Architects making a difference

“Architects don’t just design buildings. We design systems that can work equitably for cities and regions. It’s natural for us to help government leaders tackle big challenges like infrastructure, public health, security, and the environment. We apply the same design methodology, but on a larger scale.”

—Julie Hiromoto, AIA, principal at HKS

Emancipation Park
Houston's Emancipation Park was founded in 1872 by four formerly enslaved people. A redesign led by the late Phil Freelon, FAIA, of Perkins+Will and local residents has helped spark a renaissance of the surrounding neighborhood.
PopCourts is a pop-up park in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s Westside. Imagined as a respite from the challenges brought on by the pandemic, PopCourts provides much-needed outdoor amenity space in the heart of Austin.
Two Pieces of Plywood
This film shares the story of one campaign - Curbside Notary in Kansas City, Missouri. Specifically, how two simple pieces of plywood became a vessel for community conversation and action.

Top stories

Smart design is an investment in community and climate.
The greenest buildings are buildings that already exist, which is why The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Board of Directors made the decision to fully renovate–not rebuild–the organization’s 50-year-old headquarters.
How High-Performance Buildings Save Money & Boost Tenant Satisfaction
High-performance buildings are often disregarded by civic leaders and property owners because of a misguided stereotype: They’re too expensive. The truth is that buildings that reduce negative environmental impact save
How Civic Leaders Are Investing in Resilient Design to Create Safer Communities
In September 2022, the first-ever global survey of mayors announced challenges on three fronts: inequality, climate change, and outdated infrastructure. In a questionnaire conducted by the College of Architecture, Art,
How Chief Heat Officers & Other Civic Leaders Are Tackling Climate Change & Strengthening Marginalized Communities
In 2021, Florida’s Miami-Dade County took an innovative approach to addressing how climate change impacts marginalized communities: It created the world’s first chief heat officer. Across the United States, rising
How One Community United Behind Its Mayor’s Sustainable Building Initiative
In April 2022, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, took a big step in demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, one that may entice more people to move there: For the
Architects boost three cities as part of this year’s Mayors Innovative Design Cohort
By Katherine Flynn The Frosty Morn meat packing factory in Clarksville, Tenn.—all 52,600 square feet of it—has sat vacant since 1977. “Nobody’s ever spent any money to keep the roof

Featured resources

Courses that fight climate change
These AIAU-exclusive certificate programs and courses will help you achieve dramatic reductions in building carbon emissions.
AIA Climate Action Plan
Explore AIA’s multistep plan to establish actionable steps and provide architects with tools and resources to achieve zero carbon.
AIA Framework for Design Excellence
Understand the ten important measures you need to set meaningful project goals and targets for climate action.

Join the campaign

Show the world you’re making a difference. With your help, we can design a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable future for everyone.