The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced a ten-year commitment to develop design and technology solutions for cities that address challenges faced on public health, sustainability, and resiliency to natural disasters. AIA EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, announced the Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, where more than 1,000 global leaders are gathering to address the theme, “Designing for Impact.”
“This commitment by the AIA represents an all-out effort to demonstrate the link between building design and the health of building occupants,” said Ivy. “And it will enable us to bring the force of design to bear in the public health arena and debate.”
The AIA commitment, involving both monetary and “in-kind’ contributions, features three initiatives:
1) University research on solutions-based outcomes: Three university-based projects have been selected for year-one funding that demonstrate the importance of design on public health. In addition, the 2013 Latrobe Prize through the AIA College of Fellows will fund research that aligns with this commitment.
2) Community Planning Process: The AIA will mobilize interdisciplinary university teams engaged with community and professional partners in one of the world’s largest cities to address complex problems using design thinking and technology innovation.
3) Show Us Your APPtitude hackathon: The hack-a-thon, in which computer experts gather to come up with the most creative app or technology based solution to a given need or problem, springboards from the community planning process by providing related design and technology solutions. Students and other participants from a variety of disciplines will have the opportunity to compete for a prize that recognizes achievable, inventive solutions.
The recipients of the first-ever Decade of Design research grants are:
1) Texas A&M University: Evaluating Health Benefits of Liveable Communities: Toolkit for measuring the health impacts of walkable communities, validated with an empirical study of a LEED for Neighborhood Development project in Austin.
2) University of Arkansas: Fayetteville 2030: Creating Food City Scenario Plan: The study of planning possibilities and design solutions for creating a local food infrastructure while accommodating a quickly growing population.
3) University of New Mexico: Establishing Interdisciplinary Health-Architecture Curriculum: Pilot program to develop a framework for implementing a three-year interdisciplinary program for addressing health issues in local neighborhoods.
These research projects launch the AIA’s long-term commitment to advance public health through design in the United States and beyond. As communities across the globe face increasingly complex challenges to their quality of life, the AIA has chosen to work with other partners within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in search of innovative solutions. Partners and sponsors already signed up include the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The AIA expects will announce additional sponsors in the near future.