This month on #Architalks the topic is Citizen Architect.


This topic is HARD (read in a whiny voice)…

I believe that the topic is meant to be the catalyst for a discussion regarding how great architects can be at improving the world. Which I guess we can be… But we can also be a bunch of self obsessed Type A jerks. And those who are good citizens are because of who they are, not because they became an architect. Or maybe I need to get more sleep and stop being such a curmudgeon.

But in order to try and describe what I am doing to try to help my community be a better place I need to depart from the traditional roles of the architect. I am going to describe one of the side ventures in my life.

In order to be a citizen architect I am trying to be a greedy, profit driven, developer, WaHaHa (maniacal laugh).


The best way to explain why is to tell a little story (FYI I love stories). After finishing college my wife and I were living in a large apartment building and our first child was beginning to get mobile, ie really loud. It became apparent that apartment life was not going to work. So we started looking for a new place to live. I believe that living urban is the most sustainable (and enjoyable) choice. So we looked close to downtown. However, it soon became apparent that there is not much in the way of good options close to downtown. Everything in our price range was really old or we had to move to the suburbs. We chose the old home close to downtown. Eight years later the jury is still out on the wisdom of this choice. My goal as a citizen architect is to help provide better options for the many millennials that are going to be making that same decision soon.

So I “di’velept” my social proforma for a successful project.

  1. It needs to be attainably priced to median income folks. There is plenty of housing in typical urban cores if you have deep pockets, but to meet the social proforma it needs to accessible to lots of people.
  2. It needs to be designed for families. SLC suffers greatly from not having the diversity that comes when there are housing options that welcome all phases of life.
  3. It needs to be urban. In SLC we have tons of land near our downtown that is underutilized.
  4. It needs to be small enough that you know your neighbors. And the neighbors will know your kids enough to understand the noise. There is a lot of talk in Salt Lake About the missing middle in development. To fulfuill the social proforma the project will need to help solve this issue.
  5. It needs to promote long term living. In order for people to be engaged in helping make their neighborhood better they need to be invested for the long term. This probably means that the project needs to be for sale rather than rental.
I love Salt Lake City

I love Salt Lake City


I have been searching for the perfect spot to test this social proforma. After a year and a half I have found the location and am getting close to having all of the pieces in place to move forward testing the Social (and economic) Proforma.

I suppose that it is OK to find my way to becoming a citizen architect through becoming a "greedy" developer with a Social Proforma.

In case you didn't know this post is a part of the #Architalks blog series. Check out the list below to get some wide variations on this topic.

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Citizen Architect ... Seems Redundant

Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Citizen Architect

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Good Citizen Architect

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
What Does it Mean to be a Citizen Architect?

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
small town citizen architect

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
#ArchiTalks: The everyday citizen architect

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Citizen Architect: #architalks

Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
Architect as Citizen

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
My Hero - Citizen Architect

Rosa Sheng - Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
We are the Champions - Citizen Architects

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Meet Jane Doe, Citizen Architect

Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks #13: How Can I Be But Just What I Am?

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
Help with South Carolina's Recovery Efforts

brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Senior Citizen, Architect

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Citizen Architect

Tara Imani - Tara Imani Designs, LLC (@Parthenon1)
Citizen Starchitect' is not an Oxymoron

Jonathan Brown - Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
Citizen Architect - Form out of Time

Eric Wittman - intern[life] (@rico_w)
[cake decorating] to [citizen architect]

Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Citizen Architect #ArchiTalks

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
Citizen of Architecture

Daniel Beck - The Architect's Checklist (@archchecklist)
Protecting the Client - 3 Ways to be a Citizen Architect

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Citizen Architect

Courtney Casburn Brett - Casburn Brett (@CasburnBrett)
“Citizen Architect” + Four Other Practice Models Changing Architecture

Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
How Architects Can Be Model Citizens

Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Citizen Architect: The Last Responder

Samantha Raburn - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Inspiring a Citizen Architect