Sarah SniderUrban designer Sarah Snider, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, has long been interested in the relationship of cities to their residents. Over the past few years, she's started to focus on ways urban areas can make themselves more appealing to families, thus gaining longer-term economic sustainability. "As a young professional myself, I see a lot of my friends and colleagues moving into the city and enjoying it," says the Seattle dweller. "It made me think-- how are our cities going to evolve?"

Snider (no relation to my co-worker and fellow senior editor Bruce Snider) recently won AIA Seattle's 2012 Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship for her research on this critical topic. An LMN Architects employee by day, she plans to use the $5,000 scholarship to visit cities all over North America, gathering information on current practices and new ideas for making the metropolis a more family-friendly place. 

Naturally, schools will be a major focus. "Rarely does the school department talk to the planning department, and yet the school department has one of the biggest impacts on real estate," she says.

Snider also will examine issues of cost and space, two additional barriers to living in a city with kids. The question of transportation, too, will play an important role in her research. Learn more about her project at --M.D.