If ‘natural laws’ determine the behaviour of energy and the manifestation of this behaviour in the natural realm, then human laws, conceived of as public policy in democracies, govern the application of a miniscule portion of that energy by people to achieve, to manifest, some desired end. To date, this has resulted in many benefits accruing to certain people while disparate conditions exist for others. This has also historically led to, and has recently accelerated, a degradation of the biosphere for all. Public policy involves the design of systems of allotment of human and natural resources to achieve, ideally, some beneficial/benevolent end. Architecture, be it of individual buildings or urban scaled projects is, effectively, a most visible manifestation of various policies in the constructed environment. The skills, knowledge and values required to successfully achieve such manifestations are inherently broad in scope, effectively holistic. It is such a set of abilities and values that can positively contribute to the development of public policy at various levels and stages of the public policy process. Public policy is initiated, formulated, implemented and evaluated at local, regional and national levels. Exact processes may vary between jurisdictions but usually involve an overall set of ‘rules of engagement/ behaviour’ which all players abide by to varying degrees. Opportunities for public information and engagement are integral components of a public policy development process. Public policy initiatives can originate with an individual or group. Architecture and public policy share common objectives related to the individual and to society and the common good. Architecture and public policy are both design activities. This paper discusses reasons and opportunities for architects-citizens to become involved in public policy design recognizing that public policy can, in turn, affect architecture.
|Keywords:||Architecture, Public Policy, Architecture and Public Policy, Public Policy and Architecture|
Professor and Assistant Chair, Student Affairs, Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada