The Power of Coming Together: Reflections on R/UDAT

In my last post, I touched briefly on the R/UDAT program, an initiative that allowed me and other fellow architects to plan the Santa Fe Railyard development, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The post received such a great response that I thought I would share more about the program, its impact across the country and its personal significance to me.

R/UDAT is the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team Program, and I was proud to co-chair our local Santa Fe committee. It is run by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) AIA Center for Communities by Design, https://www.aia.org/pages/2891-center-for-communities-by-design with the goal of helping towns, neighborhoods and cities implement initiatives in response to their changing needs including sustainable design. Over many years, it has helped countless communities transform their spaces, bringing their visions to reality with the help of architectural expertise they might not otherwise have access to.

You see, what I love about this program so much is that though it may belong to the AIA, at its core it’s not about us architects at all. It’s about community and democracy. It’s about allowing communities to decide their future and take charge over spaces and projects that are meaningful to them. It’s about working together to combine professional expertise with the real expertise: knowledge of local needs, local spaces and local people.

I am grateful for the Santa Fe Railyard project, and this wonderful opportunity I to use my expertise to help communities build something that’s not just beautiful, but useful. Needed. Perhaps even monumental. That’s why I’ve included two more stunning videos that were created by the Community Design Exchange about the R/UDAT initiative here in Santa Fe. I feel they truly summarize the impact of this program, and I hope you enjoy them.

As I say in the video, though my work takes on so many different angles, for me helping someone have a voice who wouldn’t otherwise have one is incredibly gratifying. With each new project, I re-learn the lesson of our ability to work together. And for that, I am grateful.

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