Civic engagement and architecture is a topic that needs to be stressed more so today than anytime ever in history. Architects in Michigan should be always thinking about how to engage with their community members. They are legislators, they are mayors, they are council people, and anyone else in public office to be able to grow into a position where the architect can be a resource to these public officers as well as the community at large. the importance of architecture to the community is ever a parent. And something that architects in Michigan should always vocalize and bring to the attention of the community and the government officials in order to maintain relevance for today and the future and be able to share what we know and what we’ve taken great lengths to learn and become experts in the development of the built environment and share that knowledge with the community so that there is a value added versus a lack or vacuum of information.

buildings and cities are very complex and intricate places and spaces and something that I’ve talked about over and over again for the, since the beginning of our time. And the office and in order to make these complex issues and physical buildings a little more accessible as far as attainable to the community and easier for the public officers to approach community members with questions or issues. The role of the architect is a critical one in, in order to help bridge this gap between, civic institutions in the citizens that are being served. Architects in Michigan can play a active role and voice in this position to make the dialogue, easier and smoother between the city and the people. this does not just go to speak for civic buildings such as a city halls or county offices or courthouses, but also any building project that’s going on in your neighborhood that you are concerned about.

there is a civic and public process to the development of any of these projects. And so you as a citizen are invited and equally, able to voice your opinion about what gets constructed in your backyard. And the more engagement and involvement from the community, the better our cities and towns will become. Architects in Michigan are best when serving the community. And trying to be a beneficial partner in the process rather than a standalone entity that does not communicate or integrate with any of the community member input or advice from local citizens. And so anytime a project is getting designed, grabbing that civic engagement component and instituting it in your own practice of architecture and your project workflow would greatly improve the outcome of the project and make something of an example of the successes. When projects are more community focused in the community is engaged in the process.

These are just a few topics of how architects in Michigan can enhance their place and role in the development of our cities and towns and there are many things that we can do to make that presence a little better known to our fellow citizens and help each other learn more about each other, especially the roles and responsibilities of architects and engineers and how our work makes cities better and more livable, healthy and safe to the community members. Architects in Michigan have been working a long time to grow these relationships over time and improve the presence and availability to our community members. We look forward to talking about projects at any time because we are architects, we love architecture and we definitely love talking about architecture. So whenever there’s a chance to engage with community and talk about something we’re passionate about and love, we would gladly take that opportunity.

many architects in Michigan are also members of their local rotary or a optimist club. some are also members of chamber groups that share project leads with each other. Other architects in Michigan are, sit on public commissions for planning departments or city council seats. some architects across the country are even running for May or public office. And having a person that is trained in education as an architect to problem solve and use design thinking to create solutions to complex issues and problems can serve a great benefit to public office when trying to tackle very complex issues such as infrastructure funding, public utilities, large scale campus is, anything that can be considered a very complex issue. Architects in Michigan have the ability to, bring to the table a, a voice of reason, but one that also is creative and design oriented to orchestrate a solution that is amicable for all parties involved in a very social and horizontal structure.

In the sense that everyone at the table is an equal voice and the architect is there to listen more than talk in order to arrive at the solution. Listening is a critical skill of any civic engagement professional or community developer. Often times design professionals have the tendency to be the loudest voice in the room to express their point of view, but when involved in a community process, the design professional needs to reverse the role to be more of a sounding board then the dictator. Those that see the best success in this realm of practice are the individual that are fully invested in the community they are serving. The designer does not always have to be a resident of the particular community, but as long as they are taking on the role of listener more than they are the talker then there will be a positive outcome. More solutions are had when the egos are left at the door and everyone is maintaining the proper attitude to be constructive and not destructive.

There are many ways to serve your community, and if you stop and take stock of what strengths you have and can offer then there is a great chance that you can become an active participant in the future of your community.