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The 5th annual “Design For Dignity” Conference: Day One

July 23, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 10:30 am PDT

$5.00 – $90.00


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AIA|LA presents…
The 5th annual “Design For Dignity” Conference

“Catharsis from Crisis to Transformation: Shifting Ground” – Part One

moderated by Michael B. Lehrer, FAIAFounding Partner & President, Lehrer Architects LA

Scroll Down to Purchase a One-Day Pass for Part One of Design for Dignity, or to Purchase a Three-Day Pass


Day One looks at the larger context of today’s housing and humanitarian crisis, and considers the impact of a once in a century pandemic and a four-hundred-years-in-the-making reckoning with racial injustice. The latter reminds us, again, that inequality has led to an unequal percentage of Black Americans without shelter. What can we can we take during this time of shifting ground to activate and install meaningful change, rapidly.

Join a panel composed of national, statewide, and local figures who are deeply committed to supporting those without shelter as they address means to engage, mollify, or overcome NIMBYism, transform perspectives, and provide for everyone’s needs for security, shelter, and respect.


In the spring of 2019, the former Presidents of AIA Los Angeles got together and decided to welcome the country’s architectural community at the AIA National Conference to be held in LA in May 2020 by having a symposium-within-a-conference to share our successes and failures as a city and society in housing our homeless sisters and brothers. The national conference didn’t happen. COVID intervened.

AIA Los Angeles rescheduled its annual “Design With Dignity” conference (zoom-wise) for July and assimilated the AIA symposium into it.
Subject adjusted, broadened and different.

George Floyd, and so many others, were murdered before our very eyes and the world changed. Community, Health, and Home were all reframed, in almost every city and community across America and around the world. It has been a real-time national reckoning about true justice, and the collective ownership of our past and future.

Our conversation thus shifts.

What seemed daunting, if not impossible mere weeks and months ago, has happened. Attitudes, positions, and implementations have changed in ways that are exhilarating, scary, disorienting, promising, and not. Tomorrow will tell, but being our best selves seems more possible now.

Los Angeles is doing it. With every passing month, myriad projects and teams and agencies are immersing themselves into the most fundamental act of architecture. The City is becoming a major laboratory and this session will give an eye-opening overview of emerging solutions and strategies.

What really is the problem? The homeless community is profoundly complex, not monolithic, and understanding it is not intuitive. How do we define our goals of Complete Communities? What are basic frameworks for a common language of home and community that can engage, mollify, or overcome NIMBYism, and respect everyone’s needs for security, shelter, and respect?

What is the full continuum of living in the city, from our sisters and brothers sleeping on the streets, to drop-in centers and shelters, to housing and homes for all?

This panel will give people the fundamental, and often new, language to engage the full range of stakeholders and players in their own communities and takeaway models for action/results.


Michael B. Lehrer, FAIAFounding Partner & President, Lehrer Architects LA (moderator)
Tom De SimonePresident & CEO, Genesis LA
Natasha HicksGovernment Performance Lab — Detroit Innovation Fellow, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Monique King-ViehlandDirector, State and Local Housing Policy, Urban Institute
Heidi Marston, MPAExecutive Director, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)
Molly RysmanHousing and Homelessness Deputy, Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, County of Los Angeles & Stanton Fellow, The Durfee Foundation
Sean SpearAssistant General Manager, Housing Development, Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department
Pete WhiteFounder & Executive Direct, Los Angeles Community Action Network

July 24 (Part Two) – “New Types of Housing Solutions”

moderated by Wade Killefer, FAIA – Partner, KFA Architecture & President-elect, AIA Los Angeles

July 28 (Part Three) – “Homelessness in LA: Understand it Today, Change it Tomorrow”

moderated by Alice Kimm, FAIA – Principal, John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects & Member, Open Source Homelessness Initiative (OSHI)

Please support AIA|LA by sponsoring “Design for Dignity” =  SPONSORSHIP AVAILABLE



July 23, 2020
8:00 am - 10:30 am PDT
$5.00 – $90.00
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