Communities are the backbone of our nation, and they have all been shaped by the monetary investment, technical expertise, and design decisions of the previous generation. Each generation is responsible for maintaining the built environment they inherit, and each generation must decide how and when to use the technological tools, time, and talent of their age to make meaningful, sustainable, and lasting contributions to their community.
As architects, we have unique skills that confer on us a special responsibility for our communities. Each of us must do what we can—be it small or large—to be responsible stewards of today’s built world and to lead efforts that will result in a better future for the next generation.
Beyond building design and renovation, architects around the nation are using their expertise to address the urgent issues of our time, including increasing our affordable housing stock, fixing crumbling infrastructure, improving school safety, and resolving persistently unequal economic opportunity. The most crucial problem-solving tool we possess is the ability to listen. By listening to the needs of residents and working with civic and business leaders, we can transform communities to reflect this generation’s highest ideals of fairness, equity, and opportunity for all. Architects are stewards of our history and curators of our future. Fundamentally, we all want the same thing: a better, brighter, and fairer future for our family, community, and nation.
The solution to many of today’s most pressing and fundamental challenges—from ensuring access to quality healthcare to increasing social equity and mitigating climate change—are already being addressed or even solved at the community level. In many instances, architects are at the center of these efforts to make their communities better, safer, and stronger.
I am proud to be a member of a profession that continues to focus on how to inspire, how to protect, and how to ensure that the built environment helps future generations thrive and meet the challenges of their day. Ensuring that our communities encourage the health, welfare, and economic opportunity of everyone—without regard to race, gender, or socioeconomic status—is a vision we all share. Achieving that shared vision will require the time and talent of everyone working together. Through partnerships and active and thoughtful listening, we can ensure that our cities, suburbs, and towns—our communities— are safe, sustainable, and equitable places to live, learn, work, and play, for everyone.