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Architects Foundation issues report on National Resilience Initiative

By Brianna Crandall, October 7, 2015—The Architects Foundation, the nonprofit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects, recently released its first annual report on the National Resilience Initiative (NRI), a growing network of resilient design studios geared toward helping local communities become more resilient to natural disasters and climate change.

The report, "In Flux: Community Design for Change, Chance and Opportunity," was unveiled at the Clinton Global Initiative's (CGI) Annual meeting. It details the compendium of activities for the past year, including the work of the NRI's three charter members:

NRI is intended to offer a fresh and collaborative model for mitigating social and disaster-related risks across the globe.

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology's (NJIT) Center for Resilient Design

  • University of Arkansas's Community Design Center at the Fay Jones School of Architecture

  • Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Biloxi, MI

"Our ultimate goal is for the NRI to be part of a growing system of resilience enterprises taking aim at the many challenges communities face at this important juncture in human history," said Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, executive director of the Architects Foundation. "We intend for the NRI's design-thinking, problem-solving and networking to offer a fresh and collaborative model for mitigating social and disaster-related risks across the globe."

The report provides an in-depth look at how architects are working with local communities through the National Resilience Design Network, in which the three charter members of the NRI are offering direct architectural and building services to their respective communities.

Examples of project works outlined in case studies in the report include:

  • Mississippi St. University has developed a Women in Construction center and addressed watershed planning issues.

  • University of Arkansas designed local commerce and community safe rooms and proposed the development of an urban food production system.

  • NJIT held a design workshop that examined how to strengthen a crucial transit terminal and assessed the potential for using distributed power generation to increase energy efficiency and reduce hazard vulnerability at the community level.

The NRI annual report also details how — at a grassroots level — the network's mission is to work to identify policy impediments to enacting resilient design. The program also envisions the creation of a robust resilience network, providing students and practicing architects access to information on how to make communities safer, stronger and more equitable.

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