Our Roots Design Coalition began in 1972 as a non-profit architectural and planning office, a Community Design Center, with the mission of serving and empowering people who were without access to quality design and construction expertise.
Community design centers in the United States are a legacy of the 1970's. The movement arguably began during the 1968 American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention. In a memorable address, then-Executive Director of the Urban League Whitney Young stated candidly:
"You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights. I'm sure this does not come to you as any shock. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance. You are employers, you are key people in the planning of cities today. You share the responsibility for the mess we are in - in terms of the white noose around the central city. We didn't just get in this situation. It was carefully planned."
Architects subsequently began to support the creation of community design centers in larger cities, often in collaboration with university schools of architecture.
The Association for Community Design (ACD) is the national organization of Community Design Centers with over 40 members currently. For more on Community Design Centers, see the Association for Community Design website.