AIA National Update
As AIA Northeast Illinois members, much of your interaction may be focused on local programs, networking, leadership and advocacy activities sponsored by AIA Illinois; what goes on at AIA National may be a bit of a mystery.
Over the years, I have been involved in both NEI and AIA Illinois leadership, still AIA National had been a bit of a mystery to me as well. That was until I was elected in 2017 by AIA Illinois, to become a member of the AIA Strategic Council to represent Illinois.
What is the Strategic Council
A little bit of history, in 2013 the AIA voted to restructure the National Board by creating two separate bodies. A fourteen member elected Board of Directors and the Strategic Council. The Council functions as the proverbial “think-tank” of the AIA, charged with surveying the profession to identify opportunities and threats, and engaging in strategic planning to inform the goals, objectives, and strategies of the AIA. The Council is composed of members representing the 19 regions from across the nation. Illinois is fortunate to have two representatives who serve staggered terms.
"The Big Move"
Earlier this year, the AIA Board meet for a facilitated session about the near-term priorities on an effort titled “The Big Move” (a major transition away from the way AIA traditionally engaged on policy and practice issues) with a focus on sustainability and a long-term vision and purpose for AIA. The result is major positive news and direction for the association.
At the 2019 AIA National Convention in Las Vegas, the delegates overwhelmingly approved the “AIA Resolution For Urgent and Sustained Climate Action”. Based on this the AIA is undertaking a major, long-term commitment to regenerative design/sustainability/ resilience (through 2030). The Board recognized the need to prioritize their work and chose Economy, Energy, and Equitable Communities as the top areas of focus for AIA over the coming years.
Design for Economy:
Building the business case for regenerative design. There is a misconception that sustainable design adds costs so only projects with high budgets and ambitious goals can afford to be sustainable. Many best practices prove cost-neutral or demonstrate significant savings. One of the main audiences for this area is clients – increasing client demand for these regenerative features is paramount for success.
Design for Energy:
Buildings are a major contributor of global greenhouse gas emissions which drive climate change. Sustainable design conserves energy while improving building performance, function, comfort and enjoyment.
Design for Equitable Communities:
Tied to the health and well-being of our communities. It is about how a project contributes to creating a walk-able, human-scaled community that is diverse, accessible and welcoming.
I am excited about this new direction and focus for AIA and the many opportunities for having real, positive impact. I am honored to be able to serve on the Strategic Council on behalf of the AIA members of Illinois. Stay tuned for the roll out of new opportunities and resources.