R/UDAT application

The R/UDAT program helps transform communities by developing a citizen-led vision for a better future, with implementation strategies that produce results.

The components of a R/UDAT application are detailed below.

Project title

Include the name of the community in a short project title. (e.g., Mayberry, North Carolina: Commerical Revitalization; Cicely, Alaska: Impacts of Resort Development; Cabot Cove, Maine: Waterfront Redevelopment)

Contact person(s)

Include the name, address, phone number, and email address for the chair(s) of the steering committee. Naming co-chairs of the steering committee is recommended. One of these should be designated the primary contact.

Community description

(Approximately one to two pages.)

Include brief history, population, demographics, economics information, geography/topography, form of government, and anything else you feel is pertinent. Include an assessment of your community’s most significant needs. Be sure to include information on regional setting (context) and influences. Necessary graphic materials include maps, study-area site plans, photos (especially aerial views), and diagrammatic maps showing locations and concentrations of specific community features and needs.

Problem statement: description of the issue(s) to be addressed by the R/UDAT

(Approximately two to five pages, plus maps.)

Define and describe the proposed study area. Be as specific as possible about the nature and scope of the issues you wish to address. Describe why they are critical to your community. Describe how these issues relate to development concerns at the neighborhood, municipal, and regional scale. (e.g., downtown development issues may affect surrounding residential areas and may play a role in regional transportation planning.)

Identify the barriers (physical, social, economic, political) that have limited the community’s ability to address its concerns or agree on solutions. Include an assessment of your community’s most significant needs (e.g., water supply concerns or public health issues). Tell us about any past attempts that have failed to resolve community issues. Include as much graphic material as necessary to describe existing conditions.

Objective of the R/UDAT

(Approximately 300-500 words.)

State what measurable results you hope the R/UDAT process will help you achieve and how this process fits within other community planning and development efforts. Try to avoid repeating the problem statement.

Proposed project budget

R/UDATs are estimated to cost $40,000-$60,000, but the majority of those hard costs can be defrayed through the use of in-kind donations. Each R/UDAT consists of two community visits: a preliminary visit in which AIA staff accompany the designated Team Leader for a two day scoping visit, and the full-team visit, which consists of a team of 6-8 volunteer professionals plus AIA staff visiting the community for 4-5 days. Each community budget may vary depending on local conditions, funding and sponsorship partners, and the degree of local contributions or in-kind services. The project budget should identify expected expenditures and illustrate a line-item distribution for each program area. It may include some of the following elements:

  • work space/meeting space rental
  • onsite information technology needs
  • supplies and photocopying
  • team member air and ground transportation
  • team member room and board
  • advertising and publicity costs
  • local transportation
  • media and communications
  • catering

Funding sources

Identify specific potential donors and amounts where possible, cash to be raised (and potential sources), and possible sources of in-kind contributions. All sources do not need to be identified by name at this time, but you should have a reasonable sense of funding feasibility. AIA is looking for a diversified range of funding sources that represent all sectors of the community—from local business owners and residents to corporate donors. Some government funding and/or foundation grants are acceptable, but you need to have a significant amount of buy-in from all sectors of the community, and successful communities strongly encourage in-kind donations from a variety of sources.

Timetable for the team visit

Identify target dates for the preliminary and full team visits. Include any special reasoning that may affect the timing of any part of the process (e.g., six months before an election or changes to a comprehensive plan). Bear in mind that there will be a space of time between approval of the application and the team visit and that the dates may be adjusted based on program needs and availability of team members.

List of steering committee members

Provide addresses, affiliations, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses for all steering committee members. Be sure that your steering committee represents all of your community, not just a few select groups. Both public and private sectors should be well represented. Also, show how you will organize into subcommittees to plan and implement the R/UDAT, including the follow-up visit and implementation activities.

Student resources

Provide the name(s) of participating architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, or environmental studies schools and faculty contacts (name, address, phone number, and email address). Include a letter of commitment/support from the school(s). The faculty member(s) should be consulted and must agree to coordinate student participants during the team visit. Your local AIA chapter may be able to help arrange this.

Media plan

Include an outline of your media plan with a list of local media outlets and contacts.


At a minimum, include as many letters of support as possible from community leaders, neighborhood groups, churches, businesses and institutions, the mayor or town manager, and public agencies. Applications must include a letter of support from the local AIA chapter.

Include additional attachments such as maps and study area site plans; photos, especially aerial views; and diagrammatic maps showing, for example, locations and concentrations of specific community needs. Feel free to include other materials that will describe your community, such as newspaper articles covering key issues, tourism materials, and brochures from the chamber of commerce or local economic development agency. These materials will help the review committee understand your community and the issues that need to be addressed.

A CD containing a PDF of the application should be mailed to the Center for Communities by


Center for Communities by Design

The American Institute of Architects

1735 New York Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20006-5292

Alternatively, the Center can arrange for electronic submittal via our FTP site. Contact Erin Simmons for further details.

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