September 1st will mark the official launch of Architects Advocate Action on Climate Change. The group, composed of nearly 80 Chicago firms, has a mission of advocating for legislative action on climate change.
Firms of all sizes have signed on as supporters, including Studio Gang Architects, John Ronan Architects, JGMA, Design with Company, Goettsch Partners, and UrbanLab, to name a few. Firms from related fields, such as engineers, architectural photographers, and videographers have also joined. The genesis of the project was initiated in the office of Chicago-based Krueck + Sexton Architects.
The group positions itself between practice and policy: it will help shape legislative action with a united front. An Architects Advocate statement reads, “As architects dedicated to healthy and livable communities, and guided by scientific consensus and reason, we advocate for action on Climate Change.” The group will push for a healthy environment as a civil right.
Though Architects Advocate’s exact plan of action has not yet been released, supporters are encouraged to mark their participation with banners embedded in their websites. The group’s web page also includes links to environmental advocacy resources including AIA Advocacy, Architecture 2030, and NASA.
The launch of Architects Advocate coincides with the federal Council on Environmental Quality’s new guidelines for evaluating federal projects. These rules ask that any federal agency starting a project should quantify climate impact and consider alternative design solutions. “Indirect” emissions will also be included in understanding any project’s environmental impact. For example, building a new road may encourage more people to drive while replanting trees can reduce airborne carbon and erosion as well as provide wildlife habitat. The new guidelines are built on previous directives, including the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Though some federal agencies have already been providing “Climate Impact Reports,” these new rules will help standardize and clarify a framework for climate action.