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Schröder calls for 'ecological change' at UIA congress

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Architecture and policy are good bedfellows, German chancellor Gerhard Schröder told delegates at the opening session of the International Union of Architects' (UIA) World Congress of Architecture in Berlin on Tuesday.

'Architecture and politics have the same tasks - not to misplan or misdesign people's lives, but to provide conditions so that individuals' plans and hopes can become reality, ' he said. 'Architecture determines lives no less than politics.'

He talked about globalisation, saying: 'It in no way means public uniformity. In public buildings, architects should reflect the culture of a building.'

This was true, for example of the new embassies that have been built in Berlin, he said, adding that 'good architecture raises living quality'.

Schröder went on to discuss the rise of urbanisation, the fact that by 2030 two thirds of the world's population will live in cities.He said: 'Whereas in the early stages of industrialisation, urban development was a technical problem solved by engineers and builders, the task today is much more complex. We need ecological change. It is not enough to develop infrastructure and design houses. The appearance of cities will be architects' responsibility. Cities with development possibilities will have a clear-cut image, and respond to local culture.'

The four-day congress' theme is 'resource architecture'. Schroder said: 'We want signals for environmentally conscious architecture from the congress.'

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