The Drachman Institute is the research-based outreach arm of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) at The University of Arizona dedicated to sustainable design and planning with a focus on communities in need throughout Arizona and the Greater Southwest.  We engage students, staff, faculty, and citizens as an interdisciplinary collaborative striving to make our communities healthier, safer, more equitable, and more beautiful places to live. 

Focus Areas
Our work is directed toward lower-income neighborhoods, school districts, community and rural organizations, non-profit corporations, community housing development organizations, municipalities, as well as local, state and federal agencies and tribal nations.The Drachman Institute acts as a nexus between community needs and the College’s skills and knowledge in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning.

Uniting the disciplines of architecture, planning, and landscape architecture, Drachman Institute’s Community Outreach Partnership Center provides assistance to neighborhoods, small towns, cities, and native peoples around the State of Arizona. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of University Partnerships awarded Drachman Institute the first of two consecutive three-year grants establishing the Community Outreach Partnership Center – “Community Futures Demonstration Project” and “Building Healthy Neighborhoods.”  With these grants, Drachman, the College, and the University of Arizona committed to continue and build on the work supported by this seed funding. Our work is particularly geared towards housing and transportation affordability, community and neighborhood planning, and planning and design for native peoples.

Drachman Design-Build Coalition is a non-profit entity that facilitates the ability of the School of Architecture’s Design-Build Studio to  produce prototypes of energy-efficient, low-cost dwellings.  Each prototype showcases building strategies intended for direct use throughout the community and by other non-profit and for-profit home builders.

Design-build projects have been completed by DDBC with students annually or semi-annually since 1996, and have received awards for design and collaborative practice from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and the Design-Build Institute of America.
Heritage Conservation: promoting the preservation of our existing built environment as part of a comprehensive ethic of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.  Since 2000, Drachman Institute’s Heritage Conservation program, under the direction of R. Brooks Jeffery, has integrated funded outreach projects with an interdisciplinary curricular program, Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation, using service-learning as a primary method of knowledge transfer. With grants totaling over $1.2 million from local and state municipalities, and federal agencies such as the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service, Heritage Conservation has conducted numerous surveys of historic resources, historic building assessments, and treatment recommendations, cultural landscape inventories and treatment recommendations, new schematic design projects in historic contexts, and energy audits on historic buildings.

Sustainable City Project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the UA’s Institute of the Environment (IE), College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA), and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), that focuses on issues of sustainable urban development and livable cities through education, outreach, and research.  Part think tank, part urban design studio, part community forum, the project develops community-based solutions to complex urban challenges, including renewable energy, climate change, economic development, affordable housing, multi-modal transportation, water management, public health, as well as ecosystem and heritage conservation. The Sustainable City Project, under the direction of Linda Samuels, is based at UA Downtown where UA faculty members and students can connect with city officials and staff, community leaders and project developers for dialogue, vision, analysis and development of sustainable scenarios for the future.

Service-Learning Model
The Drachman Institute utilizes a number of vehicles for implementing these collaborative outreach projects including multi-disciplinary design studios, faculty and professional residencies, service-learning coursework, senior capstone projects, master’s theses, and direct hiring and mentoring of students as research assistants.  We embrace a service-learning model of education addressing the needs of communities while providing an outreach experience for students as a fundamental educational goal consistent with the mission of CAPLA and The University of Arizona.

History of the Drachman Institute
The Roy P. Drachman Institute for Land and Regional Development Studies was created in 1986 in honor of Roy P. Drachman (1907-2002).  Drachman was a long-time supporter of The University of Arizona and a keen observer of the changes happening in the American Southwest over most of the last century. He left a legacy of public service and a continuing commitment to contribute to the healthy growth of communities and neighborhoods.  His legacy continues to inspire the current mission and projects of the Drachman Institute. 

For more information on Roy Drachman, download the biography and oral history conducted by the Historymaker Project of the Arizona Historical Society.

For more information contact Drachman Institute Director R. Brooks Jeffery at 520.621.2991 or rbjeffer@u.arizona.edu.




In Drachman Institute News

September 26, 2013
August 08, 2013

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