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Community Design Director Job Description

The BSA Foundation and Boston Society of Architects (together referred to as the BSA) seek an experienced community architect/designer/planner to serve as the Community Design Director (CDD). Building upon our legacy of community design work, the CDD is charged with leading our work to empower communities through the use of design to shape their environment. Our projects range in size from the small, site specific project, to entire neighborhoods. The CDD will lead the BSA’s work to develop, test and implement models built upon past community design work that furthers the BSA’s goal of providing access to design resources for every neighborhood in Boston. The CDD will participate in researching and implementing projects, mobilizing partners and BSA members to engage communities and the public in the use of design skills to solve their community challenges. Under the leadership of the BSA’s Executive Director, the CDD works with staff, including the Director of Public Education and the Policy Director, as well as volunteers, interns and members to carry out these efforts.

Major Responsibilities

Community Design Leadership

  • Lead, manage, organize and facilitate the organization’s community design work, projects and systems.
  • Maintain and build upon existing community relationships while forging new ones.
  • Build a model of community design through an iterative process that utilizes the organization’s unique resources (members, local universities, past models, connections and relationships). Test different models and ideas to identify the best ways to achieve our goals.
  • Build and manage well-designed, well-defined programs promoting community design that integrates the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC), legal, development groups, and local communities around Greater Boston. Programs will include community design/build projects, as well as charrettes, design workshops, and competitions.
  • Build and manage tools that empower communities and individuals to develop design skills that help them solve their community challenges.
  • Represent and when appropriate, build and nurture multi-organizational alliances and partnerships to develop and implement successful community design projects.
  • Work with the Policy Director and Executive Director to lead the development and management of relationships with key public, government, nonprofit and community officials and partners.
  • In addition the CDD will work with other staff, including the Communications team to build membership and public awareness of our community design work; the Development team to raise funds to support the organization’s community design efforts; and the Membership team to recruit members to volunteer for projects.

Management and supervision

  • The CDD will directly recruit, train and supervise interns, volunteers and staff engaged in the community agenda.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community design staff and communications staffs at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National (including their community design programs called SDAT and RUDAT), AIA Massachusetts and other affiliates and partners.
  • Prepare regular reports for the executive director to be shared with the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees on community design initiatives, advocacy and actions.
  • Participate in developing and managing the budget for community design.

Independent Action:

Reporting directly to the Executive Director or designee and working closely with other directors and staff, this person works independently and with others. The CDD manages outside partnerships, consultants and oversees staff and volunteers on specific projects. The CDD might take on direct supervision of interns and/or fellows and as the program grows potentially new community design staff. CDD will serve as a spokesperson for the organization on community design issues.

Minimum Requirements:

This position requires 5-10 years’ experience working as a community designer/planner or in a related field and a commitment to the impact architecture/design has on building communities, licensed architect preferred though not required. Candidates must have professional experience in community design, urban design and architecture, coalition building, engaging public and communities in design, or related field. Demonstrated skill in proactively building relationships with diverse audiences including design professionals, community leaders and partners, public officials, media and the public is essential. This position calls for a strategic thinker who is also able to handle details and project management. This position also requires someone committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and who flourishes in building bridges between and working with people of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic, as well as demographics, psychographics, and institutional cultures. A willingness to work beyond normal 9-5 hours and to travel as necessary is important.

Desired Qualifications:

The ideal candidate would have experience in civic program development and can think big picture in addition to working on the details of community design on a project scale. Excellent writing, design and speaking skills are important to success. A licensed architect is preferred, though not required.

About the BSA:

The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is a membership organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the profession of architecture and the critical value of design in the built environment. The BSA Foundation (Foundation) is dedicated to increasing public awareness of design excellence to build stronger communities. Together they work to build a better Boston by engaging communities, inspiring vision and provoking positive change. The staff is vital to the organizations’ success.

All staff members share the following core responsibilities:

  • Provide outstanding service and ensure a welcoming culture for members, allies and guests.
  • Answer basic questions about benefits, services and programs. Provide member care and customer service responses to frequently asked questions.
  • Advocate for and communicate the importance of “design matters.”
  • Stay current on developments in architecture and your areas of responsibility.

Maintain a flexible and collaborative attitude, working with other staff on projects, events, duties and assignments as required

The position is a full-time, salaried position with excellent health-care, time-off, retirement and additional benefits. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

How to apply.

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