Architects are uniquely qualified to advocate for better environments for people. They have distinctive skills and training to evaluate planning problems in all their complexity, and to bring many factors together and resolve them coherently.
They are uniquely suited to envisage and facilitate holistic solutions, working with each project’s particular physical, financial, social, cultural and other criteria. In so doing, they can help create desirable, safe and supportive environments for living, learning and working and create sustainable employment.
Architects are unlikely to regard the solution to the South African housing shortage as one of ‘rolling out’ more free-standing housing ‘boxes’ and of engineering cheaper and more efficient ways of building and servicing these. The ‘problem’ is likely to be redefined from first principles as one of creating desirable, sustainable, supportive living and working environments for people. Environments which reflect the diverse requirements and aspirations of their inhabitants, which will develop and age well over time and provide a stage set for life in all its glory, its ritual, its richness and its unpredictability.
When the processes and implementation are addressed successfully, benefits and financial success extend far beyond the obvious and into the realm of ‘the greater good’, with improved quality of life and less of the problems (and associated costs) arising from top down planning of engineered solutions.
Improvements to social and environmental issues will reduce pressure on other services needed to address problems associated with poorly planned environments.
The CIfA endorses the UIA General Principle which states:
Architects must bring to society special and unique knowledge, professional skills, and aptitudes essential to the development of the built environment and to those societies and cultures in which such development takes place. *
* Guidelines for the UIA Accord on Recommended International Standards of Professionalism in Architectural Practice Policy on Ethics and Conduct November 1997 Revised April 1998 Revised December 10-12, 1998 Adopted June, 1999 Revised October 2010 Amended by the UIA Council held in Beirut, Lebanon, January 2011