Architects are city changers

As partners of World Architecture Day 2012: London, the International Union of Architects has nominated this year’s  theme as ‘Architects are city changers’. As global populations rise, with city dwellers expected to make up 70% of the world’s inhabitants by 2050, it will be the responsibility of architects to shape the urban fabric and develop the necessary tools to accommodate the citizens of the 21st century.

To achieve these goals, it is essential to:

  • Mitigate climate change, reduce pollution, and improve management of resources and energy
  • Structure cities so that they are socially inclusive, accessible and equitable, eliminating discrimination and precarious housing
  • Develop cities that can resist crises and cataclysms, whether natural or man-made
  • Develop economic, educational and creative opportunities for all
  • Ensure the security and sanitary conditions essential to all individuals

Architects will play a critical role in this evolution by implementing the necessary changes to create resilient, sustainable cities and offer living conditions conducive to personal development and well-being. World Architecture Day is the ideal platform for architects, UIA Member Sections and its work programmes to demonstrate the role they can play in developing our cities of the future.

Michael Hammond

Programme Director, World Architecture Day

Countdown: WAD 2013

October 6th, 2013

Comments

  1. Architects are NOT city changers
    August 14, 2012
    Why architects should NOT be city changers.
    Global population does rise, but not anymore in the Northern European countries, so this is already one issue with nuances and no doubt more aspects than one. It is very much a political, sociologic question if we want 70% of the world population to be city dwellers. This complex problem is not for architects to solve because they have no knowledge of such matters. It is not, and should not be the responsibility of architects to shape the urban fabric and develop the necessary tools to accommodate the citizens of the 21st century. This half-god ambition of the utopian architect we have seen over and over in the past, and almost all results have become totalitarian failures, inhumane moonscapes, mega slums if not all at the same time.
    Being an architect means that you are able, have fun and ambition in designing buildings, and there lies the boundary too, apart from buildings architects often have very strange ideas about society, ideas invariably wildly utopian, and for a clientele that is purely theoretical, if not moldable into anything inhumane.
    Planology and town planning are sciences that have rightfully developed into disciplines of their own. We architects should not want to step into that tricky terrain, but work along with these people, hear them out.

    Mitigate climate change is again too far fetched. No individual architect is capable to conquer such a mega issue. We could unite, and agree on technical adaptations, but nothing more than that.
    Reduce pollution, and improve management of resources and energy. At the same time we have to realize that luxury is ALWAYS a polluting factor., whatever green goodie you put in.
    Structure cities so that they are socially inclusive, accessible and equitable, eliminating discrimination and precarious housing. Develop economic, educational and creative opportunities for all. Again, goals so far away from our profession. You can want it, and that’s it, sound pretty gratuit to me

    Architects are not God, but professionals within a restricted field of operation. Within that field there is plenty of work to do, and plenty of rewards to be won.

    Architects (and anybody else) will play some, but not a critical role in the development of cities. They can however rethink living conditions conducive to personal development and well-being, but remember, the archtect is never the decision maker on such matters.
    What architects should do is not step into other disciplines, but make sure that our own profession is not taken over by others who seem to know more about arcitecture than we do. In my view this a far more interesting issue in the profession.

    My dear collegues, could it all be a bit more humble, realistic, and beware of utopism, unless you’re very good at it……
    But then you would not be an architect!

    G A Wissing, arch ind, the Netherlands

    • I agree with your comment and I thank you for it.
      However, I don’t agree with the last part where you say “architects should not step into other disciplines”. The world has changed and knowledge is no longer divided into concrete disciplines. There are many points of overlap between architecture and other fields (i.e town planning, urbanism, environmental management…even in the non-sciences like anthropology, film, fashion, graphic design).

      A good architect is able to explore and contribute solutions to challenges in other fields outside of architecture.
      And what’s interesting is that the opposite is not likely possible in many cases (i.e a fashion designer or film maker may not be able to design a building).
      So no worries about “other professions taking over our own”.

      Hope I’m not being too idealistic ;-).

      Thanks,
      Menna Dessouki
      Egypt

  2. I totally agree. Happy to read a thought which I always felt but couldn’t clearly express. It would be great if some people in academia also had similar visions, since they push students to consider various fields (which is positive when it is in a certain boundary), but they appreciate results totally disconnected from reality, just based on some concept ideas. I think this is confusing, and I felt lost for a while after graduation about who I am in real, since architecture is so wide and I am not specialized in any of the fields required. So thank you for a mind-clearing writing

  3. architects have the ability to change the world.. change how people live, feel.. with the environment they give to them.

  4. the art of designing for people is rigorous and multi-disciplinary.. architecture of a place influences every way human environs are planned, designed and built… used and maintained.. architect’s work has the power to affect how people operate.. to a good extent..!! architects play a major role in designing for cities as city planning is also architecture.. urban architecture.. it comprises of the architects’ buildings..streets.. parks..

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