"If we are going to build cities, then we need to invest," says Michelle Obama



Former first lady of the United states Michelle Obama urged architects to consider working on more community projects in the poorest urban neighborhoods during her speech at the 2017 AIA conference this week.

In her first public appearance since leaving the White House, Obama called on US architects to focus their efforts on work that will benefit those in low-income urban neighborhoods in addition to financially profitable commissions.

"Yes, there are projects going downtown - this important building, this important park - but there are also the community centers, the parks and the facilities in the district, the houses, the opportunities that you need Make a neighborhood beautiful for a family or child It does not look like anyone, she said.

"So I urge you all to think about this, as you look at the next project you are taking."

She said that because limited funding for civic infrastructure and facilities is usually used to upgrade urban neighborhoods and downtown areas, residents in peripheral regions have had "run-down" schools and spaces Feel like "another planet".

"When you lack resources, who is the last to get resources? Children outside the circle," Obama said.

After working in the planning and development department of the City of Chicago, the former First Lady and a qualified lawyer stated that more consideration should be given to the costs of conserving urban spaces.

"Cities are a complex, large and disorderly enterprise, and they are expensive," she said.

"To have a city with millions of people - with dense populations, great architecture, economic development, business development - and when you think about what it takes to run a city - infrastructure, repairs Pot-hole, road safety, you name it ... it's expensive. It takes an investment. "

"If we are going to have cities, then we have to invest," she said. "Which means you have to pay taxes, and we need to know that it requires money.

During her speech, Obama also spoke about the presidential library as she and her husband Barack are being developed.

Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien were selected for the project in June and the Jackson Park neighborhood site in Chicago - near where the Obamas grew up - was announced a few weeks later.

"We spent a lot of time looking at structures and patterns," said the former first lady. "[Tod and Billie] were phenomenal ... They understood the South Side of Chicago because it is our hometown."

"This project means the world to me and knowing that we have architects who appreciate the whole project and not just what the building looks like - which is important, but it's a building that sits in a neighborhood, "She continued.

"So we were blessed to have architects who think of the big picture of what the buildings at the base of a community mean."

Obama's 45-minute discussion with President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Tom Vonier, also addressed race and gender equality in architecture, life after the White House, Being a working mother and her reluctance to come to the office - as she believes She can go further from a political point of view.

The 2017 AIA National Convention will be held April 27-29 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Obama was announced as part of the training following a protest against the lack of speakers for the event. Other opening notes on the first day of the conference included architects Alejandro Aravena, Diébédo Francis Kéré and Elizabeth Diller.