September 2, 2015
by Canadian Architect
RAIC launches Election 2015: Building Better Communities
What architecture or urban design issue would you like to see addressed in the political arena this fall? Use the hashtag #RAICVOTES on social media to let the RAIC know.
Whether in a village or a large city, the way we plan, design, build and integrate our buildings and infrastructure has a significant impact on quality of life, the economy and the environment. Buildings and infrastructure that are durable, attractive, dignified and healthy represent a smart investment in Canada’s prosperity and liveability. The federal government is Canada’s single largest owner of buildings and land. As such, it has a central role in setting the highest standards of excellence and environmental sustainability to maximize the benefits to Canadians, achieve value for money and position Canada as an international leader.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is the voice of the architecture profession in Canada and advocates for excellence in the built environment. During the 2015 election campaign, the RAIC seeks to engage political candidates, along with the public, in a discussion about the importance of architecture and urban design in shaping a successful future for Canada.
The RAIC has highlighted four public policy issues and asks four questions. Responses will be posted on the RAIC website for the benefit of RAIC members and all voters.
Canadian architects have demonstrated through completed projects that energy consumption and associated costs can drop dramatically. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada endorses the 2030 Challenge, a set of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and dependency on fossil fuels. The 2030 Challenge proposes that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations be carbon-neutral by 2030. In addition to a reduction in energy consumption, the benefits include an improved and healthier environment for workers and the surrounding neighbourhood.
Question: Do you support the 2030 Challenge for new or majorly renovated federal buildings?
The federal government exercises almost total control over the design and construction of First Nation communities on reserves. Some of these settlements have been unfavourably compared to third world situations, or to refugee camps. Basic services such as fire protection and potable water are often unavailable. Planning and design that take architectural expression, economic sustainability, and environmental conservation into account can improve the situation and have been shown to have a transformative effect in some of Canada’s more successful communities.
Question: How should Canada address this situation?
The federal government annually spends millions of dollars on buildings and infrastructure. This investment in Canada’s future can also be an investment in the quality of cities and towns, at no extra cost to taxpayers. Distinctive, solidly built public buildings help shape places whose beauty and character attract tourism and international recognition. They become treasured landmarks, a reflection of national identity, and the valued heritage buildings of the future.
Question: Do you agree design excellence must be a high priority for federally funded projects?
Quality design of public spaces contributes to making safe, attractive and prosperous cities. Nevertheless, Canada Post is installing community mailboxes that are widely seen as a blight on the streetscape, a public safety hazard and an obstacle to the elderly and disabled.
Question: Is this the right decision for Canadian communities? If not, what solution can the federal government bring?
For more information, please visit https://raic.org/raic/election-2015-building-better-communities#sthash.JfuGRYx5.dpuf