The Architecture of Resistance

Many have made the case for resisting the policies, programs and plans of the recently elected president of the the United States. [1] As those trained and morally obliged to envision and advocate for a just, peaceful and equitable world, architects can play a vital role in the resistance.

If we choose resistance, we will work in every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives to push back against racism, misogyny, xenophobia and plutocracy and to push forward an agenda of inclusiveness, fairness and peaceableness.  Architects understand our common cause with humanity and especially the possibilities that sustainable development offers for all the earth’s people’s. Architects have a unique understanding of cultural history and a vision for the future that can the lead the way if we will but act.

The architecture of resistance can take many forms.  It would surely include exerting our influence and expertise to end homelessness, hunger and unemployment.  When more than a half million people are homeless [2], and more than forty million live in food insecure homes[3], American architects can make a big difference by envisioning communities where everyone has a secure place to live and enough good quality food to eat.  Re-building a native knowledge of building crafts and gardening arts would surely improve the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors.

To resist the factions and forces that would divide us, we can choose to design for people and planet before profit.  We can work to design communities where all people have independent and sustainable mobility, access to a full life while protecting the planet.  We can do this by creating beautiful garden cities that capture and restore water, generate energy from sun, soil and the sky and are adapted to the scale of the pedestrian and bicyclist.

Just as the AIA has pledged to create Carbon Neutral buildings by 2030[4], we can also to create a carbon neutral landscape.  This will require us to push back against big infrastructure projects that are being promoted by our president elect and by others in congress that only ingratiate the rich, and make cities poorer and less sustainable. [5]  Instead the Federal Government should provide block grants for green infrastructure projects that promise that make our cities and neighborhoods more walkable, bicycle friendly, and food secure by incorporating urban gardens and markets.

The architecture of resistance will work to establish a democratic process for creating community wide master plans and improving ecological design literacy of all of our citizens.  This will provide the seed bank of ideas and knowledge to overcome the momentum of transportation funding being spent by elected officials as a way of rewarding their corporate and capital cronies.

The architecture of resistance will come down to every architect taking responsibility for the place they live and taking the time to speak up for what is right.  It will require us to once again think about our work as a vocation, literally, a calling.  We are called by the Creator, the Creation, the earth, or however you think about the Universe, to do our part to, to make it better, as stewards, guardians, and in the age of Trump, the resistance.


[1] The Right Way to Resist Trump  By LUIGI ZINGALES NOV. 18, 2016  New York Times ,  5 Ways People Are Resisting President-Elect Trump – Rolling Stone  Nov 18, 2016.

[2] National Alliance to End Homelessness