WASHINGTON — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected seven communities throughout the country to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program in 2013. The communities selected are Coral Bay, St. John; Covington, Ky.; Lee County, Fla.; Livingston, Calif.; San Diego; Sebastopol, Calif.; and Tremonton City, Utah.

The SDAT program represents a significant institutional investment in public service work to assist communities in developing policy frameworks and long-term sustainability plans. Since 2005, the program has provided technical assistance to 68 communities across more than 30 states.

“As the SDAT program has evolved, communities all over the country have embraced and implemented the detailed solutions for neighborhood revitalization, transportation infrastructure challenges and economic development that our volunteer teams have provided after conducting background research, and an intensive design and planning charrette,” AIA Design Assistance Director Erin Simmons said.

The collaborative SDAT brings together architects and other professionals assembled from across the country to provide a roadmap for communities seeking to improve their sustainability — as defined by a community’s ability to meet the environmental, economic and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The SDAT will work with local stakeholders to help the community create a plan for its sustainable future. To provide the most objective assessment, team members volunteer their time and expertise, and are selected from areas outside the project communities.

“This year’s SDAT recipients present a full range of community types and geographic settings, from urban and suburban settings to rural communities,” Simmons said. “Each of these jurisdictions has demonstrated a unique commitment to building civic partnerships and engaging the community in a vision for a more sustainable future.”

The communities were selected after submitting an application to the Center for Communities by Design outlining the economic, environmental and social equity challenges facing their region. The SDAT community assistance program provides the selected communities with these components:

  • Preliminary/scoping visit
  • Three-day visit from a multidisciplinary team
  • A report highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the community with regards to sustainability, along with the opportunities and obstacles to change
  • Consultations after the three-day visit (typically by phone or email)

For more information, visit www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAS075425.