Geared around the 11th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), this year’s theme for World Architecture Day was: “Toward a better urban future” examines the critical role urban design and architecture can play in realising this ambition globally.

Australian Institute of Architects National President Alice Hampson says the discussion could not be more timely.

“As the climate crisis becomes more acute and its impacts more devastating, so too must our response be more urgent,” says Hampson.

“That’s why we are urging the Australian Government to accelerate the transition to a carbon neutral economy.”

“As first the catastrophic bushfires then the coronavirus pandemic have so brutally demonstrated, it is imperative that we future proof our urban environments.”

“Never before has the spotlight shone so harshly on the design of our housing, and the importance of getting it right as we build back better,” she says.

AIA CEO Julia Cambage says more investment in social infrastructure, and affordable housing in particular, had to be a priority.

“The wellbeing of our communities is of paramount concern during these difficult times,” Cambage says.

“Now more than ever it is apparent just how much the quality of the design affects the way spaces and places function and has the potential to stimulate the economy and enhance the environment.

“Australian architects are uniquely placed to offer expertise and insights in combating other fast emerging challenges including equipping our buildings to better manage air quality and filtration, preventing urban spaces from becoming heat islands and improving overall liveability.”

“The planning and design of cities and towns to address these challenges will significantly impact the shape of Australia’s built environment, requiring a federal government commitment to a high quality, sustainable legacy for future generations,” says Cambage.

“Almost all Australians (97 percent) believe that cities and towns are better to live in when public buildings and public spaces are well designed and architects are uniquely placed to realise that ambition,” she says.

Image: Shutterstock