As architects, we understand ourselves as custodians of the built and natural environments. At a Congress discussing climate change, natural disasters, megacities, affordable housing, sustainability, and resilience, we want to give the floor to another stark reality of our human civilization: war, and along with it, displacement.
Our session aims to raise awareness for the ’under scrutinized’ consequences of armed conflicts and ethnic cleansing. Apart from the fact that people are killed, have to flee from their homes and countries, or are displaced, with the physical and psychological consequences for individuals and entire societies, buildings, infrastructure, and oftentimes entire cities and regions are destroyed. Wars cause environmental catastrophes, water and energy shortages, mass starvation. They leave areas contaminated with chemicals and ammunition for ages.
Although entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflicts, women and girls are the most vulnerable and particularly affected because of their gender and often relegated status in society. They are victims of all forms of violence, such as sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, unwanted pregnancy, forced sterilization, and kidnapping, not to mention the mental, psychological, and physical anguish they have to endure, leaving them scared and traumatized for generations.
Despite all UN resolutions, humanitarian efforts, and extensive multimedia coverage, war crimes and barbaric acts persist as if they were inherent privileges or entitlements given to the powerful, mighty, wealthy, and cruel aggressors whose goal is humiliation and the destruction of the identity and dignity of their victims.
As the number of wars and armed conflicts is alarmingly increasing, we will talk about the current situation and champion the collective efforts of architects as designers, city planners, organizers, researchers, government officials, teachers, and pro-active citizens to promote and create a just and equitable environment.
This session is linked to the Rebuilding Pavilion, which is sponsored by the philanthropic association Realdania.