Catherine Bowen, Plascon Trends Editor
The International Union of Architects World Congress is upon us (it opened yesterday and will run until the 7th of August), bringing architects from around the world to the shores of Durban in order to consider their common concerns and interests “through an unashamedly African lens”. The intention is to bring African knowledge, challenges and opportunities into dialogue with the world.
International Union of Architects World Congress 2014
The development concerns that face South Africa are, by and large, those of Africa’s. In 2014, one of the most urgent needs facing humans is managing urban sprawl and the demand for housing, infrastructure, basic services, employment and social development – which are inevitably bound to political decisions and economies. (uia2014durban.org)
The Congress is an opportunity for African architects to help shape/form solutions to poverty, which must be achieved if we are to evolve and survive as a species. Indeed, architects have a pivotal role to play in addressing social inequalities and must reconcile sustainability with progress.
There will be links to “OTHER” global initiatives, which refer to the COP 17 (Built Environment Charter) and RIO+20 (Soil Programme); these initiatives focus specifically on urbanisation and the agricultural opportunities in and around the peripheries of cities.
Globally, there is consensus that many of the ideologies that we have adhered to over the last few centuries have failed us as societies… We require paradigm-shifting models for our way forward, and perhaps some of these alternative values can be found in Africa? Certainly, ancient African communities had a respect and responsibility to their natural environment – a commitment to their communities and sense of connectivity to both.
All in all, UIA2014 will no doubt be a thought-provoking Congress in a similar way that “Design Indaba” is to creative communities. UIA2014 runs until the 7th of August and you can find out all you need to know from the official Congress site here.