The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is calling on all UK members to engage with their local candidates in a national effort to influence policy making in preparation for the impending general election.
An unprecedented number of MPs will be standing down at the next general election leaving the way clear for a new generation of politicians. With 650 seats to be filled, RIBA members across the country have an important part to play demonstrating the importance of architecture and the built environment to parliamentary candidates in both local and national policy.
The RIBA has created a dedicated website section outlining how members can engage with their local politicians - www.architecture.com/manifesto
Ruth Reed, RIBA President, said:
'Architecture covers so many political policy areas – whether it is the provision of new schools or hospitals; meeting the carbon challenge; building new homes for those that need them or creating a more effective planning system. Architecture is something politicians see around them and it is something they usually have an opinion about – we believe our members can work with us to stimulate election candidates' interest in the issues.'
'Since launching our manifesto at the party conferences, the RIBA has already made some progress (e.g. our call for smart meters in all buildings, support for design review panels) but there remain lots of challenges for the future Government.'
'The RIBA is doing all it can to influence decision makers and opinion formers in Westminster and Whitehall in order to effect policy change and ensure their manifestos include our messages. By members joining forces throughout the country to lobby their local politicians we can collectively show that by implementing our simple manifesto asks we can improve the built environment for the better.
www.architecture.com/manifesto includes a number of ways members can engage with parliamentary candidates:
Meet them: either by inviting the politician to a group meeting or by attending a constituent surgery meeting.
Discuss the RIBA Manifesto themes and get candidates on board and signed-up for manifesto pledges.
Hold a hustings event - involve candidates from the three (or more) parties to debate local and national issues.
Arrange visits to a public building, public space or new housing developments to give local politicians a real insight into the process of procuring, planning and designing a building.
The RIBA Manifesto: Buildings Matter which forms the core of the RIBA's election calls will be given to all prospective parliamentary candidates across the UK.
The manifesto contains three simple themes:
Greening our buildings
4 million homes to be retrofitted within the lifetime of the next Parliament.
The introduction of smart energy meters in every building and the publication of carbon bills by energy companies.
Better schools, hospitals and homes
Minimum design standards should be introduced for all public buildings including post-occupancy evaluation.
The same minimum space, design and environmental standards should apply to all new homes, whether they are privately or publicly funded.
A stronger planning system
More support was requested for Local Authorities to encourage good design including design review panels, better design advice and sharing planning services.
The full manifesto can be downloaded from www.architecture.com/manifesto
For more advice on engaging local MP's, contact the RIBA Public Affairs team on email@example.com or 0207 580 5533.