• 27 Jan 2020

The RIAI calls on the next Government to address social challenges through the delivery of a better built environment

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) published its manifesto for the next Government. The Building Ambition & Delivering Excellence in our Built Environment document sets out the RIAI’s recommendations for how policy makers can address societal issues through the design, delivery and management of the built environment, under four important pillars. 

  1. Climate Change
  2. Housing 
  3. Quality in our Built Environment
  4. Balanced Regional Development 

Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, said: “The next Government has an opportunity to address the short, medium and long-term climate, economic and social challenges facing Ireland through the support and promotion of a quality built environment. Architects can take a leading role in tackling climate change in the built environment and in mitigating environmental damage through large-scale master planning of projects. Innovation in housing design and development is essential to meet the needs of our changing demographics, particularly decreasing household size and an ageing population.” 

Amongst the recommendations outlined by the Institute are: 

  • mechanisms to support the increased delivery of high quality, energy efficient and well-designed new homes, offices, public buildings and commercial developments, and encourage the deep retrofitting of existing buildings to reduce their carbon emissions and extend their lifecycle
  • meaningful incentives and penalties to promote balanced regional development supporting the sustainable growth of Ireland’s regional cities 
  • a commitment by the next Government to the delivery of a rolling programme of high quality social housing and a significant increase in not-for-profit housing. Vacant site tax and windfall land tax must be funnelled back into not-for-profit housing
  • Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies should be supported to deliver mixed tenure housing
  • the consolidation of urban areas as a quality of life issue, leading to less commuting, more walking and cycling, better local services and access
  • Government must make the delivery of apartments and sustainable density both affordable and viable. It is important to understand costs from land acquisition, finance, planning, statutory approvals, to construction.

Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, concluded: “It is critical for the sustainable growth of the country that a balanced, sustainable development model is pursued. The RIAI is concerned that the erosion of positions for architects within central and local Government is resulting in a diminishing of quality standards in our public realm. 

Enhanced State investment is required to resource local authorities with the appropriate skills to support quality development in every part of Ireland. To ensure that all future development is sustainable, meets the needs of our changing demographics and is the best use of public funds, the RIAI is calling for an investment in design resources and a commitment to a meaningful architectural presence in every local authority in Ireland.

The RIAI’s Election Manifesto 2020 can be read here.

About the RIAI: Founded in 1839, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. Follow us on Twitter @RIAIonline and Instagram riaionline.
For further information contact: Fiona O’Connor / Grace Cooney, Drury ǀ Porter Novelli
M: 087 694 9601 (FOC) / M: 086 153 6886 (GC) / T: 01 260 5000 
Dr Sandra O'Connell, RIAI Director of Architecture and Communications, T: 01 6691474