2019 Intersections Symposium

BOTTOM-UP SOCIAL CHANGE: Materials | Buildings | Community
June 6-8, 2019  |  Las Vegas, NV
Co-Chairs: Elizabeth Golden, University of Washington 
                  Joshua Vermillion, University of Nevada, Las Vegas 
 The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) are pleased to announce a partnership dedicated to the INTERSECTION of Education, Research and Practice. Through a series of educational sessions at the 2019 AIA Conference in Las Vegas, we will feature exemplary research projects which address issues related to our Symposium theme:  BOTTOM-UP SOCIAL CHANGEMaterials | Buildings | Community.


We are currently witnessing the largest wave of urban growth in human history. The nature and scope of this shift varies across the globe, but economic development and consumption are altering the quality of life for city dwellers and rural communities, bringing disproportional prosperity to some, while increasing inequality for many. 

This symposium will explore the strengths and weaknesses of bottom-up social driversas catalysts for development, growth, and transformation of our built environments in ways that are equitable, inclusive, affordable, and sustainable. To facilitate this discussion around Bottom-up Social Change,we seek examples of architectural research and practice that address any of the following questions:

How does bottom-up social change inform the sorts of spaces that we create and how we occupy them? How is architecture and public space informed by social engagement and grass-roots activism? How are materials deployed in these spaces to encourage (or discourage) safe and inclusive social interactions?

How does bottom-up social change inform or transform the way we practice and/or conduct research? Are there novel decision-making models (during the planning, design, or constructions processes) that are local, democratic, and participatory? What are the goals of such models and how is success measured? Are there other disciplines that we can learn from or should be engaged to facilitate these inclusive and participatory models?

How does bottom-up social change scale up? What larger trends or phenomena emerge from a series of small, bottom-up interventions? Can systems thinking help us understand these scalar cause and effect relationships?

We invite submissions that address one or more of these topics for affecting social change at the material scale, at the building scale, or at the community scale.


Educators, Practitioners, Researchers and Students are all encouraged to submit. If you are already an ACSA member, please log into the website to submit your abstract. If you are not an ACSA member or do not have ACSA credentials, please send an email to Eric Ellis, eellis@acsa-arch.org, to request access to the submission portal. 

Please submit a 300-500 words abstract of your research and up to 3 images, along with...

  • How your project/research is innovative and relevant to AIA conference attendees
  • A list of learning objectives/outcomes 

July 2018 
Call for Abstracts
August 8, 2018    Abstract Submission Site Opens  
Sept. 26, 2018
  Abstract Submission Deadline
Nov. 2018
  Abstract Notifications 
June 6-8, 2018 
  Intersection Symposium @ AIA Conference on Architecture 2019, Las Vegas


For questions please contact: 

Eric Wayne Ellis
ACSA, Director of Operations and Programs
       Nissa Dahlin-Brown, EdD, Assoc. AIA
AIA, Director of Academic Engagement


Image Credit: Cultural Construction, John Folan, Carnegie Mellon University & Urban Design Build Studio
2018 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award Winner