Loading Events

Establishing Meaningful Relationships with Communities You Serve

Why should architects and design professionals care about community engagement? How can our design and planning processes help create great places while repairing harm and building community? Establishing Meaningful Relationships with Communities You Serve will help you build the knowledge, resources, and skill-sets to form more authentic relationships and coalitions with community, and create not only beautiful, functional and successful buildings and spaces, but also transform our profession from one that works for community to one that works with.

“Community engagement” is a term that can feel stale and evoke images of a checklist or antagonistic and transactional relationships. But what if it is approached as an opportunity to create stronger collective outcomes – driving better design and honoring the lived experience of the neighborhood and community? What if it helped repair past harm? What if it helped build community? This multi-day forum will convene design professionals, citizen advocates, community partners, and government representatives in a discussion about the benefits of community engagement; how to ensure that engagement is real and impactful, and how to make these processes a part of our standard practice.

Join us online, October 19-21, for this multi-day continuing education forum convening design professionals, citizen advocates, community partners, and government representatives in a discussion about the benefits of community engagement, how to ensure that engagement is real and impactful, and how to make these processes a part of our standard practice. 

Click the schedule button for a PDF of the program schedule and speaker bios. Session descriptions can be found below. All sessions and speakers subject to change.

Click here for schedule

Click here for attendee resources


Includes continuing education credit (8 AIA LU HSW). All sessions and speakers subject to change. 

$80 AIA Member
$80 Government + Partners
$40 Associate Member
$120 Non-Member
$20 Student

Click here to register

Registration Deadline: Friday, October 16, 5:00pm PT. 

This is a 3-day program consisting of four two-hour sessions. Participants must attend the full program in order to receive continuing education credit or a certificate of completion. All registration and credit questions can be directed to Zoe Guckenheimer

Reduced rate options are available (priority given to AIA members). Please submit the Continuing Education Scholarship / Reduced Rate Request Form via email by Monday, October 12, 5:00pm PT. 



9:00 – 11:00 AM PT | Panel Discussion

Community engagement is a process of thoughtful facilitation for groups to learn, heal, and come together on a vision to shape their future. The core of establishing an authentic connection in the BIPOC communities is to not assume the community is interested in discussing the dominant cultural values, but instead, invite people to bring their lived experiences, talk about what their community needs to thrive, and share the kind of healing places they need to shape their communities. To right-course our community engagement process, we need to understand what it takes to build this authentic connection.



9:00 – 11:00 AM PT | Panel Discussion + Case Studies

Bringing together both subject matter experts and case studies, this session will explore how to be successful with reaching the optimum design solution with person(s) with disabilities (PWD) involved. Learn how to find and engage PWD in diverse racial and social groups, hear how DeafSpace* worked to engaged stakeholders at various stages of the project to ensure the vision was evidenced in the final output, and get tips on how to incorporate accessibility into your outreach practice. *DeafSpace is a Registered Service Mark of Gallaudet University.


4:00 – 6:00 PM PT | Panel Discussion + Case Studies

Community organizers, housing developers, and design professionals who helped shape Liberty Bank Building and Othello Square will describe how each engagement process unfolded and how their partnership evolved over time. Named to honor the region’s first Black-owned bank that once stood at the corner, Liberty Bank Building is a 115-unit affordable housing development built for community who have been displaced from the neighborhood. Othello Square is another result of a collective community vision. When complete, the project will support more than 350 living-wage jobs, preserve small businesses, and nurture entrepreneurship among historically excluded community members. Multiple perspectives of this moderated panel will offer lessons learned on how to develop long-term relationships, and meaningful engagement into projects early on and throughout the design process. The session is not meant to be “this is how you do community outreach” but instead present both successes and ways to improve any engagement process.



9:00 – 11:00 AM PT | Panel Discussion 

  • Moderator: Rico Quirindongo | Principal + NW Civic Design Leader, DLR Group
  • Amir Sheikh | Curatorial Associate, Burke Museum
  • Ian Stewart | Principal, EMC Research
  • Cameron Campbell-Wilkens | Principal Design Strategist, OneDesign Digital Devices at Amazon

The session will explore the importance of understanding historic neighborhood and cultural context, as well as the critical value of doing one’s research on the community being engaged and communities being affected by proposed built environment opportunities. We will show how using data can provide a strong foundation in community engagement efforts and help establish long term relationships with community. We will look outside of the Architecture/Planning fields for tools and methodologies others use to create and maintain meaningful engagement with communities they serve.


  • Explore the value of community engagement for building trust and prioritizing the health, safety, and wellness of the community throughout each phase of the design process.
  • Analyze case studies to identify outreach strategies that have led to projects that reflect community input and needs.
  • Discuss the process for community engagement in the entire lifecycle of a project – from project scoping and concept design through operations and stewardship after project completion.
  • Understand the importance of public participation and community-led design in creating resilient and adaptable communities.
  • Apply valuable insight and perspectives on community engagement techniques from other sectors (including human-centered design and market research).
  • Analyze engagement with EDI equity, diversity, and inclusion frameworks and Design Review case studies.



Rico Quirindongo | DLR Group
Magda Hogness | Office of Planning and Community Development
Gladys Ly-Au Young | SKL Architects
Karen L. Braitmayer | Studio Pacifica
John M. Feit | 3 Plus
Vicki Ha | Amazon
David Driskell | Baird+Driskell Community Planning

Registration or Credit Questions?
Contact Zoe Guckenheimer, Program & Event Coordinator at AIA Seattle

Program Questions?
Contact Annalee Shum, Community Engagement Manager at AIA Seattle

Sponsorship Questions?
Contact Kristen Lound, Associate Director of Growth & Operations at AIA Seattle


October 19, 2020
October 21, 2020
Event Price
Class Credit


AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938