This is a very different time… Climate change, automation, genetics, digital disruption, the internet of things, globalisation, urbanisation, human displacement on the one hand, and the quest for sustainability and for political and social systems that make such sustainability possible on the other, will be the engine of change…
As we now possess more knowledge than at any other time, the question is whether we have the imaginative capacity and moral fortitude to seek to apply our learning to create a better, if not utopian, future.’
Julianne Schultz, Imagining the Future
The School of Architecture and Built Environment is a centre of learning and research — a centre in which architecture and construction management thrive not only as professional disciplines, but as forces for change in support of environmental sustainability, respect for first peoples, social justice, gender equity and independence of thought.
As a matter of philosophy and practice, SABE’s mission goes beyond preparing students for admission to degrees (in the case of education) or scholarly publishing designed to attract high citation numbers (in the case of research).
In terms of education, the greater ambition is developmental: first, in regard to the critical faculties upon which independent thinking and the analysis of complex matters depend; and second, in respect of the sense of positive agency that sustains the effective pursuit of professional and creative aspirations.
In the case of research, the mission is one of beneficial exploration: the bringing to light of knowledge or know-how that raise consciousness and understanding of questions and issues affecting our human existence and our relationship with the environment, in a challenged world of finite resources.
SABE’s vision proceeds from a view of the world in which we humans, along with the planet that houses us, cannot proceed on the basis of systems that are failing it – and doing so at an accelerating rate. We, all of us, must find better ways of existing in balance with our ecosystem. If we do not, the risks we face will become existential ones.
Through the lens of the disciplines and professions under its organisational umbrella, SABE is concerned with instilling deep competence among its cohorts, but most of all it prizes the development of the intellectual capacity for close examination of underlying structures, along with a sense of individual agency sufficient to motivate the pursuit of beneficial change: in professions, in systems and in the products of the School’s education and research efforts.
The School’s values are deeply connected to each other, often to the point of interdependency: climate change, social justice, indigeneity, equity, diversity and agency, first as individuals and then as group, speak to the single ecosystem the collective strives to bring about. They also happen to be cohesive and urgent responses to the greater challenges of our time. SABE has fought hard to achieve some of them, and it is determined to keep and uphold them. These values will be SABE’s conscience too, the measuring stick by which progress will be judged over the years ahead — how well the collective will have had them permeate its teaching, inspire its research and influence those who have stayed in its midst: students of all ages and levels, staff, partners, visitors even.
SABE’s Way, 2021-2025 | Benoit Trudeau 2020
School of Architecture and Built Environment SABE
College of Engineering, Science and Environment | University of Newcastle