Grassroots 2017



Thank you for joining us at Grassroots 2017! Speaker presentations and handouts can be found below in the Materials section.

Grassroots 2017 is an exclusive event for leaders of the AIA. The agenda emphasizes component leadership and workshops designed to help component officers become more effective chapter and civic leaders. Members are given the opportunity to provide input on AIA initiatives, share information and ideas, and best practices with their counterparts from around the country. There are also many networking opportunities with one another and AIA national staff.

In addition to the regular programs devoted to building stronger component leaders, this year’s event will introduce attendees to the role of architects in shaping lives through design.


Opening keynote speakers

Peter Calthorpe, Calthorpe Associates, San Francisco

Throughout his career in urban design, planning, and architecture, Peter Calthorpe has been a pioneer of innovative approaches to urban revitalization, community planning and growth, and regional planning and design. In 1983, Mr. Calthorpe founded the award-winning firm of Calthorpe Associates devoted to sustainable urban design and planning globally. He is one of the founders and the first board president of The Congress of New Urbanism.

Through design, innovation, publications, and realized projects, Peter Calthorpe’s 30-year practice has helped solidify a global trend towards the key principles of New Urbanism: that successful places–whether neighborhoods, towns, urban districts or metropolitan regions–must be diverse in uses and users, must be scaled to the pedestrian and human interaction, and must be environmentally sustainable.

Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Dr. Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), at the level of Under Secretary General by the United Nations. He has held this office since October 2010. He also served as the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

Born in Barcelona, he is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona, serving two terms from 1997 until 2006. He was Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain between 2006 and 2008. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as the Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Closing keynote speaker

Catherine Pugh, Mayor, Baltimore

The Honorable Mayor Pugh was first elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999, where she served until 2004. She now serves as the city's Chief Executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The Mayor also represents the city on the state, national, and international levels. First and foremost, Mayor Pugh prioritized the US Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.

Additional issues the Pugh administration will face include Baltimore's crime levels, vacant housing and revitalization development, the cancellation of the Baltimore Red Line, and the launch of Governor Larry Logan's BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul.  

Archi-Talk speakers

Michael Berkowitz, President, Resilient Cities, and Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York

Michael Berkowitz joined the Rockefeller Foundation in August 2013 to shape and oversee the 100 Resilient Cities. Previously, he worked at Deutsche Bank (DB), most recently as the Deputy Global Head of Operational Risk Management (ORM). In that capacity, he oversaw the firm’s OR capital planning efforts, served as a primary regulatory contact, and connected the myriad operational risk management efforts group-wide.

He held multiple other positions at DB, including Chief Operating Officer of Corporate Security, Business Continuity (CSBC) and Operational Risk Management. During this time, he also served as the head of the Bank’s Protective Intelligence unit, designed to assess and analyze security and geopolitical threats to the bank, its staff, processes ,and information.

Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED Fellow, Principal - Design, Preservation and Sustainability, Goody Clancy, BSA

Jean Carroon leads Goody Clancy’s preservation practice, focusing on the opportunities inherent in the stewardship and creative reuse of existing buildings to create a healthy resilient world. Her approach combines a mastery of history and building technology with a commitment to transforming places—redefining their relevance, utility, and flexibility while sustaining and enhancing essential beauty and value. Ms. Carroon has been responsible for the restoration or adaptive reuse of a dozen National Historic Landmark buildings.  

In 2014, the US Green Building Council named her a LEED Fellow, reflecting her achievements as a LEED professional as well as her contributions to the green building community.

Her current work includes reuse of historic buildings at the historic St Elizabeth’s campus in Washington, DC for the US Department of Homeland Security, and for the State of Vermont offices in Waterbury, and ongoing work at Trinity Church in the City of Boston.

Tom Dallessio, President, CEO & Publisher, Next City, Philadelphia

Tom Dallessio is a nationally recognized urban planner, non profit leader and educator with more than three decades of experience in city and regional planning, public policy, and non profit management.

He comes to Next City from the Center for Resilient Design at New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he was the Center’s founder and director. He continues to be an adjunct professor at NJIT, teaching land use and infrastructure planning.

Mr. Dallessio got his start in nonprofit management at Regional Plan Association, where he directed RPA’s New Jersey office and managed six New Jersey Mayors’ Institutes on Community Design, and promoted affordable housing, transportation finance and property tax reforms. He served as a senior policy adviser to New Jersey governors Christine Todd Whitman and Donald T. DiFrancesco, drafting environmental preservation law and serving as the governor’s representative to the state’s planning commission.

Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, 2015 AIA President

Elizabeth Chu Richter was president of the Texas Society of Architects in 2007. Throughout her career, she has taken a strong interest in public outreach and design excellence. She was executive producer of a popular radio series on architecture and has served on numerous AIA component design juries, as well as chair of the AIA Gold Medal and Firm Award Advisory jury, and a member of the AIA Regional and Urban Design Award jury. Her own design contributions were recognized in 2001, when she received an AIA Young Architects Award.

Ms. Richter serves as CEO of Richter Architects based in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her firm is committed to design excellence and has received national, state and local AIA design awards. Richter Architects has a diverse portfolio and was recipient of the 2011 Texas Society of Architects Architecture Firm Award.

Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Honorary ASLA, Principal, Speck & Associates, Brookline, Massachusetts

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for more walkable cities. He leads Speck & Associates, a private consultancy offering design and advisory services to North American municipalities and the real-estate development industry. As director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, Mr. Speck oversaw the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design.

His recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, is exerting a profound impact on the design of communities nationwide.

Image credits

Grassroots 2017 hero - Thomas Jefferson Memorial