DIA 2011 Recap Letter from AAO and ACD


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Thank you to all who attended Design in Action 2011, our joint meeting of the Association of Architecture Organizations/Architecture + Design Education Network and the Association for Community Design. Special kudos to our local hosts and our event volunteers, without whom we would not have accomplished nearly as many good things as we did at this year’s conference. And a hearty acknowledge our members, sponsors, and boards of directors whose support and encouragement made this event possible in the first place.

We’re proud to report that we welcomed 223 delegates to this year’s meeting in Philadelphia. People came to Design in Action from 30 U.S. States and from as far away as Seoul, Korea to take advantage of this rare networking opportunity within our industry. At the public lecture featuring Teddy Cruz, our ranks swelled to more than 300. 

Taken together, design education, community design, and public programming represent a solid cross-section of today’s most important design advocates. It was exciting to see so many different groups of thinkers and doers in the same place this year at Design in Action, even if at times it made for a rather crowded event schedule. And for our two Associations, it offered incredibly fertile grounds for testing which areas might deserve continued partnership and group thought. We’re all much the better for having extended the reach of our own networks.

We learned so many wonderful things at Design in Action 2011, from lessons on talking architecture to lessons on listening, on topics ranging from pop up urbanism to rural collaboration, and inquiries into emerging methods and necessary failures. A review here would be exhausting, so instead we’ve posted links to all presentations we received permission to share, and we’ve included a post-event survey giving you the chance to help shape where we take the dialogue.

During one session held late in the conference came an extraordinary statement: memory is the residue of thinking. The presenter was calling attention to our deep human need to attach personal meaning to information to help make it stick, but it offers an explanation for the presence of our many organizations, as well. Design educators, community designers, and public programmers are lightning rods for stirring in others emotional connections to space, place, and problem solving, and, therefore, generating capacity for new thinking. It’s a powerful, necessary resource, and you have our deepest admiration for the work you do day-in and day-out to strengthen your local communities.

We hope you left Philadelphia with your own bank of memories, new contacts, and ideas to test and implement in the year ahead. As the presenting organizations, AAO/A+DEN and ACD are proud to have offered you this opportunity. For those of you who are not members of either AAO/A+DEN or ACD, we certainly encourage you to become active participants in our online networks and forums and member events.


James Wheeler
President, Board of Directors
Association for Community Design

Michael Wood
Executive Director
Association of Architecture Organizations

Posted by aao on October 26, 2011 - 3:21pm