Issues & AdvocacyState
Recently, the Architecture for Humanity Baltimore chapter and AIA Baltimore component began to establish a disaster response team as part of the AIA Disaster Coordinator Network. The Network was established by the AIA in 2006 to foster better relationships between architects and local emergency managers and is comprised of volunteer AIA members who serve as points of contact to prepare for and respond to disaster. To help develop the network, the Baltimore architectural groups teamed up, applied for, and won an award through the AIA / AFH Disaster Response Plan Grant Program.
“I discovered that Maryland was one of the only states on the East Coast that did not have a Disaster Assistance Coordinator,” says Martina Dobrosielski, Assoc. AIA, Co-founder and Chapter Coordinator for AfH-Baltimore. “I saw that there was a need and stepped up to organize a way to fill it.”
The Disaster Response Plan Grant Program provided the opportunity Martina had in mind. It was designed to enhance collaboration between AIA components and AFH chapters around the United States for development of local disaster response capabilities. The grant would provide the seed money AfH-Baltimore needed to establish a Disaster Coordinator and form a working group with the AIA.
“By working with [the AIA], we can reach a broader spectrum of architects throughout the state to bring together like-minded individuals to come up with innovative solutions for disaster resilience and recovery,” says Dobrosielski.
“The key to any integrated design is to get all the players around the table early and disaster planning is no exception. If architects can get involved with discussions about disaster planning, recovery, and reconstruction now, we will be better prepared for the future.”
Last month, the Baltimore and Maryland chapter members launched their efforts with an informational meeting to recruit interested architects as potential coordinators and volunteers. The team is an example of the dedication and leadership architects can provide in their communities.
Government & Community Relations Archive:
This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to email@example.com.