When communities that want change in their built environment have the leadership, but not the funding, that’s where the AIA (American Institute of Architects) SDAT (Sustainable Design Assessment Team) comes in. The AIA sponsors several SDATs each year, supported by a voluntary team professionals carefully selected to fit the community’s needs and values.
The first 2009 recipient is the 130-acre neighborhood of East Bayside in Portland, Maine, with about 2500 residents, a fifth of which are associated with public housing in partnership with one of the largest refugee immigration programs in the U.S. From their application:
“While Portland has been lauded widely for an enviable quality of life, unfortunately the East Bayside neighborhood has faced persistent environmental, social, and economic challenges, and until recently, has largely been neglected.”
One running question is “How can everyone who lives and works in East Bayside be ensured their values are honored?” According to community leaders, this is especially relevant to the youth and young adults, 15-25 years old, who often may not seem strongly supported. The above video is one response, inspired by the final presentation by the SDAT.
Check out the SDAT Communities here, including East Bayside’s application and the SDAT final presentation.