Fundamentals for Sustainability
Fundamentals for Sustainability_Paola Sassi
How do we want to live? What is a good life? These are fundamental questions that should underpin any design investigation into sustainable architecture. Architecture responds to human needs but can also provide a framework for living that facilitates and encourages specific behaviours and lifestyles. Architects and other built environment professionals therefore have opportunities and indeed a responsibility to create environments for sustainable living. This paper argues that to achieve a sustainable built environment that supports a sustainable future, professionals have to go beyond technical solutions and consider what drives human behaviour, and furthermore that effective sustainable solutions can only result from a deep evidence-based understanding of the fundamental needs and desires of stakeholders and the design and technical solutions.
Today’s focus on climate change is equivalent to preparing the lifeboats on a sinking ship, instead of understanding and addressing the cause of the sinking. Sustainability is more than climate change and it has to be addressed more fundamentally than by creating small enclaves of safety to survive future disasters. Sustainability is about reassessing the lifestyles that caused climate change, resource depletion, pollution to land, air and water, the destructions of natural habitats and the biodiversity within them, and is eroding the quality of life of many people, and developing regenerative and just solutions that benefit people and the natural environment. In the past decades examples of sustainable architecture and urban design solutions worldwide that have been built to reduce resource use and pollution, positively contribute to local communities, protect and enhance the local biodiversity, and provide healthy environments for their occupants. However, even after decades these design approaches are not mainstream. How can this failure of our society to address this most pressing crisis be explained?
Sustainable Design – Planning Human Wellbeing_Isabel Potworowski
Sustainability is like happiness. On the one hand, it is necessary for the continued thriving of humanity and, as such, something that we have always sought. On the other hand, it has come to mean anything and everything to anyone and everyone. It is one of the most popular buzzwords of architectural discourse, sometimes being reduced to a marketing ploy. How have we come to this paradoxical situation? Why is sustainability important especially today, and what role does architecture play? An overview of recent projects shows the various ways in which architects approach this issue. These include the preservation of a building’s natural surroundings, considerations relating to flexibility and building re-use, using sustainable materials, and passive design for energy efficiency. The role of architecture extends beyond energy and material optimization, however; it encompasses the much broader aim of human wellbeing.