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What can design do to accelerate action in cities and communities to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?


Wednesday 12 July

Venue: Perkins Eastman Architects 115 Fifth Avenue, New York

During the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development (New York,10-19 July 2023), Governments and their partners have reviewed progress in all Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

A series of events was organized by non-government partners, including urban professionals to review their contributions and actions. A week after the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress held in Copenhagen (2-6 July), the roundtable offered a platform for architects to exchange on their role to better advance SDG11, with a focus on resilient architecture, planning and design. Hosted by Perkins Eastman, a prominent New York Architecture Studio, with the collaboration of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD), the event brought together architects and designers across cities and disciplines to explore their essential roles in driving forward United Nations SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The Key Takeaways from the Roundtable

1. Integrated Approach: Identify interlinkages and integrate knowledge from traditional design principles.

2. Adaptive Reuse: Its a powerful contributor to achieving multiple SDGs. While it may require higher upfront investments, its long-term positive environmental impacts make it a compelling option.

3. Design for Zero Carbon and Zero Waste: Architects and designers have a crucial role in shaping innovative solutions for zero-carbon and zero-waste design.

4. Design with Local Knowledge: Integrating indigenous wisdom into architectural and urban planning practices is a key strategy to address climate and social challenges effectively.

5. Rethink Downtowns: Transforming empty office spaces into housing can revitalize downtown areas and attract new residents, utilizing existing infrastructure to support sustainable urban growth.

6. Provide Transit Access for All: Ensuring accessible transit options for all is critical for building inclusive and sustainable communities.

7. Design for All Age Groups and Minorities: Advocating for age-friendly cities and inclusive design is essential.

8. Amplify collaboration: Architects and designers play a pivotal role in bringing their expertise and innovative ideas to high-level discussions, partnering with local governments to craft sustainable solutions together.

9. Architects as Advocates: As architects and designers, we have the unique ability to translate the desires and needs of communities into tangible solutions. By engaging with international bodies, we can unlock support and resources to make these visions a reality. #sdg11 #urbanthinkers #hlpf #architecture #urbandesign #sustainabledevelopment


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