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The Spertus Institute, designed by the Chicago-based Krueck and Sexton Architects, one of the architecture firms that signed the open letter to Donald Trump (photo by John Zacherle/Flickr)

Just ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday, over 400 American architecture firms signed an open letter advising action on climate change. Organized by Architects Advocate, a Chicago-based, climate change-oriented coalition launched in September, the letter urges investments in renewable energy, subsidies for renewable energy technologies, and a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. They state:

By taking decisive action now we all can be remembered as historic and courageous actors who helped secure humanity’s future. We can turn our climate challenge into an unrivaled economic opportunity that creates desirable and healthy jobs in rural and urban communities alike.

They affirm that as architects “we are dedicated to creating healthy, productive, and safe communities for all” in a “way that is economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.” The signers include Snøhetta, Krueck and Sexton Architects, Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Thomas Roszak Architecture, Smith-Miller+Hawkinson Architects, Deborah Berke Partners, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Will Bruder Architects, Lake Flato, Handel Architects, Ross Barney Architects, and ZGF Architects LLP.

While it may be optimistic that Trump will read such a letter (see his disinterest in even intelligence briefings), it confirms that a large movement of the American architecture industry recognizes climate change and is concerned about the 45th president’s climate change denial. This is in contrast to the American Institute of Architects’ memo following the election that supported Trump without criticism. It also comes alongside a more local letter from New York City architecture and design organizations to Mayor Bill de Blasio arguing for the protection and expansion of public space for free expression. Considering Scott Pruitt, Trump’s selection for leader of the Environmental Protection Agency, has spoken against federal regulation of air and water pollution, vocal grassroots movements on climate change action remain essential.

Read the full “Open Letter to the President-Elect” on climate change at Architects Advocate.

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...