Enabling sustainable ways of life through a humanistic approach to design is central to Lucy Millichamp’s aspiration in becoming an architect
Building on the principles of ‘leaving no one behind’, ending poverty and tackling climate change, the UN calls for urgent action by all countries to implement 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 11, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, outlines holistic and universal targets to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Migration and climate change are causing new social conditions to emerge. By 2050, it is predicted that 68% of the world’s population will be living in cities. This global issue proposes challenges to urban environments which need to be addressed through architecture research. I believe architectural practice and the design process need to be transformed in order to find solutions to these worsening issues.
There is minimal access to green and open public spaces in our cities. This is a challenge specifically for women and children. Through my MSc in Architecture at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, I will develop projects that propose new ways of designing sustainable neighbourhoods. I hope to establish an inclusive strategy and framework which can be replicated and implemented during the design process of future projects, beyond the MSc programme.
Architecture and urbanism are often capital-centric and investment-dominated. I think there is more that can be done to understand what people need, beyond the usual basic consultation practices. Through public engagement, interaction and co-design workshops, I will participate and collaborate with local communities, with a focus on young girls and others whose voices are often overlooked.
Not only is the built environment of crucial importance for people’s health and quality of life, it has the potential to drive societal outcomes. I intend to prove that a more inclusive approach to design will lead to cities becoming safer, and that this will lead to communities feeling a sense of identity and ownership over their streets, parks and public spaces.
I will be learning in and from a city which has a general political commitment to social equality, environmentalism and a humanistic approach to making the world a more equal place. At KTH, this is done through creating an open atmosphere which breaks down traditional barriers between academic disciplines. KTH offers 61 MSc programmes, all with a focus on innovation. I will collaborate across disciplines, to gain the knowledge and tools for moving society in a more sustainable direction.