Monday, July 23, 2007

What does it mean to take a Snapshot?

As the KC Snapshot project has evolved over the course of the last 18 months our definition of “grassroots project” has evolved as well.

We started off embarking on a journey that we hoped could and would reach as broad a swath of Kansas City as possible. The idea was fairly simple… spend a year engaging in wide-ranging public conversations about how we live in Kansas City in 2007. Those conversations would then (hopefully) turn into catalysts for future discourse, and ultimately action. Inform, enlighten, inspire, empower.

People often ask about the point of the project… “so, why are you doing this project?”… “what is the deliverable”…”are you building anything?”. Fair questions to be sure - and we knew the answer was in there (somewhere).

That answer is slowly coming into focus.

The KC Snapshot project is a component project of the AIA150 initiative being undertaken by the American Institute of Architects on a national level to recognize and, in part, celebrate the 150th anniversary of the professional organization. The AIA has empowered the local chapters to undertake grassroots community outreach projects that would be meaningful for their local communities.

With that goal in mind, our vision for KC Snapshot emerged. If you think about acknowledging the history and legacy of the AIA, and what the profession has become in that 150 years, it seems the common thread would have to be advocacy for the quality of the built environment.

However, in 2007, advocating for a quality built environment can be an incredibly complicated, and sometimes nebulous, endeavor. What does that really mean as far individual, corporate or municipal action?

That’s what we want to talk about. You can’t have a rational discussion about the current condition of the built environment without first paying attention to the built environment… without taking a SNAPHOT.

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