The AIA has announced seven communities for its 2012 Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program, which provides multidisciplinary teams of professionals to help residents and local decision-makers create visions for more sustainable local environments. According to AIA Design Assistance Director Erin Simmons, professionals from over 35 disciplines have participated in the program. Those include experts in land-use planning, historic preservation, economic development, sustainable development, housing, governance, transportation, and real estate development. Since 2005, the program has provided guidance to 54 communities in 34 states. Here are this year’s communities:

Augusta, Ga.
The once-vibrant historically black neighborhoods of Laney Walker and Bethlehem in Augusta, Ga., have undergone a revitalization scheme since 2008. The Augusta Housing and Community Development Department’s application seeks further assistance in areas such as energy and water efficiency, solar orientation, water-efficient landscaping, and light-pollution reduction.

Austin, Texas
The SDAT will provide Austin, Texas with guidance on the balance between the development and preservation of Lady Bird Lake by advising the city’s Waterfront Planning Advisory Board.

Sipaulovia Village, Ariz.
Through SDAT assistance, Sipaulovia Village, Ariz., will create a master land-use plan to address sustainable development and codes and zoning. 

South Hadley, Mass.
The historic neighborhood of South Hadley Falls, Mass., located along the Connecticut River, will address challenges such as flooding, a lack of public spaces, and a depressed job sector.

Springfield, Ill.
The Illinois capital seeks to “create a repopulation plan for a more sustainable downtown that maintains the area’s historic and cultural viability and increases its economic vitality,” according to its application.

Stanwood/Camano Region, Wash.
The Greater Stanwood/Camano Region in Washington aims to develop alternative transportation modes, form-based building codes that would increase the appeal of the urban area, and to reconnect with local food sources.

Wenatchee, Wash.
The largest city in the North Central Washington State, Wenatchee seeks to “honor its history as a place for immigrants, culture and industry and provide recommendations for bridging the gaps of the current physical, socio-economic, cultural and commercial barriers allowing the neighborhood and commercial district to become a focal point for sustainability, change and revitalization for the region.”

The SDAT process includes preliminary visits from AIA Team Leaders and national staff, a three-day charrette session in which six to eithtprofessionals collaborate with community residents, a summary of the team’s final policy suggestions, and ongoing ad hoc email and conference call consultations. Throughout SDAT's six-year history, the program has convened over 200 professionals to envision more sustainable communities.