While not everyone has access or money to hire a professional architect to help a community develop housing, schools, and public or commercial space, many architects feel committed to donating their time, often as a result of their experiences as students. Here are several platforms that help professionals, faculty, and students connect to communities that can benefit from their expertise and efforts:
• Make it Right, a rebuilding effort initiated by Brad Pitt, an actor with a strong interest in architecture, has focused on helping to re-establish the post-Katrina community of the lower ninth ward in New Orleans by using local and global architectural talent to create affordable, flood-resistant, well-designed homes that use energy-efficient systems and minimally toxic materials.
• Architecture for Humanity links the architecture community to places that need their assistance across the world, develops projects from the ground up, and shares lessons learned through their WorldChanging website. Their mission includes improving infrastructure, providing shelter for displaced populations, creating neutral spaces for post-conflict areas, mitigating the negative effects of rapid urbanization, improving facilities for people with disabilities, and reducing the "footprint" of the built environment. [m: Might "footprint" be a good addition to the Glossary?]
• Habitat for Humanity, perhaps the best known pro bono architecture program, has been facilitating the design and construction of housing in partnership with local residents since 1975 and recently celebrated its 200,000th house opening.
• The 1% for Architecture links design offices in the US who would like to volunteer their professional skills to local non-profits who request assistance.
Here are some of the projects that these organizations, with architecture students, faculty, and graduates have been working on...