The following statement was issued by the Nordic architects’ associations at their annual meeting in Oslo on the 10th of October 2014:
A country’s architectural culture is no stronger than the engagement of the citizens within it. This starts with the invitation, to children and young adults, to learn about architecture and form their own opinion about their surroundings.
We need engaged citizens in order to create a sustainable and livable future in our built environment. The Nordic countries share a long tradition of using the public school system to educate children to be involved in the shaping of our society. This is achieved by developing an understanding of architecture as the physical framework around which our society is formed.
In the Icelandic National Architecture Policy, issued in 2007, it was highlighted that the most effective method of increasing general interest in design quality is by providing insights into the nature and potentials of architecture. To do so, it is necessary to make the general discussion on planning, architecture and design easily understandable for the public. Consequently, it is recommended that education in design and architecture should be an effective part of the curriculum at all school-levels (kindergarten, elementary schools and high schools) and that diverse educational material should be available for different age groups of pupils. However, the intentions have not been implemented as deserved, and the Nordic architects’ associations would like to encourage the present government to embrace the idea as its own in order to strengthen the future of the Icelandic architectural culture through better education.
In Denmark, the National Architecture Policy (launched in February 2014) strongly emphasizes the importance of including children and young adults as resources when our society needs to be developed.
Similar developments are seen in the other Nordic countries and therefore, the Nordic architects’ associations wholeheartedly support these views and will strongly encourage the words to be followed by clear actions.