Introduction to Design Assistance Teams


When the design assistance team program was created in the 1960s, it pioneered participatory approaches to city building. Over five decades later, the program has established a track record of urban innovation and change that has influenced cities all over the world. Learn how the DAT program has employed one of the most powerful methodologies for urban innovation in the field today – and how its component parts have been adapted and deployed globally for urban transformations. Hosted by Communities by Design (CxD).

Learning objectives

  • Explain the guiding principles and methodology that Design Assistance Teams employ to help communities reach more equitable and sustainable outcomes.   
  • Describe how an architect can be a leader in community-wide solutions. 
  • Produce either an application for an AIA-led Design Assistance Team or a plan for hosting a similar project locally.  
  • Apply lessons learned from case studies across the US and internationally. 

This session was recorded live on April 26, 2023.

Through decades of work in hundreds of communities with tens of thousands of volunteers and citizens, CxD Design Assistance Teams have proven that communities are at the heart of solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Donate today to support this work.

This course is part of a series

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 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW


  • Paola Capo

    Manager of Disaster and Community Assistance | The American Institute of Architects

    Paola Capo is Manager of Disaster and Community Assistance at the AIA. She strives to provide...
  • Erin Simmons

    Senior Director of Design Assistance, Center for Communities by Design  |  The American Institute of Architects

    Erin Simmons is the Senior Director of Design Assistance at the Center for Communities by Design at...