Erin Simmons, Director of Design Assistance at Communities by Design

Erin Simmons is the Senior Director of Design Assistance at the Center for Communities by Design at the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC. The Center is a leading provider of pro bono technical assistance and participatory planning for community revitalization. Through its design assistance programs, the AIA has worked in over 250 communities across 47 states, and has been the recipient of numerous awards including “Organization of the Year” by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), a “Power of A Award” from the Center for Association Leadership, and the “Outstanding Program Award” from the Community Development Society.

Erin is a leading practitioner of the design assistance process, providing expertise, facilitation, and support for the Center’s Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT) and Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT ) programs. In this capacity, she works with AIA components, members, partner organizations and community leaders to provide technical design assistance to communities across the country. Her portfolio includes work in over 100 communities across the United States. A frequent lecturer on the subject of creating livable communities and sustainability, Erin contributed to the recent publication “Assessing Sustainability: A guide for Local Governments”. Prior to joining the AIA, Erin worked as historic preservationist and architectural historian for an environmental and engineering firm, where she practiced preservation planning, created historic district design guidelines and zoning ordinances, and conducted historic resource surveys. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.