In all phases of our education, we have heard and realized the truth in the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Even as architects, we always progress in our design step-by-step, reviewing, changing, and improvising every time. Similarly, the architecture may not drastically change the world in a single moment, but has the power to influence the surroundings we live in, little by little every day. From changing the smallest element in design to shaping whole spaces, architects around the world have strived to find out the ideas of molding the society around us in different ways.

1. Designing for social causes

Looking at the harsh reality of the world, and horrible situations people face, architecture can be used to help improve the lives of underprivileged people, people facing social injustice, and people who lack basic comforts- food, shelter, and water. Rather than limiting the impact to mere charity, architecture can bring together communities and empower them to change their lives and the lives of future generations for the better. 

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2. Mitigating effects of global warming

The world is slowly becoming more and more uninhabitable as more years go by. Humans cannot give up their basic need for shelter, but this need can be used to reduce or negate the negative effects of the increasing human population. Green buildings are designed to consume fewer natural resources, and can even be designed to generate their energy to give back to society. 

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3. Impacting psychology

As opposed to our ancestors, who spent their lives working under the sun, almost 80% of humans now spend most of their time indoors- in houses, classrooms, offices, and other covered spaces. The role of architecture in human psychology is thus very large and important, it can stimulate our neurological systems by visual, auditory, and sensory stimuli. This means that if a built environment is designed properly, it can elevate peoples’ mood, promote optimistic thoughts, improve self-esteem, and boost confidence. 

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4. Cultural impact

In different parts of the world, different people are connected due to their socio-cultural beliefs and ideas. Architecture has proven to be an integral part of these cultures and can serve as a center for bringing these people together to celebrate, pray, and as a relic of their time on this earth. Religious people build temples, mosques, and churches to invite other people and promote their religion. 

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5. Promotes innovation

With the ever-growing population and increasing needs, architecture has to evolve to provide better solutions and improve pre-existing practices for the benefit of society. Architects are required to be more creative while designing their buildings which means that new technological innovations are needed to support them. In the past, the invention and mass production of concrete and steel after the industrial revolution was done for similar purposes.

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6. Promotes social interaction

As the years have gone by, humans have become more and more isolated from each other due to change in lifestyle. To fulfill the need felt by humans for social interaction, various forms of architecture like- entertainment centers, urban hubs, hotels, gardens, and plazas are designed. With the integration of appropriate visually pleasing elements, like decorations, plants, statues, and different colors, any space can be made more attractive to people. 

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7. Natural disasters

Natural disasters like floods, storms, earthquakes are the forces of nature that can render anyone helpless. Architecture can be used to help prevent and mitigate the effects of natural disasters. It plays an important role by providing short-term immediate relief structures in the areas struck by these disasters and more tolerant structures can be built in the future to prevent these effects. 

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8. Promote tourism

Any country’s economy is affected by the number of tourists who come to enjoy the culture of that country. Tourism in any country is largely influenced by different monuments, places, structures, and design styles unique to that region. Places like ‘The Seven Wonders of the World’ largely renders in a huge number of tourists and thus brings wealth to their respective countries.

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9. Public health

Architects and urban planners have always worked to promote the health of the general public and designed structures, spaces, and planned cities accordingly. Planning of cities to minimize pollution, increase physical movement to combat sedentary lifestyle, increasing green spaces and parks, proper plumbing, and water supply services are the tools made available through architecture for improving the health of the society.

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10. Reducing economic gap

Architecture specifically designed for communities belonging to low income-groups helps these people to reduce their price of living and gives them a chance to improve their lives. Structures designed to promote commercial activities also provide spaces for smaller businesses to thrive and thus help reduce the economic gap between the rich and the poor. Special spaces designed to house activities that attract people from all around the world also helps these people accumulate wealth.

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Manali Patil
Author

An architect who strongly believes that architecture can influence and bring about a change in society for the better. While actively involved in humanitarian work, a lot of her free time is spent in reading, thinking about life and writing about her revelations.'

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