Thursday, December 30, 2010

SEED Competition Deadline Approaching

Hopefully my last post got you intrigued enough to start poking around the web to find out what it was all about. If you don't know what I'm talking about it's probably because SEED is relatively new. SEED, Social Economic and Environmental Design, can be thought of as the social equivalent to LEED – get it? (my analogy). SEED is the brain-child of Bryan Bell, yes, THAT Bryan Bell of Design Corps. It was launched a few years ago and he is now developing it further as part of his research as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard. The inaugural SEED competition was launched this fall and the results will be announced at this year's SFI right here in Chicago. This is an incredible opportunity to be part of this exciting new program. If that isn't enough to get you going, here is a personal invitation from the indefatigable Monica Chadha:
On behalf of SEED and the SFI Steering Committee I would like to invite you to submit a community based project for the SEED Chicago Competition. SEED stands for Social Economic and Environmental Design and has been developed as a tool to allow community based projects a method to evaluate their impact, successes and lessons learned. The basic goals of SEED are to build a national network of resources; to provide a means to measure, evaluate and certify great community-based projects; and to celebrate the successes of these projects. While there are a number of evaluatory tools out there, SEED has been developed for the type of work you and your organization support.

SEED evaluation and certification will allow all of us to better promote our work, to apply for further funding opportunities and to share from each other’s experiences. SEED is aimed at providing recognition for all of the critical criteria in community based projects beyond sustainability. By nationally recognizing and certifying projects based in the community it is possible to convey the importance of this work to a wider audience. SEED is intended for all types or projects, whether a community initiative, a local planning project or a built structure to name a few.

In the Spring, Chicago will be hosting the national Structures for Inclusion Conference [SFI 10+1], a conference that celebrates community based projects and provides a place to discuss, learn, develop and share both the successes and challenges of this work. In advance of the conference, the Driehaus Foundation, among others, is supporting the chance to promote Chicago and Midwest projects; this is a perfect opportunity for projects like those you work on to be a model for others and find some recognition in the larger community based design field.

There are two parts to the applications process, which is explained in more detail on the website. The $25 competition entry fee will also count toward conference registration for one community partner. All projects entered that reflect SEED goals will be promoted nationally. The three winning projects of the Chicago Competition will receive a $1,000 honorarium and the opportunity to present at the SFI conference in March. All projects submitted will be showcased nationally on the website and through publication.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or to send any competition questions to Emily Axtman, Design Corps Fellow at The competition website can be found here:


Monica Chadha

SFI 10+1 Steering Committee
SEED Evaluator

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