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BSA News

Nov 05, 2020

BSA Remains Committed to a Resilient, Equitable, Just, and Architecturally Vibrant City

Photo by Kentaro Toma on Unsplash zakim

Photo by Kentaro Toma on Unsplash.

BSA President-Elect, Greg Minott AIA recently wrote in his op-ed for The Architect’s Newspaper “our profession offers incredible opportunities for driven individuals to contribute to something greater than themselves." This is not only true for the profession of architecture, but for organizations like the BSA.

This week’s elections weigh heavily on all of us. Regardless of our political preferences, we believe there is tremendous work to focus on toward making a resilient, equitable, just, and architecturally vibrant city and region.

In Greater Boston, buildings are the single greatest source of carbon emissions. We need to retrofit more than 2,000 existing buildings a year to meet the 2050 Net Zero goals.

The wealth gap between white and black households in the Greater Boston area is staggering, at a household median net worth of $247,500 for white families and $8 for black families. The system is stacked and unjust. The architecture profession itself is far from mirroring the rich diversity of our region and country.

These are formidable societal challenges, but ones that the BSA is committed to addressing in collaboration with our membership, community partners, and civic leaders. A lot of work is already underway.

BSA/iLab Housing Innovation Design Fellow Wandy Pascoal is working on housing equity, specifically by examining the triple-decker. You can see her recent work in the Future-Decker exhibition and conversation series.

Rebecca Berry AIA and BSA Community Design Director Ben Peterson are leading a collaboration with several groups, including the Families for Justice as Healing to build community-led initiatives instead of prisons.

The BSA Advocacy Task Force, working with BSA Policy Director Jenny Effron, crafted our policy positions on decarbonization and are working with the Green Ribbon Commission to develop plans addressing the Zero Carbon Retrofits of Existing Buildings.

These are just a few examples of how we are addressing these challenges through architecture and the power of design.

There are so many more incredible opportunities for driven individuals who would like to get involved.

This election is a reminder that another way to get involved is to “be like Chris.” Chris Walsh AIA was a citizen architect, serving four terms in the Massachusetts House as the Representative of the 6th Middlesex district covering Framingham. Chris brought grace, humor, and design intelligence to state government and sadly passed away in 2018. He was arguably the most prominent citizen architect in the Commonwealth and his passing has left a large void of representation on behalf of the architects.

We applaud the many BSA members who do serve in their local and state government in elected, appointed, and employed roles. We hope you will take a moment to recognize and thank your colleagues who are actively engaged in government, and encourage all members to get involved.

To learn more, contact us or explore the AIA Citizen Architect Handbook. A democratic society is built upon active citizens who are involved and contribute something greater than themselves.