Angus Reid and Rise for Architecture release national study results, launch survey

Canadians want public spaces that are welcoming for everyone and see room for improvement in how their communities are built.

In an Angus Reid Poll released in April, Canadians are near-unanimous in prioritizing accessibility (96%), aesthetic beauty (92%), and sustainability (90%) in new buildings. They are also widely supportive of new roles which would be responsible for encouraging better design outcomes, such as a Chief Architect or similar title, in both their community (70%) and province (56%).

The online poll, developed by Rise for Architecture in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute, includes viewpoints from a randomized sample of 1,859 Canadians from the general population polled between January 20-24, 2022.

Rise for Architecture is a national, volunteer-led committee of architects, educators, advocates and organizations that regulate the architectural profession in Canada. Since 2016, the group has been hosting conversations about architecture with professionals, students, and the public. Its findings will culminate in a National Architecture Policy for Canada—a set of recommendations and actions that governments, professionals, and people involved in the development of our communities can adopt to build a better future for all Canadians.

Three-quarters of the Angus Reid poll’s respondents say culture and heritage should be key considerations in community design. Yet almost three in ten (29%) don’t see themselves and their culture reflected in their community, with visible minorities and Indigenous far less likely than Caucasian Canadians to feel this way. Only 11% of Canadians believe their communities are doing a really good job of protecting the environment.

“Canadians support what we’ve believed all along,” says architect Darryl Condon of HCMA, Chair of the Rise for Architecture committee, “that our surroundings shape our future, and the design of our communities has a significant impact on our potential as individuals and as a nation.”

“Canada’s communities are facing unprecedented challenges,” says associate professor Lisa Landrum of the University of Manitoba’s Department of Architecture, and member of the Rise for Architecture committee. “We now have confirmation that Canadians want architects to help solve issues like housing affordability, equity and inclusion, and the climate crisis.”

Research shows well-designed buildings create sustainable, socially equitable, and inspiring communities. And yet, the poll found that half of Canadians (51%) say development in their community is poorly planned. Fewer than half (47%) admire the architecture where they live.

As a follow-up to the Angus Reid poll, Rise of Architecture has launched an open 12-question survey, directed towards non-architect members of the public. It is encouraging Canadian architects to share the survey with their networks. The survey results will help towards the development of a robust National Architecture Policy for Canada.

View the full results of the Angus Reid / Rise for Architecture study here.