San Marino Declaration for Sustainable and Inclusive Architecture Receives Signatures of Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri

While the United Nations has been continuously urging architects, engineers, and city shapers to put the 2030 agenda and the SDGs into action, and the IPCC report revealed intensifying climate change, sparking widespread discussion over insufficient action, the 83rd ongoing session of The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management taking place in San Marino, has just issued a special declaration on “how to build better, safer, more inclusive, and resilient" cities, ahead of COP27. This set of “Principles for Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Design and Architecture”, or the San Marino declaration has gathered the signatures of Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri.

It is estimated that by 2050, the UNECE region will be among the most highly urbanized regions on earth - with around 75% of people in Europe today residing in cities. The San Marino Declaration seeks to set a number of goals to be achieved by cities, urban infrastructure, and building in the European continent. These principles aim to ensure sustainable urban design and architecture, through sustainable housing, land management, and urban development. Centered on people, climate, resources, nature, as well as Interdisciplinary cooperation, the rules are to be applied to the design of all buildings and urban developments.

San Marino Declaration for Sustainable and Inclusive Architecture Receives Signatures of Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri  - Image 2 of 5
Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

Pledging to gather more endorsements, and translate its principles to action, both Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri, were first to sign the declaration, together with the Order of Architects of San Marino, Rimini, and Pesaro in Italy. On that occasion, Foster stated that “In this time of crisis, we can find great hope in the bold action being taken to make cities worldwide climate-neutral, safer, more inclusive, and resilient. Yet, with the magnitude and urgency of the challenges before us, urbanists, architects, engineers, and designers - along with other key shapers of our cities such as civic leaders, managers, and developers - have a unique duty to drive forward transformational changes at the scale required. I call on all to harness their creativity and expertise with a commitment to put the Principles of the San Marino Declaration into action.”

Adding to this, Stefano Boeri explained that “Architects and urban planners, at this moment in the History of the human species on the Planet, have a fundamental responsibility: that of minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption, maximizing renewable energy capturing devices, integrating increasing shares of biological and green surfaces into buildings, and adapting to a sustainable, electrified mobility model based on the public transport system. We will take the Declaration, as a call to action for architects and planners, to COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh in November, pledging to gather as many endorsements as possible.”

San Marino Declaration for Sustainable and Inclusive Architecture Receives Signatures of Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri  - Image 5 of 5
Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Read on for the eleven principles for sustainable urban design, in the San Marino declaration. 

  1. People-centrality, social responsibility and inclusivity, by fostering and support social responsibility and integrate diversity and equality through due consideration of the needs of all individuals and households.
  2. Respect for cultural identity, values and heritage of places, buildings and communities.
  3. Resource efficiency and circularity to limit energy and resource use and, to the extent possible: use recycled materials; reuse and requalify spaces; use rainwater and reduce wastewater generation; and encourage food production through urban agriculture, orchards and food forests.
  4. Safety and health, adhering to internationally recognised quality standards; providing safe and sustainable mobility and transport systems, including rail, road, inland waterways and for ports, as well as ensuring accessible walking and meeting spaces, green areas and forests.
  5. Respect for nature and natural systems and processes through design that respects plants, animals, and other organisms, and natural habitats. This implies conducting ex-ante environmental impact assessments, allowing spaces for biodiversity, using natural materials and low impact production, assembling and dismantling processes.
  6. Climate neutrality through urban design and requalification, adopting creative solutions that reduce pollution and energy use, phase out unsustainable mobility systems, and integrate green energy generation systems in city designs and buildings.
  7. People-smartness, harnessing new technologies and connectivity to improve liveability for all, including the most socially disadvantaged groups, to bolster transparency and curb corruption.
  8. Resilience, durability, functionality and foresight, to strengthen disaster resilience, especially in the context of climate change, and to make buildings and infrastructure durable and flexible by incorporating spatial adaptability to accommodate new conditions and usages over time.
  9. Affordability and accessibility for all citizens.
  10. Inter-disciplinary cooperation and networking to foster cohabitation, community involvement, solidarity and social cohesion, taking into account citizens’ diverse needs.
  11. Engagement, through consultation with and participation of local communities and stakeholders, to foster trust, ensure needs-responsiveness, and consolidate shared ownership of the city’s future.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "San Marino Declaration for Sustainable and Inclusive Architecture Receives Signatures of Norman Foster and Stefano Boeri " 05 Oct 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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