American Roundtable

An Architectural League initiative offering on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of small to mid-size American communities.

How can we see with fresh eyes the condition—the successes, failures, and opportunities—of the American landscape? How can we more deeply understand the relationship of individuals and communities to their environments, and the constraining and empowering impacts that the built environment has on daily life, and the trajectories of lives?

These are the questions asked by American Roundtable, an initiative of The Architectural League that brings together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American small to mid-sized communities and what they need to thrive going forward.

Reports—published digitally on archleague.org and in a set of forthcoming printed booklets—along with a robust series of public programs will explore nine communities or regions and consider topics and issues central to their health and vitality. The communities and their editorial teams were selected through an open, national call for proposals in early 2020. They are:

  • Africatown, Alabama
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota
  • Lower Rio Grande region, New Mexico
  • Along the Lumbee River, North Carolina
  • Mahoning Valley, Ohio
  • River Valley, Maine
  • South Beach, Washington, and
  • West Virginia.

By providing platforms for individuals, groups, and organizations too often overlooked or ignored in the past, and by asking how design and an understanding of the built environment can empower communities, American Roundtable hopes to find new ways for Americans to imagine a future more dynamic, just, equitable, sustainable, and beautiful.

Support

American Roundtable is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

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The project is also supported by the J. Clawson Mills Fund of The Architectural League.

Event Videos

Appalachia Rising, West Virginia

Editor Nina Chase and report contributors Caroline Filice Smith and Elaine McMillion Sheldon present the report Appalachia Rising and discuss key themes and findings.

January 27, 2021

Dynamic Landscapes, South Beach, Washington

Editors Robert Hutchison and Daniel Abramson present the report Dynamic Landscapes and discuss key themes and findings with report contributors Gregory Hicks, Eirik Johnson, Cory Mattheis, Skip Swenson, Barbara Swift and community representatives Kevin Goodrich, Jamie Judkins, and John Shaw.

February 26, 2021

Themes

To promote comparison and synthesis across the reports, American Roundtable is organized around five broad themes: Public Space, Health, Work & Economy, Infrastructure, and Environment.

As additional reports are published, we invite you to explore these themes and the ways they operate in the built environment of American communities.

Credits

American Roundtable Steering Committee: Mario Gooden, Paul Lewis, and Lyn Rice
American Roundtable Selection Committee: Nicholas Anderson, David Dowell, Anne Marie Duvall Decker, Rosalie Genevro, Mario Gooden, Paul Lewis, Jonathan Massey, Sue Mobley, Erin Moore, and Jason Schupbach

Project Director: Nicholas Anderson
Executive Director: Rosalie Genevro
Project team: Sarah Wesseler, digital editor; Anne Carlisle, communications manager; Nanase Shirokawa, program associate; Caitlin Kim, Isabel Ling, and Nathan Revor, project interns; and Katie Rotman, former manager of operations and special projects

Website design: Jameson Proctor with Nathan Brouillet, Allison Connell, Lorraine Kim, and Britton Walker (Athletics)
Logo and identity design: Britt Cobb and Michael Bierut (Pentagram)
Project typeface: Papanekst by Dinamo
Print publication advisor: Kris Graves (Kris Graves Projects)