arch-peace news and articles

3.12.18

Welcome to the 2019 steering committee and best wishes for 2018!





PRESIDENT'S REPORT 2018

This year's steering committee was made up of:

President: Nicole Mechkaroff
Vice-President: Anne Claire Deville
Secretary: Lorenza Lazzati
Treasurer: Pauline Ng
Public Officer: Lara Brown
General Member: Yang Bai
General Member: Tayyab Ahmad
General Member: Farah Rozhan
General Member: Stephen Herbst*
General Member: Fernando Estrada*

*Note: Stephen and Fernando were unable to maintain their steering committee positions for the full course of 2018 and were kept informed of ongoing activity upon request. Stephen made his position vacant in the later half of 2018 and Fernando did not provide a formal response for no longer being able to fulfil minimum committee responsibilities.

Volunteers
We welcomed new volunteers to the team:

- Eva Rodriguez Riestra (founding member returned)
- Setareh Motlagh
- Saumya Kaushik
- Ran Pan
- Annie Su
- Yusif Taibeh (former member returned)
- Louis Chen
- Holly Duan
- Wenjie Cao
- Bahar Zamani
- Helia Shahmiri
- Prani Patton
- Isabelle Legge
- Tracey Nguyen

Advisors
We had a team of advisors who kindly offered their help during 2018:

- Beatriz Maturana Cossio (founder of Architects for Peace)
- Anthony McInneny
- Peter Johns
- Eleanor Chapman
- Targol Khorram

Sponsors and supporters
Architects for Peace would like to thank all individuals and organisations who kindly supported us through donations, grants, sponsorship or donation of their time. Our sponsors and supporters for 2018 included:

- FytoGreen Australia (sponsor)
- Genton (sponsor)
- Architectus (sponsor)
- DiMase Architects (sponsor)
- CAST RMIT (supporter)
- Giant Grass (supporter)
- City of Melbourne (sponsor, grant)

Strategic Plan review
Architects for Peace formed a work group and performed three reviews of the Strategic Plan document (Spring 2014 - Spring 2018). These meeting sessions were designed to redefine the scope of the organisation's agenda to become sustainable in the long term. The group first met in early May to discuss the process and tools for evaluation. In subsequent meetings, it was agreed that a high level evaluation of the mission, goals and strategies using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) evaluation tool was a productive starting point. Quantitative and qualitative data was also collected to evaluate the organisation's performance over the last four years in the areas of:
- talk series
- social media platforms
- organisational finances
- organisational structure
In November 2018, a workshop was held with the wider volunteer team to obtain preliminary feedback on the relevance of the mission, goals and strategies applying the SMART methodology. Recommendations will be made in 2019 to consider the following feedback:
- The Strategic Plan mission requires some amendment to consider the use of the terms spatial justice or social justice and re-consider the use of the term healthy communities
- Goal 1 is relevant and requires considerable amendment to develop achievable and realistic strategies.
- Goal 2 has not attracted enough organisational activity over the four year period of the Strategic Plan but the strategies are relevant to Architects for Peace's mission.
- Goal 3 and the associated strategies appear to satisfy much of the SMART elevation and methodology with a view to create more time bound deliverables.
- Goal 4 and the associated strategies appear to satisfy much of the SMART evaluation and methodology with a view to create more time bound deliverables.

Talks
The organisation was most active with its talk series and events in 2018. This was an extremely successful time due to our history and experience in running events and talks, as well as, having a knowledgeable and skilled team who facilitated various topical discussions, receiving a good level of attendance. We had multiple sources of funding across the different talks and events: a grant from the City of Melbourne assisted us for the early 2018 events and, sponsorship and various in-kind donations assisted us for the 15 Year Anniversary event. Another strong aspect of this year's events were collaborations between Architects for Peace and different organisations, which helped promote the events, engage with more audience and build relationships among organisations for future activities. There were four major events this year:

January talk: Power to the People: The Importance of Democratic Public Spaces
Architects for Peace hosted this event as part of MPavilion.
Event manager:
Lara Brown
Guest Speakers:
Dr. Beatriz Maturana Cosio, academic at the FAU, University of Chile and Founder of Architects for Peace
Professor Kim Dovey, Informal Urbanism Research Hub, University of Melbourne
Dr. Peter Raisbeck, architect, design tutor and researcher at MSD, University of Melbourne

March talk: Slow Cities
Architects for Peace hosted this event at the Neapoli Wine Bar as part of Melbourne Design Week.
Event manager:
Yang Bai
Guest speakers:
Dr Janet McGaw, Senior Lecturer, Architectural Design and Practice, University of Melbourne
Dr David Nichols, Associate Professor, Lecturer in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne.
Julie Francis, Moffitts Farm
Dr. Claire Boulange, postdoctoral research fellow - Healthy Liveable Cities Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University

September and October talks and tour: Visions and Values for Melbourne’s Public Spaces
This was a three-part talk and tour series.

Talk 1 (September): Embracing a New Economy & Vision for Public Spaces
Held at East Melbourne Library
Event manager:
Anne-Claire Deville
Guest Speakers:
Darren Sharp, Social Surplus
Yvonne Meng, Circle Studio
Michael Smith, Red Black Architect

Talk 2 (September): Civic Value of Public Space
Held at East Melbourne Library
Event manager:
Anne-Claire Deville
Guest speakers:
David Pryor, Place Design Studio
Jonathan Daly, Urban Behaviours Lab

City tour (October): Building Democratic Cities (as part of Architects for Peace 15 Year Anniversary Celebration), from Queensbridge Square to Federation Square, Melbourne CBD.
Event manager:
Nicole Mechkaroff
Tour Leaders:
Tania Davidge, Citizens for Melbourne
Shelley Freeman, Architours and Citizens for Melbourne

November event: Building Democratic Cities – Architects for Peace 15 Year Anniversary Celebration
This event was held at the Red Stair Amphitheatre at Queensbridge Square, Melbourne.
Event managers:
Nicole Mechkaroff, Pauline Ng, Yang Bai
Key event participants:
Public Assembly – Lynda Roberts and Ceri Hann, interactive public arts activities
Giant Grass – Munir Vahanvati and Mittul Vahanvati, bamboo sculpture installation and build, public discussion
Citizens for Melbourne – Tania Davidge and Shelley Freeman, city tour, public discussion
Tanja Beer, University of Melbourne, public discussion
Andrea Cook, University of Melbourne, public discussion
Architects for Peace, community rope jump
Visionary Design Development, city map – universal access and mobility
STREAT Melbourne, city map – youth homelessness

News and editorials
As with previous years, editorials remain an important activity to the organisation and continued to present challenges with the current volunteer resources and structure. We established a focused newsletter and publishing team in the later half of 2018 offering quarterly e-news for our international community, while still allowing for editorials to develop at a comfortable pace within the organisation. Architects for Peace will continue to seek out opportunities to receive further editorial contributions.


Campaigns:
Architects for Peace was active in supporting various campaigns this year that aligned with Goals 3 and 4 in our Strategic Plan. Our mode of participation took many forms to enhance how volunteers engaged with and advocated for spatial justice in the built environment including: soft campaign launches, promoting petition sign ups and, attending rallies. We hope to continue to be active in these ways as they provide opportunities to improve the organisation’s presence and ability to be vocal about built environment issues.


March 2018: Everybody’s Home Campaign, Council to Homeless Persons Unit, soft campaign launch and petition signing organised member representation from Melbourne and Munich
March, April and September 2018: Our City Our Square campaign, Citizens for Melbourne – including attendance at collaborator meetings and rallies.
July 2018: Architects for Peace supports the rights of people seeking refuge at the “Five Years Too Long – Bring Them Here” march in Melbourne CBD.



Social Media:

Facebook
We have 27,715 Facebook followers, consisting of 51% women and 48% men, mostly between 25-34 years old. There was a small decrease in the number of followers by approximately 275 people.
This year, our fans were mainly from Iran followed by Australia, India, United States and Italy. The most popular languages are English followed by Spanish, French and Italian.
In terms of the number of people who have seen any content associated with the Architects For Peace page by age and gender grouping the stats are as follow:
54% women, 44% men between the age of 18-65.
Top countries that reached our content are: Australia, Italy, Tanzania and United Kingdom.
In terms of engagement in 2018 we had 53% engagement by women and 43% by men.


LinkedIn:
This year we were moderately active on our LinkedIn page and LinkedIn group which resulted in a small increase in the number of followers on our LinkedIn company page to 336 and LinkedIn group page to 579.


Instagram:

This year we reached over 1235 followers and started to share multi-lingual information to connect with our international community. We see this as an important activity to build up in 2019 as it aligns with Goal 1 in the Strategic Plan - to build a strong, sustainable and internationally connected organisation.


Pro-bono service

As with previous years, the pro-bono service has been stopped, however, individual members are always encouraged to bring in projects they find interesting to discuss with the group.

Collaborations and contributions
2018 was a very successful year in terms of approaching different groups and individuals and advocating for design for the public good in the built environment. We were able to gain interest and build strong relationships and hope that some of these may lead to longer term collaborations. These activities included:

- MPavilion, January talk (Power to the People: The Importance of Democratic Public Spaces)
- Melbourne Design Week, March talk (Slow Cities)
- Parity Magazine, Revisiting Rough Sleeping May Edition (Article contribution: Tackling Homelessness - A Housing First Approach)
- Guest presenter at CHT Architects
- Guest presenter in Humanitarian Architecture Week - Design for the other 98%, MODDD
- Bamboo harvesting and building workshop in collaboration with Giant Grass

Website
Following a preliminary plan in 2017 to develop a new Architects for Peace website, a staging website was developed this year with an aim to launch in 2019.

In the first half of 2018, Fernando Estrada endeavoured to secure a quote from a group of web developers outsourced by Melbourne University’s school of computing and information systems. It was a lengthy process and a web developer was not employed on that occasion. In the second half of the year the organisation awarded the contract to volunteer Tony Luo who has developed a sample “Home page” based on a briefing document and working decisions made in 2017. Further discussion is being pursued with Architects for Peace advisor Peter Johns.

Architects for Peace branches
Following a preliminary plan in 2017 to develop Architects for Peace branches, we carried out a detailed investigation into legal requirements to establish additional active branches outside of Melbourne Australia.

We received pro-bono advice from Justice Connect who recommended we apply to become a Registered Australian body with ASIC, which would allow us to operate throughout Australia. The Steering Committee will further discuss and likely proceed with this application in 2019. While we also have a number of keen overseas members whom we have made contact with, setting up formal international branches is a far more complex process with many legal, political, cultural and financial factors we need to consider and address beforehand.

Conferences
Architects for Peace volunteers have actively participated in various events, conferences and workshops in 2018. Some of the highlights included:
- Participation in Everybody's Home campaign briefing and teleconference, March 2018
- Participation in Workaround: Women, Design and Action held in conjunction with Humanitarian Architecture Week, Melbourne, August 2018
- Participation in the New Urban Agenda standing conference - Affordable Living In Sustainable Cities, Newcastle, November 2018

Plans for 2019

Architects for Peace was pleased to receive an annual grant from the City of Yarra for 2019 which will go towards facilitating events and the talk series.

Due to several ongoing activities and applications throughout 2018, the organisation has some actions and activities set up for the 2019 year.

Amend the existing Strategic Plan for update Architects for Peace’s strategic direction
Review the staging website and launch the new Architects for Peace website in 2019
Provide events and public talks with the annual grant from the City of Yarra
Activate the Architects for Peace branch in Sydney and seek opportunities to connect with international urban activists
Strengthen newsletter and editorials activities
Continue to partner and collaborate with other organisations
Actively promote UN SDGs, through news, editorials, conferences or events
Seek opportunities to share multilingual news

2019 Steering Committee

The following steering committee was elected at our 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and will lead Architects for Peace into the 2019 year:

President – Nicole Mechkaroff
Vice President – Eva Rodriguez Riestra
Secretary – Setareh Motlagh
Treasurer – Saumya Kaushik
Public Officer – Yang Bai
General Member – Tayyab Ahmad


Nicole Mechkaroff
Architects for Peace President, 2018

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