A group of architects and others interested in talking about the state’s future are gathering in Ames today and tomorrow. Steve Knierin, a Cedar Rapids-based architect, is chairman of this spring meeting of the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Knierin says a report last year from a group of Institute members concluded Iowa architects are “too passive” in letting things “unfold” around them. He says that’s why the architects are trying to take the initiative in helping to plot a new course for the state. Knierin says architects “really challenged” themselves “to take “a stronger role in advocacy” and “get involved.” To the end, the architects have invited the group Iowans for a Better Future to join in discussions today and tomorrow. David Oman is part of that group. Oman says architects “bring a lot of good skills sets” to problem solving. He says they have to deal with all sorts of constituencies, build near-term while thinking long term, and do it all in an “upbeat way.” Oman says “goodness knows we need that direction and that optimism at this time” in the state’s history. Knierin agrees that architects bring special skills to the table. Knierin says “there are so many visions of how Iowa should unfold over the next few years, and many of them involve significant change.” He says architects can help people “envision change in a positive way” and somehow “make it less threatening.” Knierin hopes that by tomorrow, those who’ve gathered in Ames have come up with a view of what Iowa could be in 20 years.
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