Over the past 50 years, the American Institute of Architects has provided pro bono community design expertise to hundreds of cities and towns around the country. Many of these communities have been completely transformed by the program, called R/UDAT – the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team. It’s an initiative with a funny name, but it gets big results. Now, the AIA needs to inspire other communities in need to bring R/UDAT to their hometown and see the results for themselves.
R/UDAT is a process for engaging community stakeholders to develop a decades-long plan to bring about transformative change in a neighborhood. On the surface, it has all the excitement of your average PTA meeting. But the story of East Nashville is so much more than a community planning process. It’s the story of a city divided, an F3 tornado, and parents who worked tirelessly to create a better neighborhood for their children. That’s the narrative we chose to educate the audience about the R/UDAT program.
Great characters are the foundation of engaging storytelling. In the East Nashville story, we focused our story on Christine Kreyling and Hunter Gee – two East Nashville residents who have spent decades on the difficult, unglamorous work of rebuilding a neighborhood. Their passion, knowledge, and experience helped to distill a complex, years-long story into something much more tangible for the audience.
AIA now has a beautiful documentary case study to show audiences what the R/UDAT program can accomplish. It will be used to both educate viewers about the impact of the R/UDAT program in East Nashville and to inspire them to consider how it could impact other communities around the country.