The Design Assistance Team Program


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Overview of the AIA's Design Assistance Team Program and the 'Snowball Effect' it creates in communities.

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The Design Assistance Team Program

  1. 1. The Design Assistance Team Program Presentation to the CACE Annual Meeting Minneapolis, Minnesota August 7, 2014
  2. 2. Since 1967…Collectively the DAT program, a public service of the AIA, represents over 1000 professionals from more than 30 disciplines providing millions of dollars in professional pro bono services to more than 200 communities across the country. The program has catalyzed over one billion dollars in new investment in just the past 5 years..
  3. 3. R/UDATs & SDATs
  4. 4. DAT Impacts in large cities over the years… • San Francisco (Embarcadero) • Portland (Pearl District) • Seattle (Downtown housing) • Denver (LoDo/16th Street mall) • Austin (Downtown Revitalization) • Santa Fe (Railyard Redevelopment/Park) • Process adaptation in UK and across Europe
  5. 5. SDAT vs. R/UDAT • SDAT is… – 3 day process – Costs $5,000 (AIA covers up to 15K team costs) – Community presentation – Report 2-3 months later • R/UDAT is… – 4.5 day process – Community covers cost of hosting the team – Community presentation – Report delivered on site
  6. 6. What distinguishes the DAT? • We are NOT: – Another Consultant Team – A process to produce a planning document • “Please don’t give us another plan. We have plenty – they all sit on the shelves. We need implementation strategies.” – Almost Every community – Government-focused – “Green”-focused – Building-focused • We ARE: – Public Service in the Public Interest • “Consultants work for somebody. Design Assistance Teams work for everybody.” – Action-Oriented – Community-focused – Holistic, Customized • “It’s about the space between the buildings, and the people that inhabit that space” – Catalytic, Momentum- generating
  7. 7. How Does the DAT Program help? • Transcends local political dynamics – moves beyond narrow interests and constituencies to broader, shared community interests • Re-defines public work to include the whole community and set the stage for civic leadership and partnership • Creates a broad sense of community ownership by collaborating on an authentic community process • Builds customized frameworks, action-oriented strategies and priorities • Positions a local jurisdiction for major investment (private, federal, etc)
  8. 8. “We have no public resources to implement” • Volunteerism = $171 billion (only 64 mill people) • Total Charitable Giving = $298.42 billion. • Non-profits = $300 billion in investment into local communities • Over half of all states have enacted legislation to enable private-sector participation in infrastructure projects, where there is an estimated $180 billion to be leveraged • Crowdfunding - $3 billion, and growing
  9. 9. The Snowball Effect “a figurative term for a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger and faster at every stage” Applied to a community, this is a transformational principle…
  10. 10. “You gave us hope. Back in 1992, your ideas seemed like dreams. Now we are living those dreams.” – Rick Smith, San Angelo Times-Standard, 2012
  11. 11. CASE STUDY: Newport, Vermont 2009 R/UDAT Project
  12. 12. Newport – 2 year ‘snowball’ • Newport, Vermont (2009) • Last town in state to receive downtown designation, double-digit unemployment • Citizen: “I’ve seen Newport come, and I’ve seen it go” • Newport, Vermont (2011) • $250 million in new investment, and 2,000 new jobs coming online • “The biggest change here has been one of attitude. Now we realize that through partnerships, we can do anything. Now, nothing is impossible.”
  13. 13. CASE STUDY: Port Angeles, Washington 2009 SDAT Project
  14. 14. Port Angeles, WA 2009 SDAT: 2 months later, 43 buildings repainted with volunteers and donated paint, led to a façade improvement program, then private $
  15. 15. Today: Millions in New Investments
  16. 16. Transforming Downtown
  17. 17. Waterfront: from SDAT to Masterplan to…
  18. 18. Realizing their aspirations
  19. 19. Award-winning design
  20. 20. Bringing People Back to the Waterfront
  21. 21. Creating an Attractive Sense of Place
  22. 22. Snowball Effect: $100+ million
  23. 23. And, it keeps going
  24. 24. Case Study – Birmingham, AL 2011 R/UDAT Project
  25. 25. Catastrophic Impact
  26. 26. Frustration • "I think everyone in the neighborhood is tired," said Patricia Montgomery. Montgomery and others are tired of seeing their neighborhood look the way it does. Trees are still down, homes have been abandoned. While many are rebuilding, others are not and Montgomery says lately it doesn't seem like a whole lot of work is being done. "I understand it's going to take a while to get stuff done but when you look out your house everyday and you see trees just laying, dead trees just laying there it makes you like, I'm so sick of this," said Montgomery. "I'm willing to get out there and help. My neighbors, I'm sure there are willing to get out there and help but we don't know where to start."
  27. 27. Immediate R/UDAT Outcomes • “it is a plan than we can use as a guide as we go back to restoring our community to not just the way it was, but better than it was before.”-Mayor William Bell • ‘Greater Pratt Partnership’
  28. 28. Birmingham R/UDAT Outcomes • $8 million in federal funds within 2 months • June 2012 – TIGER Grant of $10 million • “The coalition of communities and organizations that have come together behind this grant is incredibly impressive. I think we all know we are working in an environment of finite resources, so from a federal standpoint it is always extraordinarily helpful to see a large commitment from the local community, the private and public sector and the region as a whole behind one project.” – Federal official • 2013: another $17 million in federal community block grants
  29. 29. Two Year Anniversary - 2013
  30. 30. Three-Year Anniversary: ‘Tragedy to Triumph’ Celebration “No one thought we could get this much done in just 3 years. We have done it together. We are a community on the move! Aint no stopping us now! I can’t wait to see what we will have done in ten years. – Neighborhood Assc. Leader
  31. 31. 2011 2014 …and it keeps going
  32. 32. How do DATs help AIA Components? • Visibility with the public & public officials • Engagement with current/future Members • Economic Development & Job Creation • Community Impact & Pride
  33. 33. Public Sector Impact “A few days ago, Mayor Bell of Birmingham gave welcoming remarks at our Alabama AIA state convention, and his comments centered on this work. Wow. Mayor Bell got the message about the value of design for the public. Not only did he appreciate the outcome of the work, but he praised the impact of good design on our communities and expressed fervent appreciation of the work we architects do. We could not have written a script more complimentary. The real value of this design assistance effort is a renewed credibility of our profession and a commitment for future collaboration. These AIA dollars were a great investment.” – AIA National Board Member, 2013
  34. 34. Remaking Cities Congress, 2013 “Thank you and the American Institute of Architects for all you have done to help move Birmingham forward.” – Mayor William Bell
  35. 35. Economic Impact “Thank you for the project you did in Port Angeles. Our firm won the million dollar contract to do the master planning for their waterfront!” –AIA Member
  36. 36. Emerging Professionals Impact "Thanks so much for inviting and letting our CRC students participate in the AIA R/UDAT for Rio Vista. What an educational experience! Each of them, as they move along their educational pathways into their architectural careers, will remember this experience and benefit from it for the rest of their lives. To learn about how to take a global look at creating livable, sustainable and vibrant communities will have a profound multiplier effect and impact their design decisions as professionals. I interviewed each of them in front of the rest of our ARCH 332/334 class and, to a person, they were so excited to have participated in the process and felt the learning was invaluable.”
  37. 37. Community Impact A primary outcome has been that the process awakened community pride and inspired a “together we can” attitude.” –Nathan West, Port Angeles Community Development
  38. 38. A Tool for AIA Repositioning • “Guide the conversation by creating more occasions to engage the public.” • “The AIA’s sweet spot is the intersection of collaborative, passionate/visionary, and problem-solving.” • “Building relevance is ultimately a matter of demonstrating impact.”
  39. 39. Training Institute & Tech Assistance • Training Platform: Public Participation, the Design Assistance Model • Technical Assistance in implementing local DATs, providing guidance on public participation, process design, communications, and methods for your specific situation.
  40. 40. Questions?