Our Project Manager, Kristina Olivent, Associate AIA, recently had the honor of speaking at the AIA Austin 2015 Summer Conference. She discussed Public Interest Design and the importance of community engagement, while highlighting local examples from DesignVoice. Here is a Q&A straight from the source:
1. What was your involvement with the AIA Austin 2015 Summer Conference?
The conference was for architects who wished to expand their education and earn Continuing Education Credits needed to maintain their architectural licenses. I presented as a member of DesignVoice, which is a committee within AIA Austin.
We gave a 60-minute presentation called “Design WITH the Community: Why this Matters & Tools for Implementation,” to an audience of 50+ people. During the talk we presented examples of architectural projects from around the world as well as here in Austin, which positively impacted cultural, social, and economic problems in their communities. This type of architecture is called Public Interest Design.
2. What does it mean to design with the community?
Designing with (instead of for) the community means that community stakeholders are involved early in the design process through every stage of the process to ensure the final result truly contributes to the broader public good. This usually means that designers go through a more interactive design process than is typical. The process requires listening to the community, asking questions of experts, conducting in-depth community needs analysis, and mapping the resources already available within the community. After the project is built, it is then important to take post-occupancy metrics to verify that the project is really accomplishing the measurable good it set out to.
3. What was a take away you hope attendees learned?
I hope attendees learned that there is a different model for architecture practice available to us, called Public Interest Design, and it is ripe with opportunities to use design to improve people’s lives and our community.
EXAMPLE PROJECT FROM HUO:
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