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Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT)

2016 SDAT Program
The Center for Communities by Design is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 SDAT Program Application PacketThe deadline to submit applications for consideration in the 2016 SDAT program is Friday, December 11, 2015. The SDAT Application Review Committee will convene in December 2015; any applications received after the review period will be considered for the 2017 SDAT program. Submittals from past successful applicants can be found on our webpage; you can also view additional materials generated by SDAT teams such as final reports and presentations by following that link. 

SDAT Guidebook
The Center for Communities by Design is pleased to announce the release of the SDAT Guidebook, a detailed publication that describes the SDAT program and walks a community through the steps necessary to ensure a successful SDAT project.

AIA Center for Communities by Design Named “Organization of the Year”
The Center for Communities by Design is honored to be named “Organization of the Year” by the International Association for Public Participation.  We would like to extend our congratulations and gratitude to the many DAT volunteers, supporters, and participant communities who continue to make this initiative a success.

What is the SDAT Program?
The SDAT program is a community assistance program that focuses on the principles of sustainability. SDATs bring teams of volunteer professionals (such as architects, urban designers, landscape architects, planners, hydrologists, economists, attorneys, and others) to work with community decision-makers and stakeholders to help them develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future.

The SDAT program is based on the AIA’s goal of helping communities create a sustainable relationship between humans, the natural environment, and place. By achieving balance between cultural, environmental, and economic systems, communities can sustain a place as a stage for human settlement.

While the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) program was developed to provide communities with specific design solutions, the SDAT program provides a broad assessment to help frame any future policies or design solutions in the context of sustainability.

The SDAT process helps communities:
• understand their structure at various scales and contexts;
• explore interactions between ecological, sociological, economic, and physical systems;
• visualize potential futures;
• articulate the qualities of a place;
• advance the principles of sustainable communities; and
• define the role of stakeholders and players in both the public and private sectors.

The SDAT community assistance program provides communities with six components:

    • -Preliminary visit

    • -Three-day visit from a multidisciplinary team

    • -A report highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the community with regard to   sustainability, along with the opportunities and obstacles to change

    • -Consultations after a three-day visit

    • -A conference call six months after delivery of the assessment report to review progress

    • -One-day follow-up visit to complete a secondary assessment, one year after the SDAT report is delivered

    • A team of architects and other professionals such as planners, hydrologists, economic development specialists, and others are selected for each multidisciplinary SDAT team based on their credentials and the specific needs of each community. The team works in conjunction with local stakeholders to help shape the community’s strategy to increase sustainability. In order to provide the most objective assessment, the team members are from outside the particular communities.

For 2011, the AIA will provide up to $15,000 in services for each project and communities are expected to contribute $5,000 cash match as well as raise additional resources through in-kind donations and matches.


For more information about the SDAT program email, or contact Erin A. Simmons, Director, Center for Communities by Design at or 202.626.7492. 



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