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Vote for architecture - because no one else will do it on your behalf

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editorial

So you are going to vote, aren't you? If architects reflect the apathy that is predicted will grip the nation on 5 May, then it is quite possible that nearly half of those reading this would rather stay at home with the TV on than struggle to the voting booth. This, it has to be said, is a depressing statistic; it's not as if Robert Mugabe's 'war veterans' are hanging round every primary school threatening opposition voters with cattle prods.

But there is even more reason for architects to make an effort to mark their crosses than the rest of the UK's 60 million residents. The fact is that architecture is not exactly at the top of Tony, Michael or Charles' agendas, despite what the RIBA would have you believe. And the architectural community as a whole must take this into account.

If even architects don't look at the issues surrounding architecture and the election (see pages 8-9), then it seems fair to assume that no one else will. You shouldn't need telling twice that architecture has a hugely significant impact on the lives of every single person in the UK. But in 2005 it seems even more important.

The Thames Gateway, housing density, design codes, pathfinder demolition. These are all issues that could be at the front of everyone's minds on polling day. And yet they won't be.

Most of those who do bother to vote will do so because they are concerned about the economy or the NHS or the state of our schools. And who can blame them? For these too are important.

But the three main parties do have vaguely different policies on the subjects of architecture and planning and these are worth considering. There will, of course, be other issues that you will want to consider - your council might be about to close the local accident and emergency department, or shut down the nearest primary school.

But the point is that architecture is important. More important than many out there would believe. And if you don't at least give your chosen field a passing thought when you vote, no one will. And then we could all be sorry.

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