Yet most of us rarely consider the crucial impact architecture has on our everyday lives or the complex challenges and policies that hinder our communities from becoming healthier, more affordable, more just, and more resilient.
Our goal? To empower all Canadians to have a stronger voice in shaping a vision for their communities and, in doing so, receive the full potential benefits of better community design.
Canadians deserve better.
A cursory glance at the news yields staggering headlines. A lack of housing affordability. Refugee crises, war, and a global pandemic. Fires, floods, and famines – irrefutable evidence of a worsening climate crisis.
The need for long-term policies to create meaningful and resilient environments has never been more imperative. And yet, Canada lacks a cohesive strategy to shape and improve the quality of architecture, or guide design decisions for future generations.
We know this must change.
In response, Rise for Architecture has created this framework to help all Canadians join public conversations about the key role design plays in our lives. All should be able to participate in discussions about the impact of architecture – how and why it matters – and how our surroundings play a critical role in achieving positive social outcomes.
As part of this process, we have spoken with more than 2,000 architects and architecture students from coast, to coast, to coast. We’ve collaborated on a national poll by Angus Reid Institute and consulted with a variety of clients and decision-makers.
We have heard – time and time again – that the status quo is not serving all Canadians.
These discussions have yielded four main themes to frame our way forward: Place, People, Prosperity, and Potential. Underlying each of these themes is a resounding need to address the critical challenge of the climate crisis, and to support the presence, livelihood, and well-being of diverse Indigenous peoples across this land.
Architecture + Place
This theme considers architecture’s impact on both our individual and collective identities. It focuses on the importance of the land on which a project is built and investigates how we can better respect unique geographic and cultural characteristics.
In particular, it examines architecture’s impact on identity and cultural vitality from the following perspectives:
- Context and scale
- Land and resources
- Cultural heritage and vitality
- Forging community
Architecture + People
We are not passive users and consumers of the built environment – architecture has the potential to improve our lives. We are, after all, living, breathing, striving, and thinking individuals.
We all – despite our diverse backgrounds, capabilities, occupations, and aspirations – want experiences that are enjoyable, engaging and meaningful. We want to help write our nation’s story; to right the wrongs of history and play a part in realizing what Canada’s future can be.
This theme explores architecture’s impact on the wellbeing of individuals and groups by considering:
- Health and happiness
- Memory and meaning
- Dignity, inclusion, and social justice
- Engagement, empowerment, and reconciliation
Architecture + Prosperity
A well-designed, resilient, and sustainable built environment improves society’s ability to face the challenges of the 21stcentury.
Human-induced climate change is causing extreme weather events with increasing frequency, threatening natural ecosystems and communities in its wake. Irresponsible resource extraction has been the catalyst for environmental damage and social upheaval.
Innovative green technologies and rating systems are not enough. A prosperous and resilient Canada needs political will and public care.
This theme considers architecture’s impact on communities of all kinds, including:
- Environmental stewardship
- Sustainable urbanism
- Equitable economic development
- Adaptation and resilience
Architecture + Potential
What are the future implications for Canadian architecture? How can we learn from – and act as a model for – communities around the globe?
A public conversation about architecture’s future potential will enhance our understanding of current, emerging, and future needs. It will create a renewed vision and mandate for architecture’s role in Canadian society. Considerations for this theme include:
- Architecture as a creative industry
- Research and innovation
- Creative collaboration
- Education and the future of architecture
Inspiring new conversations about community design
Our intent in developing this Vision of Value is for it to act as a guiding light for politicians, professionals and the public. We believe understanding the true impact of what we build is fundamental to achieving our shared goal of more sustainable, just, and inspiring communities.
These four themes – Place, People, Prosperity, and Potential – raise challenges and questions for all who participate in creating the built environment. As we answer these questions, we hope to forge new partnerships between Canadians and those who design and build the places in which we live, work, and play.
Join us in creating places where all Canadians can thrive. Read our national consultation findings and recommended actions towards an Architecture Policy for Canada.