Strategic Plan Spring 2014 to 2018
Background Architects for Peace (A4P) was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 in the lead up to the declaration of war on Iraq. At the time many groups and individuals expressed concern and anger at the Australian governmentâ€™s decision to involve Australia in war. The groupâ€™s formation was motivated in large part by these concerns, and a corresponding perceived absence in the built environment sector of a platform to actively debate and denounce political acts with profound and devastating consequences for urban and natural environments and, by extension, people.
Background Since its formation, A4P has: § Brought debate and critical dialogue on issues of spatial justice to an inclusive, informal forum through free public talks between 2005 and 2013; § Held three free public symposia: IntentCITY (2004), Under Construction (2005) and Transported (2007); § Facilitated the practice of design for the public good, connecting practitioners with not-for-profit organisations in need, through a pro bono architecture program established in 2006; § Contributed to the publication and worldwide distribution of multi-lingual news, opinion and discussion not to be found in the glossy pages of industry magazines, through sharing news, monthly editorials and the book IntentCITY published in 2010; § Formed an editorial board made up of established thought-leaders based in Australia, the United States, Chile, Japan, Turkey and Egypt; § Provided an online platform for an international network of members and supporters to seek information, converse, share stories and together promote alternative built environment practices in the public interest. Eleven years ago, the war in Iraq went ahead, in spite of widespread and public objections in Australia and all over the world. It is telling that, at the time of writing in 2014, the current Australian government, along with several other countries, has yet again committed Australia to military intervention in Iraq – again with an ill-defined purpose and time frame. The consequences of this decision are yet to be known, however what is already clear to us is a continued need to be vigilant: to recognise and challenge the political forces that shape our environments, for better or worse. To refuse to be bystanders. To take a position.
Planners, urban designers, engineers, artists, landscape architects and citizens: we all have not just the capacity but the responsibility to be agents of change for an equitable and environmentally sustainable society, based on social justice, solidarity, respect and peace. Strategic Plan 2014-2018 / v1 PAGE 3
Our Vision Urban spaces that are planned, designed and used in the interests of social equity and environmental protection.
Our Mission To empower spatial practitioners and local citizens to influence urban development and decision making for healthy communities and environment.
Our Values Peace Social justice Health Environmental sustainability Solidarity Respect
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Our Operating Framework
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Our Goals Goal 01: Further build a strong, sustainable and internationally connected organisation Goal 02 : Promote and defend sustainable and resilient urban environments Goal 03 : Contribute to establishing and maintaining more inclusive public spaces
Goal 04: Stand up for quality affordable housing and the right to shelter These goals, and our proposed strategies to achieve them, are expanded on in the following pages.
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Goal 01 Further build a strong, sustainable and internationally connected organisation To have an effect on the professions of the built environment we must be an effective organisation. To this end we recognise that our members are our organisation. This goal aims to build the capacity of our members in organisational development, communication and engagement.
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Strategies: § Review and improve our organisational structure, coordination and communications framework; § Foster and support an active local and international membership; § Develop a four-year financial plan based on our strategic objectives and membership interests; § Strengthen web based activity to network and assist membership to further the goals of the organisation; § Adopt and promote methods of decentralised activity for the organisation; § Develop multilingual information platforms and an international network of membership committees of management in multiple national centres.
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Goal 02 Promote and defend sustainable and resilient urban environments The twin threats of political ideology and environment degradation threaten the viability of sustainable urban development. This goal aims to create awareness and change through campaigns to prevent and address the harm to urban environments posed by human and â€˜naturalâ€™ causes.
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Strategies: § Research, advocate and campaign for environmental and social justice; § Promote cultural and human rights by supporting campaigns that defend the right to the city; § Actively source and circulate alternative news and information from and about spaces of urban conflict and environmental degradation; § Research, raise awareness of and campaign on behalf of minority voices and contested places; § Advocate for constructive, non-violent measures to address conflict and division; § Promote activities to mitigate and adapt to global warming; § Campaign against environmental degradation.
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Goal 03 Contribute to establishing and maintaining more inclusive public spaces The nature of public space is changing under the pressure of legislation, privatisation, coercive and self-censoring behaviour. This goal aims to identify the extent to which â€˜publicâ€™ spaces are and can be truly free, flexible, accessible and equitable.
Image credit: Paul Irving, IntentCITY 2004
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Strategies: ยง Identify and document existing public spaces and the forces that shape their changing use, tenure and management; ยง Promote strategies to redress the degradation of public space; ยง Promote and facilitate actions that positively enhance existing public spaces and create new public spaces; ยง Monitor urban development, particularly government policy decisions, processes, laws and management; campaign against those that threaten equitable access to public space.
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Goal 04 Stand up for quality affordable housing and the right to shelter The notion of quality and affordable housing is shaped by the historic, national and cultural relationship of design, tenure, finance and concepts of social justice. This goal aims to research and identify quality affordable housing opportunities, raise awareness and affect policy.
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Strategies: ยง Research and promote existing best practice examples of quality, equitable affordable housing design, development and policy; ยง Campaign for the right to quality, equitable housing; ยง Seek and create opportunities to contribute to public discussion and policy-making on housing; ยง Understand and present different forms of and approaches to addressing housing injustice across the globe.
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>>> â€œThe right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.â€? David Harvey after Henri Lefebvre
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