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A message from BSA president Jay Wickersham FAIA

The BSA’s public policy principles and our agenda for 2018

The BSA has always had a strong civic presence. There are so many ways in which our members use their design skills to improve our communities—getting involved in 50+ BSA grassroots committees; serving on local and state boards; and working with nonprofits and our partners, the BSA Foundation and AIA Massachusetts.

The past year has challenged us to re-examine our core ethical values as professionals. We have reaffirmed what we stand for, what we have accomplished, and what we hope to accomplish. We will work with the City of Boston to help implement Imagine Boston 2030, the first city-wide masterplan in 50 years. We will help maintain Massachusetts’ role as a national leader in climate change, affordable housing, mass transit, and social equity.

The BSA board recently adopted a set of policy principles to guide our work in advocacy, community engagement, and civic projects. Two over-arching principles inform all of the BSA’s activities:

1. Design excellence is at the core of everything we do as architects. It broadens our perceptions of personal and social possibilities, and it inspires our thinking about the world around us.

2. Social cohesion and equity: Planning and design can help communities make informed choices that address existing inequities of race and class. Design excellence in the service of social cohesion and equity creates flourishing spaces and flourishing people.

Informed by these over-arching principles, we commit to using our professional knowledge and skill to address the following challenges:

3. Environment and Climate Change: Design buildings and cities that meet the challenges of environmental degradation and global climate change and strive for the goal of a carbon-free future.

4. Resiliency: Plan and design for newly understood risks, especially the flooding caused by climate change and sea-level rise that threaten all Massachusetts coastal communities.

5. Housing: Increase housing supply and reduce housing costs in greater Boston, especially at affordable levels, to address inequality and strengthen our joint economic future.

6. City and Regional Planning: Participate in re-planning the physical form of greater Boston for economic, environmental, and social changes over the next 10–30 years.

7. Improving Practice: Help architects and firms navigate the changing nature of practice, remedy patterns of racial and gender inequality within the profession, and expand public interest / pro bono design services.

Here is the full document adopted by the Board. In the coming year I will use Currents to report regularly on the BSA’s public policy agenda for 2018, describing some of the many activities through which our committees, our members, our board, our staff, and our partners at the BSA Foundation and AIA Massachusetts are putting these principles to work.

Jay Wickersham FAIA
Noble, Wickersham & Heart
2018 BSA president