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A New Business Model for Sustainable Tall Building Design
Dr, Mirek Piechowski / DesignBuildSource / June 7, 2013
Tall buildings are seen by many as an adaptation strategy in response to a growing population and urbanisation. Today, more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities and by 2050, the population is predicted to reach 9 billion, of which an estimated 70 per cent will be living in cities. In this scenario, it seems that the only solution is to build upward while at the same time slowing population growth over time.
Broadening the technology focused approach
Skyscrapers resonate with many as romantic endeavours. Putting their undeniable romanticism to one side, tall buildings also represent an opportunity to mitigate the adverse effects of population growth on resource use and the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity. High-density developments make it cheaper and easier to provide efficient mass transport, energy and waterinfrastructure and waste management among other elements.
These obvious technical and environmental advantages come at a cost: limitations to privacy and a lack of access to open spaces and daylight, to name just a few challenges. In densely populated cities, air quality may also take on added significance.
While constraining urban sprawl through high density living is desirable from a broad sustainability point of view, it is however only part of the story. Social equity and quality of living are equally important in maintaining social cohesion and fostering vibrant and productive communities. It is at this junction that innovation, both technical and commercial, is needed more than ever to bring about the desired social and sustainability outcomes.
Current technology can provide solutions to many challenges of modern living, including sustainable living. For it to work, however, the technology focused approach has to be broadened to include commercial solutions consistent with principles of social inclusion and equity.