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The coronavirus crisis calls for a new moral and aesthetic code for architecture


‘Moral’ is a slippery word. What does it mean in this context? Does it mean ‘do the right thing?’ And who says what the right thing is, particularly as regards addressing the ‘social divide’ that Jonas Lencer refers to (then omits to mention again)? A ‘moral code’ is a collective responsibility, something that only has meaning if we all buy into it. If you have any doubt, consider how difficult it’s been for the medical profession to ration the use of ventilators – even with the Hippocratic Oath which includes: ‘above all, I must not play at God’ and, also, “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings”. If we’re going to address the social divides - like health inequalities - that the pandemic has laid bare then let’s, as a profession, commit to two things: • a set of social design principles: that build on the potential for mutual support and community cohesion that's being revealed; that have at their root a collaborative way of working that responds to people’s needs and wishes; that commit to valuing and bringing value to communities • and to redefine the social role of the profession, through the education and training of all built environment practitioners So what’s my moral takeaway from coronavirus? That we need to find a new balance between purpose, theory and practice.

Posted date

14 April, 2020

Posted time

2:05 pm