News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Cities Provide a Wealth of Green Building Opportunities
Katie Weeks / ECOBUILDING pulse / September 24, 2013
Urbanization is increasing at an unprecedented rate, with more than half of the world’s population living in cities today and more than 70 percent expected to do so by 2050—and this should be good news when it comes to innovation, according to a new report released by the AIA. “Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy,” the eighth report in an AIA series of reports on innovative, healthy, sustainable, and livable communities, examined how cities are responding to an uncertain future. The conclusion? Cities across the world are hotbeds of innovative solutions to changing needs, as well as changing climates and potential natural disasters—and this provides a wealth of opportunities for key players across the green building industry.
“Cities have become a laboratory for change,” said Clark Manus, FAIA, CEO of Heller Manus Architects in San Francisco and former AIA national president, at the release of the report. “And design serves as the critical lynchpin.”
In addition to identifying key trends developing in cities—such as the rise of Ecodistricts, the growing use of public space to foster connectivity, the changing design of workspaces and collaborations to better promote collaboration, the rise of temporary architecture and pop-up buildings to experiment with new ideas, and the emergence of resilient solutions in response to climate change and natural disasters—the report also includes a selection of case studies from across the globe to showcase innovative practices in action.
“The report discusses the design and policy choices shaping the urban environment now and in the future,” said Brooks Rainwater, director of public policy for the AIA, at the report’s release as part of the National Leadership Speaker Series: Resiliency & Security in the 21st Century in Washington, D.C. last Friday. Many of the opportunities for the design community, lies in the growing focus on resiliency, Manus said during the press conference releasing the study. “A truly innovative city must not react, but prepare for unexpected eventualities,” he said. “The coming decades foreshadow more frequent natural disasters with limited resources and public health challenges. As society urbanizes, new doors can open for innovation that will magnify our potential to create.”