Advocacy for Architects: Design Is Not Enough

Every year policymakers make decisions that affect the practice of architecture and the built environment. A recent article in Architect magazine, "Design is Not Enough," reminds architects that they can – and do – influence policies by being advocates and ensuring the architecture profession remains vital and healthy.

Advocacy is defined as the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal. By declaring 2015 to be the Year of the Advocate, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is encouraging architects to ensure their voices are heard - from their local communities to Capitol Hill. Architects are being educated about the political process as well as proper messaging and how to deliver those messages in the most effective way possible.

Page Senior Principal Mattia Flabiano III, AIA, is a member of the AIA Political Action Committee, and he believes that involvement in advocacy can begin early in an architect’s career, especially if it is embedded in firm culture. But regardless of when and how the seed is planted, Mattia is convinced that architects are particularly well-suited to play the role of advocate.

“Advocacy has a huge impact on the business of architecture, but I don’t think that all architects understand that,” he says. “We’re trained to be good listeners, we work collaboratively in groups, we look at all ideas, and we’re problem-solvers. We have not been as loud in the communities because we’re too busy practicing our trade, as opposed to advocating for our profession and what we do to enhance people’s lives.”

The article may be read in full here.

“Design is not Enough,” by Dominic Mercier for AIA Architect, July 2015.