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What Architects Can Do for Peace and Development

Wednesday, 11 October 1989 00:00
Proceedings from the Prague International Assembly of Architects, Planners and Designers 1989

Proceedings from the Prague International Assembly of Architects, Planners and Designers 1989

Proceedings from the Prague International Assembly of Architects, Planners and Designers  for Professional Actions Against Ecological Disaster, Homelessness and the Armament Race : Prague, 7-10 Novembre 1989.

Introduction

The Prague International Assembly of Architects, Planners and Designers for professional actions against ecological disaster, homelessness and the armament race can probably be viewed as the most important attempt so far to link the vital questions of our professions to the global risk for nuclear war and other actions of mass annihilation.

An important aim of the conference was to analyse the connection between disarmament and development; for instance, how armament expenditures block social and physical investments and thus hamper democratic development.

Base on careful planning and support by a group of international experts, the assembly took place 7-10 November 1989.

The number of participants- more than 300 persons from more than 40 countries - indicated that the subjects were of great interest and that many colleagues came prepared to develop a professional role that includes basic social responsibilities.

Lectures and debate fulfilled the aims of the conference. Serious and factual attitudes dominated the discussions. Many constructive proposals were made in workshops, as well as in the form of exhibitions and posters.

During the Assembly several events of great importance took place.Th Berlin wall was opened while dramatic political changes were brewing in several other countries. The conference itself was marked by a vehement controversy between those who defended the existing system in Eastern Europe and delegates asking for freedom of speech and assembly.

Since the conference Czechoslovakia has undergone a dramatic political transformation which has brought a prominent dissident and cultural personality to the post of president. The winds of change also resulted in the disappearance of one of the organisers of the Assembly: the CSSR Union of Architects. 

The complicated professional issues of he Assembly did not, however, lose their relevance because oft he political changes in Eastern Europe, neither at the global nor at the European level. Even if the previous contradictions between the power blocs are now weakened, the remaining military capacities still constitute serious threats to peace. Ecological and housing crises also remain acute threats to mankind.

It is important to note, however, that most people today admit that the issues constitute serious problems and that international cooperation is needed in order to solve them. 

In this publication we present the results of the Prague Assembly in the hope that colleagues all over the globe will view the new political situation as a great potential for professional action in accordance with the aims of the Assembly: a peaceful world where limited resources can be used for constructive development, for eliminating ecological threats and for sheltering the homeless, instead of wasting the resources on arms.

The Secretariat of IADPPNW has carried full responsibility for compiling documents from the Assembly and for editing this report. A special grant from the so-called peace lottery of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs covered the printing costs. Resources have not allowed a full documentation of the Assembly. All main papers and key contributions to the workshops are included, however, as well as summarised reports, based on the notes of the secretaries.

We expect this publication to act as a stimulus to professional discussion within the International Union of Architects, its members organisations, and all other groups of architects, planners and designers interested in social responsibility within their professions.

Sven Thiberg

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Additional Info

  • Location: Prague
  • Author: Sven Thiberg; Svaz architektů ČSSR; International Architects, Designers, Planners for the Prevention of Nuclear War
  • Number of Pages: 67
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