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Repositioning the Profession

Special member update for AIArchitect, 10/25/13

The AIA’s Repositioning the Profession initiative continues to move forward, with a new emphasis on implementation in four major categories: connect, engage, lead, and innovate. Progress continues to be made within ten areas that seek real and meaningful change for the organization to remain relevant to members and the profession of architecture.

The large size of the AIA Board of Directors has been a major issue for many members. In response, the Board voted on September 20, 2013 to reduce its size and form a bicameral governance structure, which will make the Institute a more agile organization that can effectively address important issues affecting members and the profession. The Board also approved an alignment statement (crafted with Kotter International) that combines feedback and key takeaways from Repositioning research over the last two years.

The AIA has also made headway in improving the efficacy of its communications. McKinley Advisors’ communications audit revealed ways that the AIA can reduce the volume of its communications to members and, at the same time, strengthen the impact those messages make. The AIA (in partnership with Niantic Labs) launched the “Field Trip” app for mobile devices that puts AIA members at the center of public engagement on 164 projects in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Denver.

The AIA also took a major step forward in prioritizing its initiatives (in conjunction with the 2013 AIA Research Fellow Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA) by publishing the Sustainability Scan, which outlines action plans in the areas of health, resiliency, and materials research, all of which represent the issues not just of our time, but for the coming century and future generations of architects. To that end, the AIA launched an essay contest that invites emerging professionals to engage with the 2014 Emerging Professionals Summit (Jan. 24-26) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which will center on questions of support for young professionals, licensure, and the Intern Development Program.

Taking a stand on important issues also lies at the heart of Repositioning, and there are no more important sites for change in the coming century than American cities. At the Remaking Cities Congress this month, co-sponsored by the AIA and Carnegie Mellon University, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, accepted an AIA Presidential Citation on behalf of his Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, which has made a positive impact on the post-industrial urban landscape of Great Britain over the last quarter century.

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