities that bring together multiple forms of transportation (air transportation, light rail, buses, streetcars, taxis, rental cars, bikeways, etc.) at three or four locations. The initiative will focus on a downtown site, an urban neighborhood, an established suburban neighborhood, and an airport site. AIA Nebraska: The Flatwater Metroplex: Envisioning Regional Design This AIA member initiative will engage regional stakeholders in a collaborative series of local forums and charrettes in which architects, citizens, and community leaders will come together to address a region’s distinct needs. AIA architects will lead and facilitate the creation of smart growth visions that promote regional-scale sustainability.

Related Topics:The American Institute of Architects