May 29, 2020

In the “State Nation’s Housing” report of 2018, the study shows that “nearly half of renter households and a quarter of owner households are cost burdened”. Part is due to a speculation on costs where architects play a central role. On canon II of the AIA code of ethics and professional conduct, the architect has an obligations to the public: “Members should embrace the spirit and letter of the law governing their professional affairs and should promote and serve the public interest in their personal and professional activities.” In the definition of the NCARB mission: “NCARB, in collaboration with licensing boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.” and to follow:

  • The Rules should have as their objective the protection of the public and not the advancement of the interests of the profession of architecture.
  •  The architect should not be burdened unfairly with rules and expectations that are unreasonable. The public, however, expects to find an architect in a leadership position on a construction project to protect its interests. Consequently, while the architect is primarily enjoined to serve a client’s best interests, the architect also has a supervening duty to the public.

In a document published by the California Department of Public Health, “Healthy communities data and indicators project”, provides a description of affordable quality housing: “Affordable, quality housing is central to health, conferring protection from the environment and supporting family life. Substandard housing is associated with increased risks of injury and respiratory ailments.  Homes can be a source of exposure to radon, lead, asbestos or other hazardous agents.  In children, lead exposure increases the risk of neurological impairment and developmental delays. Chronic homelessness is associated with higher rates of injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance addictions, mental disorders and death.  Children and adolescents with transient housing have impaired academic performance. Housing costs—typically the largest, single expense in a family’s budget—also impact decisions that affect health. As housing consumes larger proportions of household income, families have less income for nutrition, health care, transportation, education, etc. Severe cost burdens may induce poverty—which is associated with developmental and behavioral problems in children and accelerated cognitive and physical decline in adults. Low-income families and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the lack of affordable, quality housing.

There is a social responsibility of the architect. While LEED labels aspire to provide the recognition of the architect in favor of the environment, the SAB Center wants to trademark a label acknowledging the efforts of the architects to integrate in their designs the consequences of construction costs. To define this label, the SAB Center will define the ideal housing accordingly to John R. Commons methods and using the “dwelling cards” and the “occupants cards”, we will design a method to value the application of ISO 26000 in architectural projects. This method will define an ideal, valued 100 points and rate the projects, their architects and their developers accordingly.

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