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BSA News

Nov 04, 2022

BSA issues inaugural Request for Innovations

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Photo by Anthony Crisafulli

Everyone, no matter who they are, experiences and interacts with the built environment. As such, architecture has a tremendous potential to address inequity and climate change on a universal level—a potential that is often overlooked.

The BSA has embarked on a new vision to advance innovation in the built environment while continuing to support the profession through education, networking, and advocacy. To launch this effort, the BSA is putting out a call for ideas–a Request for Innovations–with the goal of making changes to the art and practice of architecture that have strong potential to address equity and climate.

Applicants are invited to submit proposals, which might involve research, pilot projects, creative engagement, or other modes of work. The RFI is open to anyone with an idea, including architects, designers, community members, policymakers, academics, nonprofits, for-profits, and more. The deadline for submitting applications is January 20, 2023.

“This innovation work is a focused and necessary step forward for the BSA,” says Anda French, 2022 BSA President. “It will allow us to address the most critical issues of our time. It is a meaningful opportunity for architects, designers, community members, and potential collaborators to build coalitions, put forth ideas, get support, and thoughtfully take action. As we offer a number of RFIs over the coming years, we hope to make collective progress on climate and equity in Greater Boston’s built environment.”

The RFI is designed with a focus on experimentation, leaving room to test ideas, learn from them, and iterate. The BSA will work with those selected and supply resources that are needed to develop their idea; this support might include expertise, professional connections, or monetary grants. Proposals should center on Greater Boston, but applicants are not required to live in Boston.

The open nature of the RFI is meant to encourage new ways of addressing the systemic, interconnected issues of equity and climate change. At the same time, the RFI builds on a long tradition of activism and transformative change in Boston, driven by diverse coalitions of people and championed by affected communities throughout the city.

Design expertise is not a prerequisite for applying to the RFI. Operating as an active convener and relationship-maker, the BSA is positioned to draw on its diverse membership to bring together parties and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. By doing so, the organization aims to help open the door to those who have an interest in how the built environment is designed, but may not have historically had access to decision-making processes.

Those with questions can refer to a wealth of resources the BSA is providing to prospective applicants, such as the full text of the RFI with guidelines and a link to the application, the FAQ, the workshop and information session on November 15, and a series of office hours held on Tuesdays in the coming months. A full list of events and resources is available.

“The innovation work is such a natural extension of the BSA’s core work of supporting the profession,” says Bennet Heart, 2022 BSA Foundation Chair. “We intend to build synergies between architects and the projects we take on–helping to advance critical skills while also having impact on the ground. We are very excited about the potential of our collective efforts to make progress on addressing equity and climate.”

Have questions? Contact us at [email protected] or attend the November 15 information session.