Over the programs lifetime, 1+ has mobilized over $300 million in design services for underserved communities. The program delivers these resources through an online platform that connects nonprofits with architecture and design firms allocating at least one percent of working hours to pro bono service. Over 1000 projects have benefited from the 1+ program since 2007.
Pro bono A+D solutions scales the impact of 1+ by opening the program to government agencies to match an estimated 200 projects during the commitment term, based on past metrics. Over 1,400 firms, ranging from the largest and most celebrated to the smallest offices, participate in all 50 states. As reported in 1+ surveys, designers overwhelmingly want more opportunities, particularly civic and public space projects.
In line with the founding value of the Mayors Institute on City Design, Public Architecture believes that mayors are the chief urban designers of their cities. Pro bono A+D solutions is a mayor-led initiative to assist cities of all sizes to bring design strategy and innovation to improve the places where we live, work, and play.
Pro bono A+D solutions can be realized with a relatively small investment. Public Architecture has the staff, online platform, and expertise to manage the build out and ongoing maintenance of the program. Public Architecture possesses the network and capacity necessary to facilitate matching government agencies, and designers willing to provide their skills pro bono.
The 1+ platform will be open to projects that demonstrate contributions to community, civic vitality, and good civic policy. Proposals need to be realistic in scope and must address unmet community, environmental, or civic needs (especially in underserved or marginalized communities). Lastly, projects need to provide an opportunity for compelling or effective design solutions and illustrate how their idea would otherwise be a stagnant or unrealized opportunity without the pro bono commitment of a design firm.
Rolling out Pro bono A+D solutions will take place over two years. The final quarter of 2015 will be the planning, strategy, and funding phases. This includes recruiting the inaugural cohort of 10-20 mayors and onboarding their cities and towns as participants. This also requires identifying funders and raising funds to cover website development and implementation expenses.
The first two quarters of 2016 will consist of pre-launch program development. First this will include completing cities recruitment and vetting, as well as selecting the first projects. Next will be the website development, including discovery and UX design. This will be followed by identifying and confirming interested architecture and design firms, and matching designers with the first cohort of government projects. Next will be developing a national PR and outreach campaign targeting city leaders and designers, followed by the inaugural projects kick-off. Finally, the project will begin the partnership and the design process.
The third and fourth quarters of 2016 will be the launching pro bono A+D solutions phase, which will launch the national PR and outreach campaign and pursue media coverage and paid promotions for broad exposure. The government matching portal launches next on the 1+ program website, welcoming all cities and towns to register. Government agencies post their projects and match with design firms ongoing.
Next they test and evaluate the online experience, and adjust operations and technology as necessary. The program will be assessing ongoing operations quarterly. Additionally, they will start reporting monthly program metrics and activity. Metrics include cities participating, location, number of projects posted and project types, match rate, value of services, and user experience. Finally, the program will publish the first annual report.
The final phase of the project includes all of 2017 and 2018, and will consist of collecting metrics and outcomes, and conducting evaluation and reporting. It will also include checking into the experiences and processes on governments in-progress projects, and sending surveys to completed project partners. The project will report completed project outcomes, and lastly it will continue national media coverage and pursue local media coverage of project successes.
Local governments and government agencies often have conceptual project opportunities that respond to some unmet community need or underutilized asset, but frequently lack the expertise or staff resources to move these opportunities from concept to actionable projects. In San Francisco, some of the most progressive urban improvement initiatives of the past several years grew out of similar circumstances, including the Pavement to Parks program and the Sidewalk Landscaping Permit.
Trends show that cities are becoming denser and more diverse and interconnected, as well as more social and environmentally conscious. At the same time, most municipal governments have declining resources, financial and otherwise. With this in mind, Public Architecture seeks to direct millions of dollars worth of pro bono design services to advance good ideas, determine their feasibility, and develop actionable approaches to early stage projects. Prospective project types could range from transit to open space, economic development to public health. With this project, ideas that would otherwise go unrealized could be thoroughly explored at no cost to local government.
Public Architecture will create a unique platform within its existing program to direct cities and towns across the country to its 1+ pro bono design marketplace. Through 1+, municipalities will be able to connect with top architecture and design firms providing pro bono services in order to address local social and environmental challenges in the built environment.