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Policy: The Latest Architecture and News

Call for Submissions: 2018 Fitch Funding

17:32 - 13 October, 2017
Call for Submissions: 2018 Fitch Funding, Featured work of Fellows past and present (clockwise from top left): Kress Fellow Tim Frank (2015), Blinder Awardee Rebecca Ward (2014), and Fitch Fellow Paul Kapp (2017).
Featured work of Fellows past and present (clockwise from top left): Kress Fellow Tim Frank (2015), Blinder Awardee Rebecca Ward (2014), and Fitch Fellow Paul Kapp (2017).

Since 1989, the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation has been in the vanguard of historic preservation practice and theory. The mission of the Fitch Foundation is to support professionals in the field of historic preservation, and to achieve this we provide mid-career grants to those working in preservation, landscape architecture, urban design, environmental planning, materials conservation, decorative arts, architectural design and history, and allied fields.

26 Things All Architects Can Relate To

09:30 - 18 July, 2016
26 Things All Architects Can Relate To, © hvostik via Shutterstock
© hvostik via Shutterstock

Working in architecture is always a challenging experience in which you just never know what might happen next. That said, there are a number of things we can collectively relate to as a part of this industry. Here we've created a list of things we're all too familiar with—whether that relates to finishing projects, working with clients, or just dealing with people that totally don't even know what goes on in architecture. Which ones did we miss?

UK Housing Review Panel "Needs To Be More Balanced," Admits Terry Farrell

00:00 - 23 December, 2014
UK Housing Review Panel "Needs To Be More Balanced," Admits Terry Farrell, © Agnese Sanvito, via Farrells Facebook Page
© Agnese Sanvito, via Farrells Facebook Page

Last week the UK Government appointed a new housing design panel, intended to "ensure that new homes are not only lower-cost but also high-quality and well-designed." The panel will be led by Terry Farrell, classical architect Quinlan Terry and aesthetics philosopher Roger Scruton, as well as representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK Design Council and lobby group Create Streets. However, the profession was quick to criticize the selection of the three lead members of the panel.

China's "City-Making Process": Investors' Power in the People's Republic

01:00 - 16 August, 2014
China's "City-Making Process": Investors' Power in the People's Republic, Real estate in Shanghai. Image © Pier Alessio Rizzardi
Real estate in Shanghai. Image © Pier Alessio Rizzardi

The world is looking at the urban machine of Chinese cities, at the newly founded theme-cities and at the new urban economic investment areas around the cities. The buildings are repetitive, the areas are sometimes uninhabited, but the thing that leaves urban planners, architects and the public amazed is that these buildings are often completely sold out even before they are completed.

To buy these freshly constructed residences takes money, and over the last three decades the Chinese economic miracle served precisely to grow the per capita income. The reform of the economic system in 1978 was the driving force that triggered the mechanism of capital production. The reform led to millions of people migrating to the cities from the underdeveloped west of the country in search of higher salaries and a well-founded hope of revolutionizing their economic existence.

RIBA Report Aims to Put Architecture at the Heart of Next Government's Agenda

00:00 - 2 July, 2014
RIBA Report Aims to Put Architecture at the Heart of Next Government's Agenda, One proposal made by the report is to funnel transport money into 'active transport' routes, such as the Hackney Greenway which was created as part of the London Olympic Legacy. Image © Flickr CC User Andy Wilkes
One proposal made by the report is to funnel transport money into 'active transport' routes, such as the Hackney Greenway which was created as part of the London Olympic Legacy. Image © Flickr CC User Andy Wilkes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a report which it hopes will influence government policy writers in time for the general election next year. The report outlines the RIBA's stance on a wide variety of architectural issues, from planning policy, to school building, to designing healthy cities.

The report hopes to build on the recommendations made by the Farrell Review, which among many other things recommended the appointment of a chief architect to advise the government, as well as an overhaul of the current planning system. However, in one sense the RIBA report goes further than the Farrell Report by saying that the government should implement a defined architecture policy, pointing to the success of such policies in countries such as Denmark.

Read on after the break for more on the report's recommendations

Sydney Pushes First-Ever Policy to Promote Culture

00:00 - 14 May, 2014
Sydney Pushes First-Ever Policy to Promote Culture, © Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee
© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

The City of Sydney has requested that 1.6 million square meters of empty commercial and residential space be made available to artists for “creative activities.” The proposed cultural policy offers over 120 ideas in which the space can be used to enhance Sydney’s reputation as a world renowned creative city. “The City is proud to spend more than $34 million each year to support the arts, culture and creative activity in Sydney – but we know it is equally important to create an environment where ideas and imagination can flourish.” More information on the new policy can be found here.

Wood Encouragement Policy Coming To Australia

00:00 - 22 April, 2014
Wood Encouragement Policy Coming To Australia, Cross Stitch House; Melbourne / FMD Architects. Image © Peter Bennetts
Cross Stitch House; Melbourne / FMD Architects. Image © Peter Bennetts

Latrobe City Council is pushing an initiative that would put “wood first.” If implemented, the “Wood Encouragement Policy” would educate architects and industry professionals about the structural and environmental benefits of wood in an effort to promote the local timber industry and use of sustainable building materials. Following the lead of the United States and New Zealand, both of which recently established “wood encouragement” policies, the council hopes that this will set a precedent that can be applied throughout the rest of Australia.

Farrell's Architecture Review: 60 Ways to Improve the UK

00:00 - 1 April, 2014
Farrell's Architecture Review: 60 Ways to Improve the UK, Farrell believes that planning needs to be more proactive: "You could buy a plot of land, get lucky, and have a Shard built in your back garden. The tallest building in Europe was never on anyone's plan, yet it stands there today". Image © Renzo Piano
Farrell believes that planning needs to be more proactive: "You could buy a plot of land, get lucky, and have a Shard built in your back garden. The tallest building in Europe was never on anyone's plan, yet it stands there today". Image © Renzo Piano

After a year of gathering evidence and consultation, Sir Terry Farrell's review of UK architecture has finally been released. The review, commissioned by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, includes 60 proposals to improve the quality of the UK's built environment, targeting a wide range of groups including education, planning, government and developers.

Vaizey has urged everyone involved in the construction industry to get behind the report, saying that it "needs to kick-start a national debate" in order to achieve its aims.

Read on for some of the recommendations from the report

How We Can Design a Better System Through "Ethical Hacking"

00:00 - 5 January, 2014
How We Can Design a Better System Through "Ethical Hacking", Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner at BIG and Ida Auken, The Danish Minister of the Environment, both see a great potential in having design making sustainability desirable. Image © Lan Nguyen
Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner at BIG and Ida Auken, The Danish Minister of the Environment, both see a great potential in having design making sustainability desirable. Image © Lan Nguyen

In this article, originally posted on Grasp as "We Are All Ethical Hackers!", Kasper Worm-Petersen demonstrates how design has the ability to make the abstract tangible and create desirable activities. When that ability is used to promote sustainability and improve the state of the world great things happen and we all get a chance to become ethical hackers.

There are enough big issues to tackle in the world today. The financial crisis and the climate crisis seem almost insurmountable. And as our old habits are keeping us from adapting to the new circumstances there is a need for viable alternatives to our current way of living. At the Design for Smart Growth event held by the Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation some interesting and promising solutions were presented. And they all had design as a key component.

The Danish Minister of the Environment Ida Auken set the scene when she discussed her engagement in environmental policies, “I was so frustrated with the image of environmental policies. That green was someone who hated life... I really want to flip it around and see how we can get people to actually want to live in a sustainable way. How can we make them desire it? And that is where designers come in. It is as easy as that.”

Read on to find out how we can be "ethical hackers" after the break.

Renzo Piano Becomes Italian Senator

01:00 - 3 September, 2013
Renzo Piano Becomes Italian Senator, Courtesy of Architectural Review
Courtesy of Architectural Review

Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano has been named a senator for life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, giving him the right to vote in the Parliament’s Upper House. Napolitano also appointed three others to the position, including Claudio Abbado (an accomplished conductor), Elena Cattaneo (a biologist specializing in stem cell research), and Carlo Rubbia (a Nobel Prize winning particle physicist).

In a statement, the president said that he is sure that all four "will make a special contribution to their extremely significant fields," noting that the positions were allocated "in absolute independence of any party political considerations" in wake of the Senate’s current tension surrounding former President Silvio Berlusconi. 

Gehry’s Controversial Design for Eisenhower Memorial Approved

00:00 - 26 June, 2013
Gehry’s Controversial Design for Eisenhower Memorial Approved, Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP, 2013
Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP, 2013

Despite harsh criticism and a lingering threat from the House to scrap funding and start anew, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has unanimously approved Frank Gehry’s design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC. The $110 million project, nearly fourteen years in the making, has undergone numerous revisions in the past couple years in search of a compromise between the commission and its opposition, namely the Eisenhower family.

Though the odds started to lean in the opposition’s favor, the commission is pressing forward with their plans and Gehry is expected to present his design to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts next month and the National Capital Planning Commission in early fall for review and approval.

University-driven Urban Economies Proposer, based on Brookings Institution Report

00:00 - 6 February, 2013

Think the best way to promote the economic and creative development of a city is to build stadiums and and shopping malls? Think again. In a recent article in the New York Times, Steve Lohr reveals the findings of a study from the Brookings Institution that looks into where and why specific cities emerge as hubs of creativity and innovation. By studying the patent filings of the United States' 370 metropolitan areas, the study revealed that cities with the most innovation were centers of education and research. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California; Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont.; Rochester, Minnesota; Corvallis, Oregon; and Boulder, Colorado topped the list as the "output of innovation. Lohr suggests that this data can help promote policies that encourage urban development for economic feedback.

More after the break.

AIA Emphatically Urges Looser Credit, Notes 30% Drop in Architectural Employment Since 2008

15:00 - 20 September, 2011
Construction at 1 WTC, by ShinyThings VIA Flickr. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Construction at 1 WTC, by ShinyThings VIA Flickr. Used under Creative Commons

The AIA has issued a “comprehensive look yet at the built environment’s role in economic recovery, highlighting six specific policy steps that will generate jobs and help grow the American economy.” Coming on the eve of President Obama’s major jobs initiative, the report cites George Mason University economist Stephen J. Miller in arguing that every $1 million in new construction spending supports “28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs.”

Miller and the AIA blame tight credit markets blocking potential progress in this area. The publication, “The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery,” is issued with this problem in mind. “We’re putting these recommendations forward now because it’s time for the Administration and Congress to get real about creating an environment in which people are willing to lend and borrow,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, quoted in a recent AIA press release. “When credit flows to worthy projects, it unleashes the job creation potential of the American economy.”