How civic leadership and architectural practice go hand in hand

Submitted by kathleenodonne… on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 21:29
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["b"],["em"],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/takeaction?utm_term=30366590--96072270-eb80-4bb7-9617-c6491aff1ea4","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/pages\/89901-aia-public-awareness-campaign","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/pages\/2831-the-center-for-emerging-professionals","target","_new"]],["a",["href","\/youngarchitectsforum"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/pages\/2831-the-center-for-emerging-professionals"]]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Two emerging professionals talk with Alissa D. Luepke Pier, AIA,\nand Wendy Scatterday, AIA, about their roles in civic organizations and how as\narchitects, they contribute to stronger communities. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Whether you live in a large metropolitan area or in a small,\nrural city, there will always be opportunities to serve your community. By engaging with fellow citizens, you add value to your community, expand your professional abilities,\nand enhance your life."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cEvery architect should be serving their community in some way,\u201d\nsays Wendy Scatterday, AIA. \u201cNot everyone has the time to afford to hold an\nelected position, but there are so many opportunities in our communities for\nfolks to be giving their time in a public service form.\u201d A sole-practitioner architect\nand city councilor in Wheeling, West Virginia Scatterday is committed to leadership\nthrough design. Also a sole-practitioner, Alissa Luepke Pier, AIA, serves as vice\npresident of the Minneapolis City Planning Commission. She says that the greatest\nlesson she\u2019s learned from public service is that \u201cthe world needs everybody\u2014not\njust those already entrenched in the political realm\u2014to pitch-in and do\nsomething.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"We sat down with Scatterday and Luepke Pier to learn more about\ntheir contributions and get advice on how become involved. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"How has your background as an architect uniquely equipped you in\nyour role as a civic leader?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"Wendy Scatterday, AIA:"],[0,[],0," Architects have a unique set of abilities. We attain a\nproblem-solving-based education in college that is distinctive to our\nprofession. Most people aren\u2019t used to broad-thinking processes, so they are uncomfortable\nwhen challenged to think big. Designers are used to working in group problem\nsolving, and these experiences are helpful."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Since I\u2019ve been on City Council, it has occurred to me how unique\nan opportunity it is to be an architect in public service and be further\nupstream in the decision-making process. Often in practice, the potential\nclient is coming to us with a decision they\u2019ve already made. Now I get to look\nahead and help decide the best way to meet the community\u2019s needs. Unless you\u2019re\nin public service, you usually don\u2019t get the chance to make those decisions."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"Alissa Luepke Pier, AIA:\n"],[0,[],0,"The Minneapolis City Planning Commission (MPC)\nis comprised of people with different areas of expertise. This diversity of\nopinion, experience, and knowledge is the greatest strength of the commission.\nMinneapolis is wise for traditionally having at least a third of the commission\nmade up of design professionals such as architects or landscape architects. I\ntranslate proposals for MPC to understand how a building will influence\npeople\u2019s lives. Not everyone can interpret drawings to understand the real\nhuman experience of that space. You need to have someone at the table who\nreally understands the outcome and meaning of each line on the plans."]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"\u0022I don\u2019t want people to feel as though their voice wasn\u2019t\nheard just because their request isn\u2019t within our purview.\u0022 -Alissa Luepke Pier, AIA"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"What\nhave some of your greatest challenges been in your public service work?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"WS:"],[0,[],0," Time. City Council is a part-time position, but nobody wants\npart-time public service. I want to provide more than adequate service and\nexceed expectations, but I\u2019m also a sole practitioner of my own firm. I try to\ndelegate whenever possible, but I truly consider the city\u2019s initiatives as\n\u201cprojects\u201d and the residents as my \u201cclients.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"ALP:"],[0,[],0," People think the MPC has unlimited power, but we only have a\nsmall role in crafting some policies. For the most part, we have a set of\nrules, regulations, policies, and statutes that we have to interpret and apply,\nwith a pretty strict set of legal criteria that we have to adhere to. The\npublic isn\u2019t always aware of the nuances and boundaries we have to stay in\nadherence with, so there\u2019s understandable level of frustration for residents\nwho aren\u2019t familiar with it already. I always try to explain that in our\npublic hearings, as I don\u2019t want people to feel as though their voice wasn\u2019t\nheard just because their request isn\u2019t within our purview. On the other end of the spectrum, though, I\u2019d\nsay an equally great a challenge is getting people who are acquainted with the\nprocess like developers, planners, and city official to strip back their existing perceptions about\ncertain areas of the city and think about the real impacts their projects and\npolicies will have."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"How has your role in civic service affected your professional\npractice?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"WS:"],[0,[],0," I think working for myself instead of a firm has helped. Folks\nare grateful that I\u2019m serving in the public arena and that I have a dual role. Clients\nare supportive and pleased that I\u2019m taking a part in public engagement. They\nappreciate my expertise. Has it helped my professional practice? I don\u2019t know,\nand if that\u2019s your goal in public service, then you are probably doing it for\nthe wrong reasons."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"ALP"],[0,[],0,": I keep conversations concerning my role on the MPC in public\nrecord. My decisions as a representative of the MPC cannot be tied back to\npersonal relationships or privileged communications. I place great value in my\nintegrity. If any litigation comes up on a project, I can confirm the basis of\nmy decisions stemmed from the qualities of the project itself and in no way\nwith who the designer was."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"How do you suggest emerging professionals get involved in their\ncommunity?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"WS:"],[0,[],0," Start with easy things. Attend a public meeting about something\nin your community, whether it\u2019s for a new park or housing project or public\ntransit. Communities are constantly seeking input. Be responsive, proactive,\nand engaged. Pick a topic that is important to you."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"If you are going to run for office, do your homework and know the\nissues. Spend more time listening than talking. Get integrated into your\nneighborhood. Public service is not about you, it\u2019s about the people you serve.\nEquip yourself with knowledge so that when it\u2019s your time to speak, you know\nwhat you\u2019re talking about."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"ALP:"],[0,[],0," Find something you are passionate about and get into the nuts and\nbolts of it. It doesn\u2019t have to be related to architecture; anything that\ninvolves other living beings informs your architecture and helps you see\nthrough different lenses. Many people are magnetically pulled to \u201csocial\nactivism\u201d over just \u201csocializing.\u201d Both are fun, but one of them makes a\npowerful difference in the world."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"If you don\u2019t know what to do, just say yes to things. At a basic\nlevel, I truly believe architecture is simply creative problem solving.\nEmerging professionals need to lend their creative minds to tackling all sorts\nof problems, not just ones related to space planning and the built form. "]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"People just want to be listened to; it\u2019s a very important thing. It\u2019s\nthe same whether a person is your constituent or your client. -Wendy Scatterday, AIA"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"What is the biggest lesson that your time in civic service has\ntaught you?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"WS:"],[0,[],0," Public service is more\nthan being able to answer a question correctly, resolve every issue, or do\nthings that satisfy everyone\u2014achieving all of that is impossible. I\u2019ve learned\nthat even if you tell someone something they disagree with, that if they\nunderstand you\u2019re doing your best and you\u2019ve heard what they had to say, they\nwill still be pleased that you have listened. Recognition and acknowledgment are\npowerful. People just want to be listened to; it\u2019s a very important thing. It\u2019s\nthe same whether a person is your constituent or your client. They need to know\nthey matter, their opinion matters, and their concerns have been heard."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"ALP: "],[0,[],0,"It takes many great minds to come together and figure out how to\nmake positive change. If architecture truly is the home of great thinkers, designers,\nand problem solvers, then we shouldn\u2019t sit on the sidelines and let others do\nthe behind the scenes work. We should be working alongside our fellow\ncitizens to help ensure that our world is an equitable one that has real\nsolutions that make a real difference. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],0,"Want to get involved? Tap into the "],[0,[2],1,"Architect Action Network"],[0,[],0," and raise your voice in support of issues\nimportant to architects. Plus, learn more about AIA\u2019s efforts to engage civic\nleaders through the "],[0,[3],1,"Blueprint for Better campaign"],[0,[],1,"."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],0,"Katie Kangas, AIA, and Marie McCauley, AIA, are members of the "],[0,[4],1,"AIA Young Architects Forum"],[0,[],1," (YAF)."],[0,[],0," "],[0,[1],0,"A different version of this article\nappeared in the "],[0,[5],1,"YAF\nConnection"],[0,[],0,". Learn more about the YAF and "],[0,[6],1,"AIA\u2019s\nCenter for Emerging Professionals"],[0,[],1,". "]]]]}
Two emerging professionals talk with Alissa D. Luepke Pier, AIA, and Wendy Scatterday, AIA, about their roles in civic organizations and how as architects, they contribute to stronger communities.
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The city of minneapolis, where Alissa Luepke Pier, AIA, serves as vice president of the Planning Commission.
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civic leadership, architects, minneapolis city planning, wheeling west virginia
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