Six communities across the country will receive technical support in developing policy frameworks and long-term sustainability plans through the AIA’s 2011 Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDCAT) program. Since 2005, AIA has assisted 47 communities in more than 30 states through the program.

The 2011 communities are Apple Valley, Minn.; Bastrop, Texas; Pikes Peak Region, Colo.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Shelburne, Ver. And Southwest DeKalb County, Ga. In addition, New Orleans also will receive technical assistance through the Desgn Assitant Team program and this work will occur in conjunction with the AIA’s annual convention in the city in May.

SDAT united architects and other professionals to help provide communities with a roadmap to improving their sustainability, which is defined “by a community’s ability to meet environmental, economic, and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability ofuture generations to meet their needs,” according to the AIA. Team members participate on a volunteer basis.

Assistance comes via the following components: a premilinary visit, a three-day visit from a multi-disciplinary team, a report highlighting sustainable strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities for change, and phone and email consultations following the three-day visit.

“As the SDAT program has evolved, communities all over the country have embraced and implemented the detailed solutions for neighborhood revitalization, transportation infrastructure challenges and economic development that our volunteer teams have provided after conducting background research and an intensive design and planning charette,” says Erin Simmons, director of AIA Design Assistance.

Communities for the program as selected through an application process with the Center for Communities by Design. For more information on the program, visit