Citizen Architect Handbook

A guide to elected, appointed, and volunteer positions

What is a Citizen Architect?

The term “Citizen Architect” is a title informally bestowed on AIA members, given with great pride and representative of a call to action for Architects to take greater role in the civic advocacy of their communities. As defined in 2008 by the AIA National Board of Directors, the Citizen Architect:

  • uses his/her insights, talents, training, and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition
  • stays informed on local, state, and federal issues, and makes time for service to the community
  • advocates for higher living standards, the creation of a sustainable environment, quality of life, and the greater good
  • seeks to advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic activism, by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government.

The Handbook

The “Citizen Architect Handbook” offers insight into the important role architects play in advancing public policy and methods that encourage greater civic engagement by architects. Inspired by the work of AIA components across the country, the handbook features examples for establishing a local Citizen Architect committee, and strategies for engaging at a local, state, and national level. It also discusses pro bono work and the growing public architecture movement.

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