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Did he say “citizen architect"?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve seen us use the term “citizen professional," which we borrowed from our colleague, Bill Doherty.

In 2006, Doherty, a University of Minnesota professor, marriage and family therapist, and community organizer, published Professionals as Citizens: Civic Engagement Skills for Practitioners, “proposing that therapists take a more active role in the politics, policies, and social issues within and beyond their communities"…in order to “help to influence (or at the very least have a greater understanding of) the factors that contribute to [their clients’] presenting issues."

Although Doherty’s work is well-regarded and fairly well-known (he’s been on Oprah twice), it’s not like everyone is going around talking about citizen professionals.

haybalehouse.jpgThis hay bale home was the first structure completed by the Rural Studio more than a decade ago. (photo: David Michael Murphy)

Which is why I was so surprised to hear the term “citizen architect" while listening to the weekly Speaking of Faith program broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio (Dec. 28).

The show’s guest, Andrew Freear, who directs an architecture program at Alabama’s Auburn University, was talking about architecture as a "social art." Over the course of the interview, he explained why it’s important that “students and architects understand the bigger, broader societal responsibilities that they can have and take on. We shape the environment," he said.

Listen to the interview yourself to hear Freear describe the the Rural Studio's $20K house project and how students and the community are learning together what it means to be a citizen architect.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs