June 26, 2009
  AIA Honolulu Advocates Flexible Rail for Planned Honolulu Transit Project
AIA Honolulu is working with the Oahu City Administration and Honolulu City Council to propose a partially elevated and at-grade light rail line in lieu of a 20-mile elevated and automated rail across the entire island that would run through Honolulu, small towns, and sugar cane fields. The initially planned 20-mile Honolulu Rapid Transit project would cost $5.4 billion, not including debt financing, for a population of 900,000. AIA Honolulu’s proposal would reduce the project cost by $2 billion.

SDAT Program Solicits 2010 Proposals
The Center for Communities by Design has announced the release of the 2010 Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT) Request for Proposals. The SDAT program brings together multidisciplinary teams of professionals from across the country to provide a road map for communities seeking to improve their sustainability—as defined by a community’s ability to meet the needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The SDAT committee will conduct two rounds of application review through the remainder of 2009 to offer applicants the opportunity to receive an early decision and acceptance by the review committee.

Business Conditions at Architecture Firms Largely Unchanged in May
The path toward recovery in design activity has stalled recently. After a significant moderation in the downturn in design billings in March, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has failed to show any further hopeful signs in April or May. The ABI score from May was 42.9, barely moving the needle from the 42.8 score in April. Since any score below 50 reflects an overall decline in billings, the May reading indicates that business conditions at architecture firms are still deteriorating, and that there was no significant movement toward recovery during the month.

2010 Convention Presentation Proposal Deadline July 1
The deadline for submitting presentation proposals for the 2010 AIA Convention is July 1, 2009. The convention, with the theme “Design for the New Decade,” will be held in Miami, June 10–12, 2010.

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This is where you will find the latest happenings in the Institute, the profession, and the wider world of building design and construction. The News Zone also carries commentary from AIA elected representatives as well as major new commissions, completions, and openings.