Not every person is meant to be a leader or has the self-restraint and control that is needed. Architects and Designers are good candidates for leading a team, as that is part of what the profession requires. You should consider how your skills can make an impact on your community, and how many of the lessons you learn in Architecture can be applied to community building and leadership.
The American Institute of Architects, also known as AIA, created a booklet called the “Citizen Architect Handbook”, which offers plenty of ideas on how to get involved, politically and socially, and how to maximize the impact of our service. When you are just starting off you should aim to focus on a culture of developing leadership, and how to prepare the youth for roles as leaders. To start that process off you need to promote leadership in the community, and that can be done by promoting and incentivizing equity, diversity and inclusion. Architecture and the buildings that we live within is a wonderful place to start.
To be considered a Citizen Architect by the AIA, you must fulfill the following responsibilities:
- uses his/her insights, talents, training, and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition
- stays informed on local, state, and federal issues, and makes time for service to the community
- advocates for higher living standards, the creation of a sustainable environment, quality of life, and the greater good
- seeks to advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic activism, by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government.
According to the AIA the Handbook was created, “to offer insight into the important role architects play in advancing public policy and methods that encourage greater civic engagement by architects. Inspired by the work of AIA components across the country, the handbook features examples for establishing a local Citizen Architect committee, and strategies for engaging at a local, state, and national level.”
The approach must be to balance human-centered design thinking with data collection and processing to personalize and truly represent the needs of that person within the community. You do not need to go to New York City or San Francisco to make an impact, you can connect with your local community once you are there to help out.
Just like any person in a society, you may feel disconnected at times, and feel like you can make a bigger impact, but you just lack the power and influence. Stop that! Apathy does not create positive impact and change. You must look around you and see what resources and people are willing to work together to create a better future.
Architecture has a broad description that each of person can find their own niche and role within. Some are artists. Some are good organizers. You must take stock of what is available in your community and the handbook is a great place to start to make a change.
When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-US, and improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.