Design and Planning Assistance Center (DPAC)
The mission of the Design and Planning Assistance Center (DPAC) is to deliver design and planning services to low-income communities throughout the state of New Mexico. DPAC was founded at the UNM School of Architecture & Planning (SA•P) in 1969, as part of a national community design movement that linked university design programs and design practitioners with communities in need. Today, DPAC is the second oldest, continuously operating, community design center based in a public university. In its 44-year history, DPAC has completed approximately 1500 projects, serving hundreds of communities—large and small—in every county of New Mexico.
The DPAC Studio encourages broad-based thinking about urban design and planning. As Architects, Landscape Architects and Planners, we collaborate in a process that includes research, community participation, asset inventory, analysis, programming, site planning, design and recommendations for project implementation. We tackle the design process at multiple scales as we consider regional trends and characteristics, transportation issues, economic conditions, unique development and architectural patterns, local history, community climate, and community goals via the stakeholders.
“…design and planning processes are fundamentally shared experiences that bind us together; client, student, and faculty. We learn from and about one another. Our strengths and our limitations become public knowledge, but somehow we all emerge stronger for it. For the faculty and students, it is a taste of reality, a test of skill, and a lesson in humility. For the client it is a glimpse of future potential and a symbol of a better life. For all, it is a learning experience and a reminder that architecture and planning are not some abstracted endeavors disconnected from the daily lives of people.”
- Former SA•P Dean, Richard Eribes, December, 1994.
Michaele Pride, AIA, NOMA; DPAC Director and Associate Dean for Public Outreach and Engagement