‘Architects Declare’ Pairs Climate Commitments with Social Justice
A movement started in the United Kingdom called Architects Declare is now spreading globally and has picked up steam in the U.S. In addition to biodiversity and climate, the U.S. chapter has added justice to the list of issues it’s declaring as emergencies and hoping to address.
Architecture firms are asked to recognize the “interlinked crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and societal inequity” and commit to several actions, including:
- performing life-cycle costing, whole-life carbon modeling, and post-occupancy evaluation within their basic scope of work
- upgrading existing buildings rather than building new whenever viable
- employing just labor practices and ensuring that all climate mitigation and adaptation efforts address the needs of disadvantaged people
U.S. Architects Declare currently has 161 signatories.
Stephanie Carlisle, one of the steering committee members for the U.S. chapter of Architects Declare and principal at KieranTimberlake, told BuildingGreen that what separates this initiative from others is that it seeks to be “radically accessible.”
“There are a lot of architects that are really interested in climate but don’t currently operate in the very technical spaces occupied by the Architecture 2030 or Design Data Exchange (DDx),” said Carlisle. Architects Declare wants all types of architects to be able to participate—including solo practitioners, residential architects, and architects focused on public housing.
Architects Declare also plans to organize several working groups, the structure of which will intentionally remain welcoming and non-hierarchical. “These will be open to anyone who wants to join,” said Carlisle. “Younger people, older people, anyone who is currently being left out of the conversation. We want radical, systemic change so we need to focus on how we can pursue a different practice of architecture.” The fact that this organization is so new offers space to tackle social justice in a way that older institutions might struggle with, according to Carlisle.
Firms can become signatories on the Architects Declare website.
Pearson, C. (2020, July 27). ‘Architects Declare’ Pairs Climate Commitments with Social Justice. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/architects-declare-pairs-climate-commitments-social-justice