arch-peace news and articles

26.10.14

Come celebrate the launch of our new Strategic Plan - Tuesday 11 November 2014

After months of brainstorming, questioning, consultation and critical reflection, it's time - we're about to launch our new direction!


Date:    Tuesday 11 November 2014
Time:   6 - 8:30pm
Venue: RMIT Design Hub, Roof Pavilion
            (Building 100, corner Victoria & Swanston St, Carlton VIC)



On the night, we will reflect on our past 11 years in existence and present our new framework, including the key goals that will be our focus over the next four years. As we move into putting our goals into practice - we will be building an action plan and seeking to connect with external collaborators - new and old. Do you have a project we might be able to support or develop together? Tell us about it on the night, or email us at team@architectsforpeace.org

Speaking on the night will be two special guests: Professor Michael Buxton (RMIT) and Associate Professor Soumitri Varadarajan (RMIT Industrial Design). Drinks and canapes provided.

Soumitri Varadarajan is Deputy Dean of Industrial and Interior Design, at RMIT University and editor (South and South-East Asia) of the Encyclopedia of Asian Design. Soumitri previously worked at Hitachi in Japan and has directed studios in Israel, India, Netherlands, China, Turkey, Portugal and France. Focused upon the social, Soumitri approaches design from a range of social, aesthetic and material culture perspectives. In health, his practice takes the approach of de-medicalising and re-contextualizing everyday practices of 'patients' by developing new traditions and artefacts.

Dr Michael Buxton
is Professor of Environment and Planning with the School of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. He has held senior positions in four Victorian planning and environmental agencies and has contributed extensively to national and state environmental and planning policy. Michael led the intergovernmental process developing a new National Greenhouse Strategy between 1994-96 and was Chairperson of the Premier’s Green Wedge Working Party which advised the government on the adoption of a legislated urban growth boundary. His research interests include urban intensification, peri-urban development and outer urban development.

Help us celebrate this important moment in our organisation's history, and find out how together we can work towards our vision for a socially and spatially just future!

Check out the Facebook event here.
Entry is free, please RSVP for catering purposes here before Friday 7 November.

Venue sponsor: CAST: Centre for Art, Society and Transformation, RMIT School of Art Research

25.8.14

Update on our recent happenings...




 
Our strategic plan is taking shape!  Following on from the public session we held in May, where many constructive comments were received, we have continued to meet fortnightly to develop the content.  We have been joined by new friends (Yusef Taibeh and Katica Puga) and old ones (Peter Johns, Mary Ann Jackson, Ralph Green, Anthony McInneny, Kieran McKernan, Ammon Beyerle, Edith Wong, Kamil Muhammed and Lynda Roberts) and even a founding member (Eva Riestra) residing in Sydney who many of us met for the first time.

Contributions from the expanded team of people have led to many new ideas, insights, and questions on what and where our organisation wishes to focus our services on, what are our values, what do we stand for, how we could make an impact on our communities, and whether we wish to keep the name ‘Architects for Peace’.   These robust discussions have been crucial in determining and justifying our evolving goals, objectives and the actions. Considering it’s less than 5 months since we embarked seriously on this exercise, the progress we have made in a such a short time is quite remarkable.

In order to gather thoughts and feedback from our members and supporters on what you value about our organisation and how we might improve, we sent out a survey in late April. We were unable to draw conclusive information from the results due to the small sample size, and have found our face-to-face engagement through our Melbourne meetings to be a more successful forum. We do however value our members outside of our home town, and will continue to strive to maintain our international connections, and get to know our overseas members. We would love to hear from you as to how we might do this better! We hope to continue to make opportunities available to you to make comments or to get involved as the first part of our strategic plan unfolds over the coming year.

Now that we are close to finalising our Strategic Plan, we are very excited that we can soon start preparing for its official launch in late Spring – stay tuned for more details coming soon!  If you’d like to know more about what we’ve been up to, you can read up on our submission to the City of Melbourne Homes for People Draft Housing Strategy 2014 – 2018 here 

Once again, we would like to express our most sincere thanks to Sarah Davis, our amazing strategic planning facilitator, who has not only so generously guided us throughout this process but has also become a good friend of our group!

Submission to the City of Melbourne Draft Housing Strategy 2014 – 2018



In June 2014, the City of Melbourne invited comments on its draft Housing strategy: Homes for People.   Affordable housing and shelter as a human right have emerged as a key concern for our organisation recently, in the process of developing a strategic plan to better focus our efforts in future. The CoM strategy is commendable, however we believe its frame of reference could be expanded to improve amenity, design quality, housing affordability and social equity. With special contributions from Kieran, Peter, and Yusef, we made a submission to this effect. 

More information on the draft Housing Strategy can be found here and the A4P submission can be viewed from here.

27.6.14

Strategic planning sessions in Melbourne - June/July 2014


Below the dates of our coming strategic planning meetings in June/July.
During this time we'll be refining the strategic plan vision, mission, goals and actions - it's a great time to contribute if you're interested. 


JUNE
Review consultation results and draft strategic plan  / Name brainstorming

SATURDAY JUNE 28
10am (for a 10.30am start) to 3.30pm

JULY
Refine strategic plan and develop project/action ideas

TUESDAY JULY 15
6.45pm (for a 7pm start) to 9pm

SATURDAY JULY 26
10am (for a 10.30am start) to 3.30pm

Venues vary for each date. To RSVP, and find out where we'll be meeting, please send an email to team@architectsforpeace.org 

Want to know a bit about what's happened so far? Click here.

Why are we doing this? Find out more here.

23.6.14

Update on our public strategic planning session


We recently held a public session in Melbourne to present some of our strategic plan work so far and invite feedback. It was a productive session, led by strategic planning facilitator Sarah Davis, that sparked welcome debate and critical comment. We spent the evening with a mixed crowd - from complete newcomers to one of our founding members. Thank you to everyone who attended: your input is of enormous value to us in determining our future direction as an organisation. It was fantastic for our core team of eight to hear from some voices outside the room after working away in isolation for the past few months!

We took away some key questions from the night that we will continue to explore as a team, and would like to share these with you below:

 - Is our focus local or international, or both, and to what extent? Does this need to be reflected in a particular goal, or can it underpin/inform our approach generally?

- Does conflict/war need to be directly flagged somewhere in our goals? This was definitely a key motivating factor for the formation of A4P (pre-declaration of war on Iraq), but is something that has not come through strongly in our strategic planning discussions to date. This might be partly because our core group is based in Melbourne, Australia, where conflict is removed from our personal life experiences. Do we need to reintroduce as specific goal on this subject?


- Do our current goals take enough of a political position? (e.g. affordable housing for low income earners is very broad - and could mean a number of things. Do we need to drill down further?)   


- Are the words we're using clear and going to be broadly understood in the same way? 'Self-sufficiency' was noted as one term with possible negative connotations of exclusion. Are there any other problematic terms that need further definition or an alternative?




Goals

The questions above emerged from discussion of our draft goals. We presented these on the night, then split into groups and asked participants to respond to the goals with their ideas for potential partners and action ideas, broadly under the following key areas:

a. Partnerships (partnering with other organisations to lobby for change on issues of concern to our members)
b. Research
c. Design

Below is an overview of the goals and responses to them:

1. Quality affordable housing for people on low incomes



2. Greater self-sufficiency and coexistence with urban and natural environments



3. Civic spaces and services that are accessible with human powered and public transport options




What's in a name?

There's been some reflection on our name as part of this process. We've wondered if the word 'Architects' has created a barrier to participation for people who don't directly identify with the profession. The intent was always to be an inclusive organisation, with a focus on the built environment and social justice. That means not only architects, but engineers, planners, urban designers, artists, landscape architects, builders, as well as anyone who inhabits a built environment - in other words, everyone! We put a possible name change on the agenda and found the room was split evenly between 'keep' and 'change'. So the jury's still out.

What do you think? We'd love to hear from you!


Get involved

We will be holding fortnightly meetings in Melbourne on Tuesdays and Saturdays in June and July, with a view to wrapping up the plan towards the end of July. If you'd like to contribute, now's the time! Please email team@architectsforpeace.org for more details on session dates and times, or to find out how you can contribute remotely if you're not in Melbourne.

Thank you!

Thanks to Katherine, Targol, Akemi, Anne Claire, Nicole, Dina and Pauline for running the night - and to the fabulous Sarah Davis for facilitating!