ACD CONFERENCE IN BALTIMORE

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Next week the Association for Community Design, in partnership with Neighborhood Design Center, will host their annual conference in Baltimore.

A gathering of community design practitioners, community partners, government officials and others, Reverberations will encourage critical reflection on the state of community design, past and present, in order to better serve our communities in the future. By building skills, honing cross-disciplinary techniques, and openly examining on-the-ground experiences, we will deepen and amplify our understanding of and influence on community impact.

See conference details here.

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VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE: 10 TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP

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In 2016 I had the privilege to visit the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by public interest architect, Alejandro Aravena. The next Biennale, themed ‘Freespace’ is set to open this weekend, running from May 26 through Nov 25. Here are 10 tips which I learned from planning my own trip.

  1. Plan for at least two days. The Biennale is located in two areas, the Giardini and the Arsenale. Dedicate at least one day to each area. You could also take an extra day for the individual country pavilions (located around the Giardini main hall) or to visit some of the Collateral Events, which are affiliated exhibits around Venice.
  2. Closed on Mondays. The Biennale is closed most Mondays, so plan accordingly! I spent it sightseeing – tons to see in Venice – but you may or may not want to do that. See hours in the 2018 brochure.
  3. Consider the off season. I went in November just before it closed which was far less expensive than the busy summer months. Venice is moody, misty, and quiet then.
  4. Dress for the weather. Besides maybe two of the cafes, none of the Biennale exhibit spaces are conditioned, so if it’s chilly dress warm. (I wish I had brought my warm winter coat!)
  5. No need for rain boots. Venice floods with high tides, called an Acqua Alta, but it does not last long and the city is quick to add raised walkways so you can get to where you need to without trudging through water.
  6. Pack thoughtfully. Venice is very walkable and there are no cars, only boats, so it is challenging to get your stuff to the hotel. There are lots of steps and bridges that are not rolling bag friendly.
  7. Buy the books online. Luckily the Biennale books are available online! You don’t have to haul heavy books around all day or find room in your suitcase for them. Plus the exhibits have some paper and poster take aways that you may want some room for.
  8. Stay in the Castello neighborhood. We stayed at the Hotel Metropole which was very walkable to both the Arsenal and Giardini plus the major tourist sights. It also was close to boats to and from the airport and train stations. Many hotels also include breakfast.
  9. Save time at the Biennale Cafes. There were cafes at both the Arsenale and Giardini. I had a delicious chicken curry with couscous at the Giardini cafe – not a true taste of Venice but I found it better to not have to leave the Biennale exhibits and trek out to lunch. Assume there will be crowds as there are with most things in Venice and opt for dinners out at some of the fabulous restaurants around town.
  10. Don’t miss this by Carlo Scarpa! To the left as you walk out of the entrance of the Giardini.

BLOG PAUSE

Photo Oct 09, 1 42 57 PMHi all! I realize that it has been a while since I’ve posted anything new. We’ve recently had an addition to our family – baby Anders!

He’s kept my hands (& heart!) full these past few months. As the new parenting fog is lifting, I’m now able to jump back into blogging.

Look out for new public interest design posts coming soon. Thanks!

 

AIA TO HOST PUBLIC INTEREST DESIGN INSTITUTE IN WASHINGTON DC

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March 24 & 25, 2017 at AIA Headquarters in Washington DC.

Design professionals will learn skills and methods to pro-actively engage in community-based design through fee-based practice. Instructors and special guest speakers will present in-depth case studies of the community and client engagement processes and the outcomes of their award-winning Public Interest Design projects. Successful completion of this two-day intensive Public Interest Design Institute qualifies attendees for 11.5 AIA (HSW) CEUs or ASLA PDHs and certification as a SEED Professional. Preliminary agenda.

Learning objectives include:

  • Finding new clients and public interest design projects
  • Learning about new fee sources and structures
  • Learning methods of working with a community as a design partner
  • Leveraging other partners and assets to address project challenges
  • Maximizing a project’s positive impact on a community
  • Moving beyond LEED to measure positive social, economic, & environmental impact
  • Understanding public interest design and how it is re-shaping professional practice

This two-day intensive course is presented by Design Corps, the SEED Network,
AIA National, and the M.S. in Sustainable Design Program at the CUA.

Register here.

THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE AND DEVELOPER JONATHAN F. P. ROSE

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New York based developer, Jonathan F. P. Rose, released his new book, The Well-Tempered City with a book signing and presentation at an Urban Land Institute event in DC. Known for his affordable housing work, Rose emphasizes the importance of balancing social, economic, and environmental factors in development.

He sees the city as complex network and urges those of us who work on the built environment to approach our work as a circle of engagements and adjustments rather than as a simplified linear path. In his talk as well as in his book, Rose links together public health and the built environment, discussing the effects of adverse childhood experiences on society and the financial toll it takes on our cities. He also explains the toll our societal trends are taking on the environment, “98 percent of stuff that comes into the city leaves the city as waste in just 6 months.” Our planet cannot handle that. This book is about the value of public interest design, from the developer’s point of view.

Public interest designers may also be familiar with the Rose family through Enterprise Community Partners’ Rose Architectural Fellowship, which partners early-career architectural designers with local community development organizations, where they facilitate an inclusive approach to development to create green, sustainable, and affordable communities.

SOCIAL IMPACT DESIGN CELEBRATION 2016

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Inscape Publico, a nonprofit architecture firm in Washington DC, is hosting it’s 2nd annual Social Impact Design Celebration. It is the social event for all of those supporting social impact design in architecture, design, development, and construction in the DC area. Tickets include hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live music, unique silent auction items, and a chance to meet and view the work of leaders in the field. All proceeds will support the mission of Inscape Publico.

And…you can enter to win a new ‘Handsome Devil’ bicycle, valued at $1,200. Drawing will take place on Nov 2, 2016 at the Social Impact Design Celebration (need not be present to win). Bike raffle tickets here.

See more about Inscape Publico. Event tickets here.

FORCED FROM HOME – DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS

On my way home from work yesterday, an elderly gentleman asked me for directions. Pointing at the metro map we realized that we were going to the same stop. I asked where he was from and he said Afghanistan. He came to the USA as a refugee after losing most of his family in the war. “Peace and health,” were most important in life, he said.

Strangest thing is that I was refugee from Afghanistan just two days prior, as part of the Doctors Without Borders Forced From Home interactive exhibit on the national mall. The exhibit immerses you in the experience of a refugee. First you are handed a card with a nationality and then your journey begins. There was an amazing 360 video that sets you right in the middle of refugee camps in Lebanon, Tanzania, Mexico, and Greece. You can see some of them on their website, such a powerful exhibit.

Then you line up at  your given country, learn a bit about the history, and are asked to pick 5 items you would take with you on a treacherous journey if forced to leave your home as an army is approaching. I picked a motorbike, water, blankets, clothes, and cell phone, realizing only afterwards that a motorbike was not going to fit on the boat piled full of others also fleeing. “Over 100 people were found on a boat slightly larger than this one,” our guide, a nurse with Doctors Without Borders said, to our group of roughly 20 people who were not even able to find a seat in tiny boat we were looking at wide-eyed.

Once making it through your journey you learn what it is like to live in a camp. How heavy a jug of water is to carry for even a short distance, how small a tent can be, how a short time turns into a long time for many refugees, how the sick receive medical attention in these challenging settings, and how common it is to fall sick when your are forced from home.

The traveling exhibit will be in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia over the next month. I highly recommend registering for a tour. Learn more about Doctors Without Borders and their traveling interactive exhibit Forced From Home.