News & Press: CHAPTER NEWS

President's Message - Michelle Ney, AIA

Monday, March 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: April Becerra

President's Report

Michelle Ney, AIA


As I return home to the Bay Area after an invigorating experience at the AIA's Grassroots Leadership Conference in Washington DC, I can't help but think of the parallel messages that were delivered to the nation's architectural community, and the mission we've taken on back home in Silicon Valley. This year's Grassroots was all about community building, urban planning, and working together outside of our own areas of expertise with other regional experts to address a common goal. In my own words that common goal is a prosperous livable and sustainable community. Peter Calthorpe, from our own backyard, gave a compelling keynote address on sustainable community building and how Architects, unlike any other profession, are uniquely talented to bridge the many seemingly competing interests, connecting the dots, so that all needs are met, enabling a thriving community.


This isn't news to most of us, of course we are well schooled, trained in problem solving skills, addressing competing interests, finding common ground, and creating rich and affordable environments. Hey, that's why many of us chose this profession, right? It all seems so simple, yet to act on this regional challenge requires stretching beyond most of our self-imposed limitations set by our client's property lines and to think in terms of the community at large, and the broader factors that shape our built environment.


In Peter's case, he's applying his principles globally, as he helps reshape China's fast growing city and urban planning in a way that promises to have positive global impact. Trust me, knowing China is listening and adopting Peter 's principals, I have a much higher hope that our species might actually have a chance of survival.


But what about our own backyard? Most of us, despite our broader skill set, are hired to work on a limited piece of real estate to bring about the most return on investment for our client, and in the process convince our community and ourselves that we are designing that property to the highest common good within the checklists of zoning requirements, Conditions of Approval, and other infrastructure limitations.


Not all of us can have a direct impact on the community at large within our roles in the companies we are employed by, yet each of us has the opportunity to play a vital role in the development of our own community through our involvement with the AIA Santa Clara Valley Chapter. To make a difference as Architects in our own backyard, we need to step up and be heard. Yes, that means you! Specific to this, our Advocacy Committee is focused on coalition building, bridging our aligned interests with that of other regional organizations and our local jurisdictions. Please join us; we have exciting work to do!


Join the Advocacy Committee at