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Citizen Architect on the Move – Eric Siwy

Podcast: 2011/5/4 – 20:09

Presenter: Eric Siwy

Moderator: Brooks Rainwater

Eric Siwy, a doctoral candidate in Architecture at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is the latest Citizen Architect on the Move. Earlier this year, he testified against a proposed elevated rail line at the City Council’s transportation meeting. Siwy, who was enrolled in his school’s Citizen Architect Seminar, finds that civic engagement is a topic of interest at his university. The course is taught by Pat Onishi, AIA. Onishi is past chair of AIA’s Member Outreach Subcommittee, past chair of the Center for Civic Leadership and former director of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting. The seminar is intended to encourage civic engagement among architectural students throughout their studies. It has grown from two students, when Onishi began teaching it, to seventeen.

In his testimony, Siwy wanted to provide a fresh perspective to Honolulu’s plan for a multi-billion dollar elevated rail system, particularly since the community was not given an opportunity to vote on this project. His civic engagement is motivated by the conviction that “no building is built in a vacuum and policy and ordinances make up some of the constraints under which [architects] operate.” He believes that “as renaissance men/women, [architects] have some familiarity with a lot of different issues and can therefore see connections t hat might not be as visible to others.” As a student and emerging professional, Siwy is active in AIA Honolulu.

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