This World Architecture Day (5 October 2020), the critical role urban design and architecture can play in building stronger, more sustainable and better-connected cities and communities was centre stage in celebrations.
To mark the occasion, the International Architects Union (UIA), representing some 3.2 million members of the profession globally, hosted a live webinar. The discussion featured six panels of global experts examining how architects and professionals in related fields can address the challenges facing today’s cities: Water and Sanitation, Public Spaces, Air Quality and Housing.
This was followed by a conversation about how architects can assist in the realisation of SDG Number 11, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ in keeping with this year’s theme ‘Toward a better urban future’.
National President of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), Alice Hampson, said the discussion could not be more timely.
“As the climate crisis becomes more acute and its impacts more devastating, so too must our response be more urgent,” she said.
“That’s why we are urging the Australian Government to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.”
“We want to see a federal commitment to net-zero carbon emissions in the built environment by 2030.”
“This carbon neutral journey is something the Institute together with more than 200 of our members have already committed to. A fast-growing number of big and small businesses, as well as state and local governments across Australia have already pledged to achieve net-zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.”
Hampson said almost 1,000 architectural practices across Australia have joined in the declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency.
“Our Climate Action and Sustainability Taskforce is working to develop a range of policies and programs to create practical solutions which architects can deploy to address these challenges,” she detailed.
“We are spearheading the push for change and must continue to do so.”
Hampson added that architects are at the pencil-point of the supply chain and uniquely positioned to help design and build our way to a better future.
“With first the catastrophic bushfires, then the coronavirus outbreak, the spotlight has never shone so harshly on the design of our housing, and the importance of getting it right,” she said.
“During the confinement of lockdown, the architecture of our homes has represented our entire world.”
“But as history shows, legacy building has long been borne of disaster. Architecture bounces back, often with remarkable resilience, alacrity and grandeur.”
“The handing down of the delayed Federal Budget will be critical in mapping out the path of Australia’s economic recovery.”
The AIA has argued that with the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression, and with interest rates at an all-time low, there will never be a better time for forward-looking governments to create jobs through investments in the infrastructure that will be needed for the next century and beyond.
You can read the AIA’s full Pre-Budget submission here.
“Let us hope that the Australian Government capitalises on all our profession has to offer Australian communities now and into the future,” Hampson concluded.