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2019 year in review


This year's steering committee was made up of:
President - Nicole Mechkaroff
Vice President - Eva Rodriguez Riestra
Secretary - Setareh Motlagh
Treasurer - Saumya Kaushik
Public Officer - Yang Bai
General Member - Tayyab Ahmed

We welcomed new volunteers to the team:
Anna Rowe (former volunteer returned)
Isabel Torres
Megan Spoor
Corinne Jutzler
Connor Forsyth
Alina Walizade
Edwina Swain

We had a team of advisers who offered advice and help during 2019:
Beatriz Maturana
Anthony McInneny
Peter Johns
Eleanor Chapman

Architects for Peace would like to thank all advisers and give a special mention to Peter Johns for his tremendous work in the management of the Architects for Peace website over the years. The volunteer team is very grateful for his generosity and we wish him all the best for the future.

2019 Theme
Coming into the 2019 year, Architects for Peace volunteers and members voiced their concerns about climate emergency and the urgent need for global and sustainable action. City redevelopment must be seen as a part of the solution for regenerating the earth's vulnerable condition and to improve the quality of life for all living things.

Architects for Peace was present in this year's Global Climate Strikes, attending several public demonstrations across Melbourne, Sydney and Santiago in particular. The scale of rallying in cities and towns showed a strong public demand for faster government and industry action to stop treating climate change as a problem on a long waiting list.

March 2019: Global Climate Strike - attended by members in Melbourne.
September 2019: Global Climate Strike - attended by members in Melbourne, Sydney and Santiago.
Global Climate Strike, Sydney. October 2019.
Global Climate Strike, Melbourne. October 2019.
Global Climate Strike, Santiago. October 2019.
Regional and country member contributions
Following on from organisational plans in 2018, Architects for Peace became a registered Australian body with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) in order to formalise its operations and develop volunteer branches across Australia. This year, volunteers in Melbourne and Sydney worked resourcefully and cooperatively to grow activity in promoting social justice for the public good. We provided more information to our readers, members and followers on social media and through newsletters.

International contributions to editorials and in competitions came from member representatives in Chile, Germany, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Australia in particular. A rich exchange of knowledge sharing occurred, reinforcing the value of international and interdisciplinary collaboration. One highlight included a submission for the City of Sydney's Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge with members in Australia, Germany and the UK upholding Architects for Peace's commitment to standing up for decent, affordable housing.

View our full proposal here

Sponsors and supporters
Architects for Peace would like to thank the City of Yarra Council for their sponsorship for the 2019 year. Their grant enabled our volunteers to host public talks and events.

Talks and events
The organisation was active with events in 2019. We diversified the ways in which we facilitated public discourse and sought to deepen levels of community engagement and participation, including interdisciplinary round table discussions, film screenings and working with the dialogue theatre methodology. Our events continued to receive high levels of attendance across multiple disciplines and professions, including: built environment professionals, members of Council, social scientists, environmentalists and artists. The City of Yarra grant enabled our skilled teams to promote events, expand and diversify our reach to new and local audiences, and build community and professional relationships for future activities.

There were two community events this year, as well as, one workshop series:

May - talk and film screening. Taskafa: Stories of the Street
Architects for Peace hosted this event at the Bargoonga Nganjin Library, North Fitzroy, Melbourne.
The screening of Taskafa showed an artist's essay about memory and the most necessary forms of belonging, both to a place and a history. We explored the relationship between urban street animals and their human populations.

Event manager: Anna Rowe
Guest speakers:
Claire Collie - Landscape Sociologist, PhD Candidate in Urban Planning - University of Melbourne
Elani Schmidt - Provisional Psychologist, Counsellor and Animal Therapist - Lead the Way
Anna Rowe - Urban Planner and volunteer at Bridging Lanka
Film maker - Andrea Luka Zimmerman

July - community engagement workshop. Clearance by Cappuccino
Free Theatre and Architects for Peace jointly hosted this community engagement workshop at Siteworks, Brunswick, Melbourne.
The forms of dialogue and theatre were used to explore the meaning and value of diverse and affordable housing for everybody in Melbourne.

Collaborators: Richard Barber (Free Theatre), Pongjit Saphakhun (Free Theatre), Nicole Mechkaroff (Architects for Peace).

August, September, October - acting workshops. Clearance by Cappuccino
Discussion, scripting and acting workshops
Discussion, scripting and acting workshops
Continuing on from the July community engagement workshop, this workshop series involved a deeper interaction with the dialogue theatre medium to work through imagined and real-life tensions and conflict that arise in achieving diverse and affordable housing. The ensemble did not reach the final performance stage but worked well through challenging and surprising conversations between different individuals during the scripting phase.

October - community engagement workshop. Greening the Blue: Urban Futures of Regeneration and Repair
Architects for Peace and Engineers Without Borders (Victoria Region) jointly hosted this event at the Collingwood Library Meeting Room, Abbotsford, Melbourne.
Guest speaker presentations
Dr. Chris Taylor's presentation on Forest Ecosystem Mapping and Analysis.
See full presentation here
Group and round table discussions
Key issues, actions and solutions
Held on World Cities Day, this community workshop called for critical discussion and action to regenerate cities and the Earth in emergency.

Event managers: Nicole Mechkaroff, Pauline Ng, Saumya Kaushik, Michelle Low
Guest speakers:
Dr. Chris Taylor - Research Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University
Jess Hutchison - Extinction Rebellion
Andrew George - Extinction Rebellion
Bianca Anderson - Engineers Without Borders

We showed support for and promoted a number of talks and initiatives aligning with Architects for Peace's vision, values and theme:

Local Projects Challenge, Accelerating the SDGs - City Maker Survey, by University Columbia.
The Global Refugee Crisis: The Role of Built Environment Professionals, as part of the UTZON lecture series, University of New South Wales - with Brett Moore.
Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, University of Sydney - with Elle Kransy.
Architects Declare (Australia) petition.

In Melbourne, volunteers held two social and volunteer recruitment nights in March and August.

News, editorials and interviews
This year's news, editorials and communications teams made our news feeds more dynamic and diverse with information. Architects for Peace will continue to seek opportunities to receive further editorial contributions. Some highlight editorials, articles, interviews and news published and shared this year include:

Walled City of Lahore by Waleed Shakeel (editorial); 
Interview with Dr. Ralene West on regulatory barriers for accessibility in the built environment;
Energy Overlays - Civic Art for a Circular Economy by Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monian (article); 
Sharing the City as a Commons can create stronger, inclusive communities by Darren Sharp (editorial); 
National Volunteer Week reflections by Architects for Peace volunteers (editorial);
Dandaji Daily Market / atelier masomi curated by Matheus Periera (published by Arch Daily) (article); 
A New Built Environment Paradigm Needed! by Mary Ann Jackson (editorial); 
Melbourne's Renewal and Homelessness: Urban Space, Erasure and Redemption by Claire Collie (article, published by Meanjin Quarterly).

Social Media
We have 27,970 Facebook followers, consisting of 51% women and 48% men, mostly between 25-34 years of age. There was an increase in the number of followers by approximately 303 people. This year, our fans were mainly from Iran followed by Australia, India, United Stated and Italy. The most popular languages are English followed by Spanish, French and Italian.

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 367, and LinkedIn group page to 580.

This year we reached over 1300 followers and shared more diverse types of news and information to connect with our international community.

Pro-bono service
As part of our commitment to support pro-bono work, we supported the work of Bridging Lanka and their Mannar Kulam Rehabilitation Program.

Collaborations and contributions
2019 was a very successful year in terms of approaching different groups and individuals and advocating for design for the public good. 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:

- Repeat collaboration with Engineers Without Borders for 'Greening the Blue' workshop;
- Collaboration with Free Theatre group in 'Clearance by Cappuccino' workshops;
- Competition submission for the City of Sydney's Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge - a collaboration between Nicole Mechkaroff (Australia), Megan Spoor (United Kingdom), Eva Rodriguez Riestra (Australia), Eleanor Chapman (Germany).

The management and administrative function of the Architects for Peace website was handed over to Beatriz Maturana (Architects for Peace founder), and she will continue to administer the website in future.

Plans for 2020
Given the social demands for increased response and action to climate emergency, Architects for Peace will continue it's activities to ensure there is further debate and education among built environment professionals. In addition, some key actions for the 2020 year include:
- Submitting the quadrennial report to the UN Economic and Social Council;
- Continuing to partner and collaborate with other, similar organisations and individuals;
- Seeking ongoing opportunities to share interdisciplinary, multilingual news.

President's note
With 2019 being my last year as President, I would like to thank the incredible volunteers whose support, contribution and friendship have made ethical outcomes in this organisation a reality. I am pleased to have seen so much accomplished over the years, and there is more work to do in supporting urban development and re-construction that is sustainable, socially just and promotes peace.

Nicole Mechkaroff
Architects for Peace President, 2019


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