Carolina Carvajal Plays Influential Role on AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT)

Sep 11, 2018

“It was truly a magnificent experience and it turned out to be better than I had imagined. During our 4 days of hard work, analysis, and community engagement; I had the delightful opportunity to experience Healdsburg as a city, the wonderful people that work and live here, met wonderful business owners and experienced the Healdsburg flavors and places.”

– Carolina Carvajal

Senior Landscape Designer Carolina Carvajal recently participated on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) for the community of Healdsburg, CA. The City of Healdsburg is facing a conundrum: The City’s prosperity in tourism has made it one of the most sought after cities in the country and property prices have soared making it a luxury community and rather inaccessible to those of a lower income. The city still needs workers such as teachers, artists, waiters but these people cannot afford to live in the city in which they work. The SDAT team was tasked with leveraging opportunities within the community for improved connections, arts, and affordable housing recommendations.

During the first day the SDAT team had a coordination meeting in which schedules were discussed and materials prepared. The team consisted of experts from distinct backgrounds and expertise’s:

Carolina Carvajal – Landscape Designer, Boston, MA

J Todd Scott – (SDAT Group Leader) Historic Preservation Architect, Seattle, WA

Edward Starkie – Financial Advisor and Landscape Architect, Portland, OR

Wayne Feiden – Director of Planning and Sustainability for Northampton, MA, Northampton, MA

Richelle Patton – President of Collaborative Housing Solutions – Affordable Housing Expert, Atlanta, GA

Mario Campos – Senior Partner of Jones & Jones – Urban Planner and Landscape Architect, Seattle, WA

Renee Piechocki – Artist and Public Art Consultant, Pittsburgh, PA

Erin Simmons – Senior Director, AIA Design Assistance, Washington D.C

Joel Mills – Senior Director, AIA Center for Communities by Design, Washington D.C.

The second day began with a walking and bus tour of the City of Healdsburg followed by all day meetings that were focused on different topics, with groups of stakeholders and SDAT individual experts. That night, the first community meeting was held to engage with the community, and hear their wants and needs.

“[The Community] definitely recognizes a need for more affordability overall in the region.” – Carolina Carvajal

The third and fourth day involved hard work all day researching and compiling of all the analysis to then transfer to graphic plans, which supports the team’s recommendations. They also spent time preparing other graphics and general points for the presentation. On the last night the SDAT team did the final public presentation that included findings from their rapid analysis and recommendations for the City.

Ms. Carvajal focused her efforts on developing natural and social connections within the City. Making the City’s natural assets less fragmented and streetscape’s more accessible and walkable for pedestrians. Improved connections at the social and natural frameworks enriches the diversity of the city.

“Ms. Carvajal and Mr. Campos suggested that the community identify four key locations: the community center, the Plaza, the high school and the train station, and work to create walkable connections between them. This can be done by increasing walkability using trees, benches, disabled access ramps and the ability to see and identify landmarks that encourage a pedestrian to keep walking.”

– The Healdsburg Tribune

Ms. Carvajal is currently working with the SDAT team to create a final report of recommendations to provide to the City of Healdsburg, as a guideline for the next phase of work and implementation.

Here is a brief article from The Healdsburg Tribune about the process and the SDAT efforts: