arch-peace news and articles

2.7.19

2019 Volunteer Project – Bridging Lanka

Image source: Bridging Lanka

2019 Volunteer Project – Urban Improvement in Mannar


To Architects for Peace Community Members:
This year, as part of our commitment to support pro bono work, we are supporting the development work undertaken by Bridging Lanka. In the past we have had some volunteers working with the Bridging Lanka NGO and we have also attended a information meetings in February this year.
For more information, please check the website and/or contact Steve Dunn (details in the webpage)

Who is Bridging Lanka?
Bridging Lanka is a not-for-profit community development organisation operating in the northern Sri Lankan district of Mannar where it has its office and ‘in-country’ team. Bridging Lanka harnesses the resources of international volunteers and expatriate Sri Lankans to benefit the people of Mannar, Puttalam and Kandy Districts.

Bridging Lanka supports a range of projects responding to social, economic and environmental issues in these communities. More information about Bridging Lanka, its objectives, programs and projects can be found at the Bridging Lanka website.

25.6.19

CALL OUT FOR CAST MEMBERS: 'Clearance by Cappuccino' - a dialogue on affordable and diverse housing for everybody

(Above) role play and character development at our recent introductory workshop
Image credit: Free Theatre

'Clearance by Cappuccino' is a collaboration between Architects for Peace and Free Theatre using the mediums of dialogue and theatre to re-imagine the notion of affordable and diverse housing for everybody. We feel it is important to invite discussion into one space, bring the community together with architects, planners, urban designers, policy makers and more, to share perspectives on how housing affordability and housing stress involves and affects us all.

We are calling for people interested in taking part in a dialogue based performance as cast members. No prior acting experience is required. An interest in the topic is essential! We are looking for 5 - 6 cast members to form an ensemble.

Free Theatre will host a series of workshops and expose participants to the dialogue theatre methodology in the lead up to a public performance. Each cast member will have an opportunity to develop their character, and through this, develop a unique position on housing affordability.

Contact Nicole Mechkaroff at nicole@architectsforpeace.org for further details.

24.6.19

Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge - shortlist announced.

AHA! Alternative Homes Agency proposed by Architects for Peace

We’d like to congratulate the seven short-listed entries for the City of Sydney’s alternative housing ideas challenge, announced mid-June. These entrants will now have until November this year to develop their proposals further, and present them for public consultation.


The competition attracted over 230 entries, among them a proposal on behalf of Architects for Peace, developed by Megan Spoor, Eva Rodriguez Riestra, Nicole Mechkaroff and Eleanor Chapman.

Although globally many kinds of housing models exist, in Australia, reliance on a very limited range of housing tenure options not only keeps housing costs high, but also excludes other kinds of housing possibilities from the public imagination. Our proposal seeks to disrupt a deeply-rooted reliance on the private market by opening up the public imagination to other ways of living together – and practical means to realise them. 

We propose to establish an information agency to foster awareness of alternative housing models, as well as support development and implementation of self-organised housing initiatives. Our proposed Alternative Homes Agency (AHA!) challenges the dominant acceptance of the private housing market by filling a crucial gap in community knowledge and skills - a gap that prevents the imagining of alternatives. AHA! will work alongside government service providers and NGOs to:

  • Raise awareness among home-seekers of the diversity of possible communal housing models beyond private renting or ownership.
  • Map and create a register of existing vacant and under-utilised properties.
  • Educate home-seekers in the skills and knowledge needed to initiate a self-organised housing project.
  • Connect independent home-seekers from a range of backgrounds with Community Housing Providers, with a view to realising joint projects.


View our proposal in detail here

We’re grateful to the City of Sydney for leading a much-needed public discussion of housing alternatives, and for the internal discussion it’s sparked within our team recently! Architects for Peace is committed to standing up for decent affordable housing for all.

If you are interested in getting involved with related A4P activities, please contact us at team@architectsforpeace.org.

21.6.19

World Refugee Week 2019


Today, Architects for Peace want to join all communities, organisations, schools, businesses, and people around the world to celebrate World Refugee Week. There are more than 70 million people forcibly displaced by worldwide. Architects for Peace stands by those who are fleeing their home country because of persecution, or due to natural and made-made disaster. We believe that there are no positive outcomes from the destruction of lives, communities, cities and the environment.

Despite all challenges, we will continue to advocate for a more just and equal world, where we all have a voice, we are no longer threatened in our homes, and we feel welcome in other countries.

3.6.19

Taskafa: Stories of the Street. Post-event reflection

by Nicole Mechkaroff

Last Thursday's public discussion and film screening began to unpack John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing' where looking was understood to be inherently political.

'To look is an act of choice' - Berger

Claire Collie opened the discussion with a critical historiography of Melbourne, it's urban Renaissance narrative, and the counter-narratives that have been unseen to give rise to social injustice, erasures and structural violence. Claire drew upon Andrea Luka Zimmerman's attempt to resist a single way of seeing in the film Taskafa, and set the scene for alternative urban planning imaginaries for humans and non-humans to coexist.

A demonstration of verbal and non-verbal communication techniques between Elani Schmidt and therapy dog Leila dove into some qualitative aspects of human and animal interactions, and provided insights into the value of Animal-Assisted Therapy for people in need.

We also heard from Anna Rowe about her time spent in Mannar Sri Lanka. She discussed the work of Bridging Lanka with street donkeys. Once an important part of community life, these beautiful animals have become neglected. They represent a past that many would rather forget.

Many thanks to all guest speakers and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman for helping us come together to discuss these critical urban issues.