Press |

Community Service

  |  March 27, 2013

The centerpiece of this month’s Public Interest Design Week is the Structures for Inclusion Conference that begins March 20 at the University of Minnesota College of Design. And the centerpiece of that event is the multi-part presentation of projects that won 2013 Social/Economic/Environmental Design (SEED) Awards. An undertaking of Raleigh-based Design Corps, the awards program is part of a larger initiative that makes the case for defining sustainable design beyond energy-performance measures: The building that engages its local community more deeply is also more likely to be admired, maintained, and adapted by it.

One project being feted in Minneapolis is The Rosa F. Keller Building, pictured here. The first mixed-income housing project in New Orleans, the Keller project gives new life to a building type in need of reinvention and to the people occupying it.

Approximately 2,500 residents of New Orleans are chronically homeless, and homelessness increased 70 percent locally after Hurricane Katrina. The 2003 introduction—by a director of New Orleans’ Downtown Development District—between UNITY of Greater New Orleans and Community Solutions could not have been more fortuitous. The New York–based nonprofit is the national offshoot of Common Ground, a visionary organization that keeps New York’s most vulnerable populations off the streets through innovative public and private funding mechanisms, joint collaborations, and the incorporation of social services into housing properties. Both were founded by the incomparable Rosanne Haggerty.