Prioritizing Sustainability throughout the Architecture Profession

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) must create more direct practice connections to sustainable and resilient design. After the extreme climate events of 2017 it’s even more urgent that AIA build increased awareness of resilient planning and design coupled with education on practical implementation.

Our members also need to be better equipped to advocate for resilient policies in their communities and to raise awareness of the public influence that architects have in shaping the built environment. Community health and safety can be improved through design standards as we see happening in Houston right now with elevated building height requirements.

Let’s have the AIA facilitate dialogues with other major resiliency stakeholders such as the insurance industry, planning policy makers, and the public works engineering community. Minimally, we should be central to a joint effort to educate the public on how coordinated policy, planning and design can save lives and minimize serious climate-related disruptions to local economies and communities.

Efforts to move sustainable design from accessory and optional to integral and required can be accomplished through the standardization of materials transparency practices. My business partners and I personally signed the 2030 Commitment over 10 years ago, but it needs revitalization through greater involvement by the emerging practice generation. Design practices also can be reshaped by integrating key elements of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) criteria into all awards programs to reinforce these critical components in every project.

To view James’s thoughts on other issues facing the AIA and the architecture industry, click the below links.

The Role of Architects and the AIA for the Public Good
Promoting Pay Equity, Gender Equality and Diversity Inclusion in Architecture 
Engaging the Current Generation of Emerging Professionals
The Importance of Group Political Action to Architects
Promoting Architectural Innovation in the AIA
Influencing AIA’s Role in Influencing Architectural Education
We Need to Reinforce the AIA Pipeline
Live or Die: Overcoming the Architecture Industry’s Biggest Challenge
Striving for Greater Inclusivity in AIA of Non-Traditional Architects