World Architecture Day 2021: Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-Free World

Celebrated on the first Monday of every October, World Architecture Day was set up back in 2005 to “remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat”.

Celebrated on the first Monday of every October, World Architecture Day was set up by the Union International des Architects (UIA) back in 2005 to “remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat”, coinciding with UN-Habitat's World Habitat Day.

This year both organizations have defined themes related to improving the quality of life and reducing the effects of the climate crisis by taking action in the built environment. While the International Union of Architects' 2021 World Architecture Day theme is "Clean Environment for a Healthy World", UN-Habitat's World Habitat Day has announced "Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-Free World" as their topic.

To mark this occasion, ArchDaily's team has picked a series of articles that seize the main conversations, challenges, and trends that are shaping the built environment around the world this 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from being over. Yes, things are finally improving, but the promised immediate revolutions as a consequence of the pandemic aren't here yet—regardless of how appealing is to declaim that everything will change. However, we keep looking to the future and foreseeing potential changes the pandemic might detonate. As illustrated by ArchDaily editor Andreea Cutieru, "these articles reflect a recent shift in perspective that was triggered on the pandemic year, whether it is about how we work, where we choose to live, how we think about tourism now, or the pace of automation."

Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-Free World

The theme for 2021's UN-Habitat World Habitat Day recognizes that "cities are responsible for some 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions with transport, buildings, energy, and waste management accounting for the bulk of urban greenhouse gas emissions." Even though most governments, organizations, and communities agree on ambitious, global, collaborative actions must be unfolded in order to lessen the climate crisis, the content of those actions —and who should take action— isn't that clear. Architects and designers have embraced this challenge by pondering their roles and exploring their own practical approaches.

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