AIA Grassroots was recently held in San Diego, California from March 12-14. The conference theme was “Leading through Influence” and it certainly lived up to the title. The clearest message to come out of Grassroots 2018 was that through engagement, we demonstrate the value of architects and architecture. Architects and allied professionals can advocate for and create meaningful transformation within our communities.
Bill Bates, FAIA, First Vice President and Grassroots Chair, noted a recent Harris Poll identified ‘architect’ as the 7th most prestigious profession in the country. He then asked: “What are we doing to leverage this influence? Influence is the new power.” Now more than ever an architect’s skills, systems-thinking, and visionary planning can make a positive impact on society and the world.
Highlights from Grassroots include:
- We can find ways to shape communities to create healthier, resilient, and ultimately sustainable models of living. The new urban agenda will be a highlight of the AIA national conference in New York this June addressing issues of housing, energy, resiliency, infrastructure, planning, and policy.
- Architects have a unique ability to think critically and creatively. This places architects in a unique position to tackle big societal questions as they relate to the built environment and the social condition of the people living within it.
- Engagement is key. Public engagement will build public awareness through our actions, advocacy, and visibility.
- Support our future architects through leadership development and by listening. Be inclusive in our actions and work to advance equity and diversity within our profession.
- We were inspired to hear mayors and urban planners from cities across the U.S. advocating for architects to be at the table as a partner in shaping our cities and built environments.
Grassroots 2018 Panel on Licensure. Photos courtesy of AIA.