At last June's AIA/ACSA Cranbrook Teachers' Academy (and by the way, if you want to see social class on the ground, there's no better hour than the trip from the Detroit airport to Bloomfield Hills and Cranbrook...), we spent a fair bit of time looking at whether architecture had an ethical basis. Once I got home, I looked at the AIA code of professional conduct, which is mostly about not cheating your clients and horning in on other architects' turf. But I also came across the Declaration of Geneva, which is an internationally used statement of ethical principles in medicine. I've made appropriate modifications in content but not in spirit, and have called it the Declaration of Boston. Here it is:
AT THE TIME OF BEING ADMITTED AS A MEMBER OF THE DESIGN PROFESSIONS,
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to consecrate my life:
to the service of social justice;
to the stewardship of the environment;
to the protection of public health and safety;
to the promotion of aesthetic delight; and
to my clients’ organizational effectiveness.
I WILL PRACTICE my profession with conscience and dignity.
I WILL GIVE to my colleagues the respect and gratitude that is their due.
I WILL HOLD the welfare of the community as my first consideration.
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after my client has died.
I WILL MAINTAIN by all the means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the design professions.
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to preclude me from carrying out my responsibilities.
I WILL NOT USE my knowledge to violate human rights, civil liberties, or community well-being, even under threat.
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honor.
So -- who's ready to sign? And if you're not, what are your reservations about it?