Statement on AIA’s Advocacy Agenda Development Process to Ensure AIA’s Long-term Public Leadership
AIA believes clarity and transparency are essential tools for the long-term success of AIA in Public Leadership. Very importantly, we want you to know how and why we engage on certain policy issues and decline to formally engage on others. Regardless of the issue, the AIA encourages its members to become individual activists on issues of critical import to members or the profession that fall outside of AIA’s organizational scope.
To that end, the members of AIA’s Government Advocacy Committee (GAC)—an AIA Board-level committee charged with advising AIA on global, federal, state, and local policy advocacy and engagement – want to ensure that AIA’s broader membership clearly understands how AIA’s advocacy initiatives, agenda, and priorities are developed, implemented, and communicated.
GAC committee members are appointed by AIA’s incoming president to serve a one-year term, and may serve up to three consecutive terms. GAC members typically serve on other member groups, including Knowledge Communities, the Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE), the Strategic Council, and/or the Board of Directors.
Broadly, AIA’s advocacy supports the overarching goals as articulated in AIA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan at the direction of the Board – to advance the twin goals of climate action for human and ecological health, and the advancement of racial, ethnic and gender equity in the built environment. We understand the Board is committed to discerning which issues warrant their attention through the lenses of alignment (Is this within the realm of the Strategic Plan?), impact (Should we and can we make a difference?) and timeliness (Is this the best use of our resources right now?). Within the lens of impact, we feel the decision of advocacy for a particular policy means that policy must meet at least two of three criteria:
- Are architects, design professionals/the profession impacted by this policy?
- Is architecture part of the problem and/or the solution?
- Do architects have a unique perspective to bring to this policy issue?
Using this framework, GAC led the development of the 2020 Architects Platform, which was approved by the Board, shared with AIA members, state legislators, presidential campaigns, and members of Congress. This framework also guided AIA’s recent statements on West Virginia v. EPA and school safety.
We know, first-hand, that architects and design professionals are astute, passionate, and highly individualistic thinkers. We understand that our membership spans the political spectrum. All of which are assets as we develop and implement an advocacy agenda through collaboration to create as broad a consensus as possible, on areas of focus. We also know that our decisions will not always be met with universal approval or agreement. We do not expect unanimity across every policy issue. AIA’s goal is to advance policies that align with the Strategic Plan and Architects Platform. These documents, the AIA Public Policy and Position Statements, and the Where We Stand Statements guide our ongoing advocacy efforts.
AIA members may feel passionate about issues not included in the 2020 Architects Platform or Where We Stand Statements. When these issues arise, the AIA and its member-driven committees, such as the GAC, carefully consider whether the issue is related to its existing platform or if AIA should expand its policy agenda. In the instances where there is not a clear role for AIA to issue a position statement, we nonetheless encourage AIA members to get involved as individuals and activists to support those causes. AIA encourages you to directly engage with your organization of choice on issues outside of AIA’s areas of focus. We continue to encourage AIA members to use their individual agency, by communicating directly with your elected officials to voice concerns on issues separate and apart from AIA’s stated focus.
On policy issues that are within AIA’s scope, we urge AIA members to lend their voice and perspective to our collective efforts, which makes all of us stronger. Your voice helps us to advance the message that architects are indispensable change agents, focused on advancing climate-conscious and equitable built environment policies, at all levels of government.
Looking ahead, in 2024, GAC will undergo another extensive vetting process to issue an updated Policy Platform, once again calling on reviewers from Knowledge Communities, CACE, and AIA staff. We urge interested AIA members to heed the call for volunteers to join the Knowledge Communities and other AIA member groups that shape these policy discussions. Finally, AIA will remain focused on advancing its strategic priorities guided by the three-point framework, Board leadership, member feedback, and accepted best-practices for issue advocacy and communications to ensure AIA’s long-term effectiveness as an industry leader.
AIA will continue to regularly report back on our shared advocacy initiatives and important progress on AIA’s advocacy agenda and priorities.
Some helpful websites for your review and engagement:
Finding Your U.S. (federal) Representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative#:~:text=If%20you%20know%20who%20your,the%20U.S.%20House%20switchboard%20operator
Finding Your U.S. Senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
Contacting the White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Contacting State Reps: https://www.congress.gov/state-legislature-websites
2022 Government Advocacy Committee (GAC)