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Shaking Up Small Cities at AIA24

June 20, 2024
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Pictured left to right (second from left): Adam Trott, AIA; Jeff Pastva, FAIA; Michelle Shuman; Amanda Colón-Smith; Megan Tuñón; Robert Tuñón, AIA

Design’s role in community development and revitalization highlighted at the AIA Conference on Architecture

On Wednesday, June 5th, AIA Pennsylvania presented the 6th installment of its highly successful “Shaking Up Small Cities” program at AIA24, the American Institute of Architects’ national conference, in Washington, D.C. 

“Shaking Up Small Cities” started in 2021 as a virtual series highlighting small cities and communities across Pennsylvania that leverage design and the expertise of architects to revitalize and grow their communities. This session focused on how non-traditional development methods can foster community engagement, particularly around civic infrastructure.

The moderated panel presented to roughly 125 attendees featured the Borough of Etna’s EcoDistrict certification and the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild. Despite serving very different city-wide populations (3,300 vs. 1.5 million), the panelists shared how the neighborhood scale where they both operate is very similar and that many of the same successes and challenges were encountered.  

Volunteer AIA Pennsylvania member organizers Jeff Pastva, FAIA, and Adam Trott, AIA, introduced the session. Robert Tuñón, AIA, NOMA, Principal with Rothschild Doyno Collaborative and Etna’s Mayor, moderated the panel. Panelists included Amanda Colón-Smith, Michelle Shuman, and Megan Tuñón. Amanda and Michelle represented Rebuild as the Directors of Community Engagement and Design, and Megan represented the Borough of Etna as an elected council member. 

By Jeff Pastva, FAIA