Mayors and architects join forces on sustainability and equity
The U.S. Conference of Mayors vows to partner with architects on two of the most crucial issues of our time.
New policies approved by the United States Conference of Mayors put the built environment front and center. In three resolutions approved at its annual conference in September, the nation’s mayors formalized new commitments to pursue climate and equity priorities, while recognizing the value of partnering with architects.
Sponsored by Stephen K. Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, S.C., the resolutions express mayors’ support for the following:
• The ability of local jurisdictions to adopt more stringent energy codes in order to meet environmental goals
• Addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color, creating affordable housing programs, and effective programs that address community equity
• The presence of a local architect who can serve as a city's technical expert and assist local government staff in strategic urban design visioning, equitable design strategies, resilience requirements, and public space programming
“Mayors serve on the frontlines of the most pressing issues facing our communities – not just climate change, but food deserts, affordable housing, disparities in transportation access, and more,” stated AIA President Peter Exley, FAIA. “Architects share these priorities. When we work together, architects and mayors can achieve great things for our communities.”
"Architects have a lot more to contribute than designs for city skylines. We can contribute to the health of our cities and our nation. With architects in nearly every city and town, I invite mayors to call your local architect. We’re ready to work with you to design communities that are healthy, sustainable, and equitable," Exley said.
In addition to pledging new action and enhanced coordination with architects, the text of the resolutions recognizes key facts, including:
• 40% of global carbon emissions come from buildings, and architects are uniquely positioned to design energy efficient buildings, retrofit existing buildings to meet net zero carbon energy codes, and encourage the use of carbon-smart material
• 70% of cities are already dealing with the effects of climate change, and nearly all are at risk of climate-related events
• Over 90% of all urban areas are coastal, putting most cities at risk of flooding from rising sea levels and powerful storms
• Making cities walkable is vital to improve health, cut climate-heating transport emissions, and build stronger local communities and economies
• Architects play a crucial role through the power of design when planning a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment
Through its Blueprint for Better campaign and other efforts, AIA is partnering with mayors and other civic and community leaders to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable built environment. Learn more about the Blueprint for Better campaign.