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What is the Decade of Design?
By Brooks Rainwater, Director, Public Policy

    The Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge is a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action. This ten-year AIA pledge will document, envision, and implement solutions related to the design of the urban built environment in the interest of public health and effective use of natural, economic, and human resources.

    The AIA is working together with partner organizations, including the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and others, in order to build on long-standing AIA programs to leverage design thinking in order to effect meaningful change in urban environments through research, community participation, design frameworks, and active implementation of innovative solutions.

    In 2012 three universities received AIA-funded grants to further evidence-based research on the impacts of design on health. These recipients included:

      Texas A & M University: Evaluating Health Benefits of Livable Communities and create a Toolkit for measuring the health impacts of walkable communities.

      University of Arkansas: Fayetteville 2030: Creating a Citywide Food Scenario Plan

      University of New Mexico: Establishing an interdisciplinary health-architecture curriculum

    This year the AIA is working on a number of fronts to further this Commitment. These include the development of community planning processes focused on design and health, a Hackathon that will create integrated design and technology solutions for how people interact in a healthier way with the built environment, and additional initiatives that will be announced throughout the year.

    Growing urbanization presents critical needs and opportunities for creative solutions – and this is where architects can make important contributions. One of the key goals of this Commitment to Action will be to develop knowledge and models to inform a path to support healthier urban environments through the tactics of design that can be replicated in cities worldwide.

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