Oct 1, 201312:57 PMPoint of View

AIA Puts Resiliency on the Agenda

AIA Puts Resiliency on the Agenda

Robert Ivy, AIA executive director with Bill Clinton

Courtesy AIA

This article, by Vanessa Quirk, originally appeared on ArchDaily as “AIA Puts Resiliency on the Agenda: “Resilience Is the New Green” 

The AIA has decidedly found its latest buzzword: Resiliency.

At the recent 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, former-president Bill Clinton announced the American Institute of Architects’ participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Commitment: an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation to provide 100 cities with “chief resilience offers,” responsible for developing and financing new, resilient urban infrastructures. So far, over 500 cities have requested to participate; on December 3rd, the Rockefeller Foundation will announce the winning cities.

Along with Architecture for Humanity, the AIA reports that it will then train those cities’ resilience officers, “architects in their communities,” by creating “five Regional Resilient Design Studios that build on our profession’s collective expertise in helping communities recover in the wake of major disasters.”

But the “resilience” doesn’t stop there.

A new report published by the AIA, entitled “Cites as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy,” although focused on the design behind the innovation hubs spurting up across the US, makes a surprising statement: a city can only truly consider itself innovative, if it is innovating in the field of resiliency.

As the trade association’s former president Clark Manus, FAIA, notes in their press release: “As innovative as a cities may profess to be, resilience is a critical linchpin that any 21st century city must fully address. Resilience is the new Green. [...] Not surprisingly, the local level is where much of the innovative thinking is taking place not just about disaster recovery, but in how we can lessen the impact from natural disasters by designing more resilient communities.”

Even the AIA’s initiative from last year, “Design as Long-Term, Preventative Medicine,” which sees the organization pairing up with the MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) to reposition “the architectural profession as a primary catalyst for making America’s cities healthier places,” focuses on “design and technology solutions for cities that address public health, sustainability, and resiliency challenges.”

No doubt this “higher calling” towards resiliency was partly the motivation behind the AIA’s recent restructuring, which hopes to streamline the leadership in the organization in order to better tackle these global challenges. As their alignment statement proclaims: ”Never before have we needed this level of bold, visionary leadership to inspire architects to work together and build a better world for all people—through architecture.” And, so it seems, resilient architecture at that.



Oct 2, 2013 06:31 pm
 Posted by  Brooks R.

Thank you very much for highlighting the AIA’s long-standing focus on resilience. We are excited to be working with a range of partners, including the Clinton Global Initiative, Architecture for Humanity, and the Rockefeller Foundation, in order to help strengthen America’s cities and prepare them for the future.

Our latest report, Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy, is another key initiative that highlights the innovation and vitality taking place in urban areas, from district scale solutions that are building the relationship infrastructure to co-location that creates eco-systems for relationships to germinate.

Design is transforming places and fostering connections in imaginative new ways. City streets are being re-imagined and temporary architecture is helping to revitalize dormant urban places. People are learning from one another in new places and walls are being torn down as houses and offices are reconfigured to meet future needs and realities.

Within all of this resilience, health, and sustainability are central policy considerations with great design serving as the critical linchpin. The AIA’s partnership with MIT on Decade of Design: The Global Urban Solutions Challenge helps activate solutions on the ground through research, partnership, and demonstration in order to create healthier cities through design. We are seeking to demonstrate the power of architects to collaboratively help design a better world.

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