2021 International Conference: 27th World Congress of Architects

Participation is a Right

International Proceedings

Author(s): Graeme Bristol

The Vancouver Declaration arising out of the first UN-Habitat conference stated that ‘participation is a right’. What is meant by that statement? How has that term evolved in the legal context governing the built environment? It means more than simply the act of voting for a representative government. There is evidence that the architectural profession has yet to recognize this right. The process of public hearings for development projects is seen as a manipulative process geared towards insuring public approval of a project. However, examples abound of the failure of the development process in the conflict between developers of property and the citizens who must live with that development. While there are now many legal requirements for participation, these conflicts continue to grow in cities around the world. Architects are often caught in the middle of these conflicts. This paper argues for the embrace of the right of participation by the profession.

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