The interlinked crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and societal inequity are the most serious issues of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (C02) emissions while also having a significant impact on deforestation, habitat destruction, and species extinction.
Meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth's ecological boundaries demands a paradigm shift in our behavior in the building sector. Together with our clients and collaborators, we must design buildings, cities, and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating, and self-sustaining system.
The knowledge exists to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. As a sector, we must work together to reshape our approach to architecture and urbanism at the speed and scale the crises demand.
We commit to:
- Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action among our clients, collaborators, and supply chains. Advocate for the rapid systemic changes required to address the climate and biodiversity crises, as well as the policies, funding priorities, and implementation frameworks that support these changes.
- Act to address the disproportionate impact of these crises on disadvantaged communities and ensure that all mitigation and adaptation efforts address the needs of all people. Employ just labor practices, so that people of all backgrounds can participate in decision-making about the future of the designed environment.
- Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modeling and post-occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use. Adopt regenerative design principles.
- Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a less carbon intensive alternative to demolition and new construction whenever there is a viable choice.
- Advocate for detailed disclosure of material provenance and environmental impact by extractors, manufacturers, and distributors, to accelerate the shift to low-carbon, non-toxic, and ethically produced materials. Eliminate waste and support a rapid transition to circular economies.
- Invest in research and technology development, guided by systems thinking, to further these goals, and share tools, data, and strategies on an open source basis.
- Establish climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection, and positive social impact as the key measures of our sector's success. Work to redirect the mentality of the building sector away from maximizing short-term returns toward durable investment for the long term. Set clearly articulated climate mitigation goals for every project and communicate them to our clients. Change the structure of awards programs to make these criteria the basis for recognition in architecture.
We hope that every US architectural practice will join us in making this commitment.
To sign and be the main contact, you must be a principal or partner of your firm, or otherwise have the authority to commit your firm as a signatory to US Architects Declare. You cannot sign using an [email protected] email address.