2030 Curriculum Project – Second Call for Proposals

The 2030 Curriculum Project has got off to a great start – the courses selected to participate in our pilot program were recently called the “The 7 Best Sustainable Design Courses in America” by Metropolis magazine.

Architecture 2030 is now seeking additional faculty and schools to participate in the 2030 Curriculum Project. If you have an innovative teaching proposal for winter, spring, or summer session in 2017, we encourage you to apply by January 3, 2017.


How we design buildings and cities today will determine if the effects of climate change will be manageable or catastrophic.

To best prepare future architects and urban planners, sustainability must immediately become an essential issue of all design activity, evaluation, and dialog at professional architecture and planning schools.

In recent years, the most dramatic improvements in sustainable design education have been a result of the creative and resourceful efforts of individual faculty and department leadership. Yet significant gaps still remain, especially between schools and across topic areas.

A Call for Teaching Proposals in the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Architecture 2030 is calling upon educators to submit innovative teaching proposals that expand and fully integrate lessons in energy use, emissions, and resiliency into the widest possible range of projects and topic areas, and across all year levels – particularly in early design studios, history courses, and areas where this material is not adequately or traditionally addressed.

Teaching proposals selected for the 2030 Curriculum Project will serve as instructional models that can be shared and implemented widely. Participating educators will have the opportunity to transform the culture of sustainable design education not only within their own schools, but in architecture and planning programs nationwide.

Architecture 2030 will support selected teaching and curricular proposals with:

  • Expert review and feedback
  • Access to the latest design and analysis software and tutorials
  • Connections to local and regional expert practitioners
  • Continued development of sustainable design resources like the 2030 Palette

Successful learning concepts and outcomes will be promoted and widely shared through:

  • Partner media and organizations
  • Peer-reviewed journals and/or academic conferences
  • A database to share course resources and outcomes with other faculty and programs
  • Opportunities to publish new content to the 2030 Palette

The 2016-2017 academic year will be the pilot phase of the 2030 Curriculum Project. All faculty and program administrators at all US architecture and planning schools are encouraged to submit course and/or curricular proposals. The deadline for submittals is now January 3, 2017

Update: application is now closed

Questions about the 2030 Curriculum Project?
Email curriculum@architecture2030.org or call Anthony Guida, Program Manager at (505) 988-5309 x19


Photo by mroczknj, Flickr

Trump/AIA. . . A Sleeping Giant Awakens

The election of Donald Trump, and a hastily composed (and later retracted) post-election statement by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has galvanized the U.S. design community. After much soul-searching prompted by anxiety and anger, architects and our allied design and planning professionals have articulated a vibrant vision for themselves and their profession.

Design professionals, faculty, students, AIA chapters and other organizations have made it clear that we care deeply about climate change and its consequences, and we understand that there is an urgent need to build a just, equitable, and sustainable built environment worldwide. Many are anxious about what the recent election means for the future, but there’s also an increased awareness that we, as individuals and as a profession, are a formidable force for implementing change.

Now is the time to act. We plan, design, specify, and influence the built world. We can be complicit in further environmental disruption that leads to human suffering, or we can resolve to create a built environment that mitigates and even reverses the worst effects of climate change.

To that end, Architecture 2030 calls for the following actions:

Professional Organizations (e.g., American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, ASHRAE, Urban Land Institute, Congress for the New Urbanism, US Green Building Council, etc.):

  • Promote carbon neutral design and planning to fulfill the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Advocate for institutions and governments at all levels to do the same.
  • End the distinction between “design” awards and “sustainable design” awards. All design and planning awards must include environmental and social stewardship as a core criterion, including an evaluation of how projects effectively and skillfully address energy consumption and emissions and promote resiliency, as well as aesthetics and other programmatic concerns.
  • Promote sustainable and resilient communities, including access to affordable housing, local renewable energy (e.g. community solar), public transportation, and community services.

Accrediting and Registration Boards, and Academic Organizations  (e.g. National Architectural Accrediting Board, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, etc.):

  • Establish ecological literacy and competency in carbon neutral design as part of all core design studio courses, and as a prerequisite for professional licensure and accreditation of professional degree programs.
  • Establish continuing education in carbon neutral design, tools, products, and climate adaptation and resiliency, as a requirement for intern development and professional license renewal.
  • Promote design and planning work and scholarship that advances a deep understanding of the relationship between built and natural environments.
  • Support exceptional instruction and student work that demonstrates theoretical and practical competence in designing and planning resilient, sustainable, equitable, and carbon-neutral built environments.

Students and Faculty:

  • Students:
    • Demand a design and planning education that prepares students intellectually and practically for the future of a carbon-neutral built environment and the challenges posed by rapid urbanization and projected climate disruption.
    • Be creative, informed, and inclusive. Solving climate change through the built environment is about visionary planning and design, active engagement in social issues, and a working understanding of policy and building technologies.
  • Faculty:
    • Inspire and prepare the next generation of designers and planners through innovative coursework that integrate lessons in energy, emissions, resiliency, embodied carbon, and climate adaptation in all courses, and specifically in design studio projects.
    • Teach the values and strategies that contribute to the creation of urban built environments that are sustainable, just, and equitable. Over the next 15 years, 1.1 billion people will move into urban areas worldwide, which is the equivalent of the entire population of the Western Hemisphere (North, Central, and South America).

Firms and Practitioners:

  • Commit to carbon-neutral design and planning in all projects, and report progress toward that goal.
  • Commit to reducing the embodied carbon of projects through planning, design, construction methods, and product specifications. This is especially important as we move towards a zero carbon built environment.
  • Design for the challenges posed by the projected impacts of climate change and rapid urbanization.


  • Use your voice. Insist that your institutions represent your values. We must harness the renewed sense of purpose we’ve seen over the last few weeks, and use our voice not just in our internal debates, but also to advocate for action on a broader level.
  • Participate in local, state and national politics. The core values of the design community are expressed through actions.

Recent events have awakened a sleeping giant.  Now is the time to channel this newfound energy and work toward a carbon-free future, one that leverages the transformative power of design and planning to create a better world.

– Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

Illustration from
Tales from The Edda, by Helen Zimmern and Kate Greenway (W. Swan Sonnenschein, London, 1882. Public domain.) Adapted by Demetra Mazria.

Life During Trump: Progress on Climate Change Will Come From the Bottom Up


“We are facing two very different and defining moments in history, the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement and the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Should the U.S. government fail to honor or withdraw from the Paris Agreement, this will be completely inconsistent with our core values and professional and civic responsibilities. 

The U.S. and global architecture and planning community, along with our colleagues in the building sector and sub-national governments, will continue to lead the effort to implement the objectives contained in the Paris Agreement and drive progress toward an equitable, sustainable, resilient, and carbon-neutral built environment.” 

          Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030


Dear colleagues and friends,

As many are left feeling fearful and uncertain in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is important to remember that we have been, and continue to be, far from powerless to continue to effect meaningful change. After the 2012 elections, when Congressional gridlock set in, it became evident that change in the built environment would not happen from the top down. It had to happen from the bottom up.

With the election results last week, this has not changed. Our work is now more important than ever. For some time now, real and measurable progress has been made at the state and local levels, and in the private sector where building design and planning, innovation, equity, policy, business, and climate change intersect. This broad base of momentum is firmly established and will continue to accelerate, regardless of last week’s election.

Worldwide, 533 cities are now reporting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 70% increase in reporting since the Paris Agreement. To date, 30% of these cities have GHG emissions reduction targets. In North America, 56% of the cities reporting have GHG emissions reduction targets, many declaring zero emissions or an 80% reduction by 2050 or earlier.

The International Union of Architects with member organizations representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries worldwide has unanimously adopted the 2050 Imperative, a declaration to eliminate CO2 emissions in the built environment by 2050. Individual architecture, engineering, and planning firms continue to make a commitment to design to carbon neutral standards by 2030, including top international and Chinese architecture and planning firms that have signed the China Accord and are now working to implement it. Over 350 firms have joined the AIA 2030 Commitment.

Ten Green Building Councils worldwide – Canada, Germany, United States, China, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands and Sweden – are now creating zero net carbon building certification pathways. The 2030 Districts Network continues to grow throughout North America, and is poised to go international.

As important, the market has spoken. At the utility scale, flattening electricity demand (due to building efficiency gains) in the U.S. will make the need for new fossil fuel fired power plants unlikely. Photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy production is cheaper and more feasible than ever. Residential and community solar installations and financing mechanisms are increasing dramatically, providing affordable energy and access to homeowners and renters at all income levels.  There are now 300,000 solar jobs in the U.S., a number that has doubled in the last 12 months.

The emergence of new PV products and battery storage is likely to transform the housing market, while LED lighting has already had a huge impact in lowering energy consumption and emissions in the commercial building sector. Wind energy is growing rapidly and is another bright spot in our economy with wind jobs increasing 20% in 2015. We are seeing a similar growth in efficient equipment, appliances, and products, which gives us competitiveness in international markets. U.S. manufacturers of building products throughout the world are reducing their carbon footprint, and have committed to achieving, or are already meeting, the goal of zero carbon.

The potential to implement change and accelerate progress firmly rests with architects, planners, and our colleagues in the building and renewable energy sectors and local governments; that’s as true today as it was before the election.

As Margaret Mead famously stated, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Our ‘small group’ of thoughtful citizens and professionals grows daily, as does our power to achieve our goals.

Now is the time to harness this power and redouble our efforts from the bottom up.

— Architecture 2030

This article also appears on Common Edge.
Image designed by Demetra Mazria.

China: Towards a Zero Carbon Built Environment

n late October, an historic two-day forum and workshop event was held in Wuhan, China. Organized by the China Exploration & Design Association Architecture Branch (CEDAAB) and Architecture 2030, this event established Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) as a necessary and achievable goal for buildings and developments.