I went to the FuturArc Forum 2011 all day today at the La Salle College of the Arts, here in Singapore. The event is basically a conference and exhibition which happens all around South East Asia and Hong Kong “to advocate the cause of sustainable design and green building in (our) the region“.
For those of you who are in the same line as I am (Architecture, Construction, Design, Engineering, etc), you probably know Sustainable Development by now (and probably going “Oh Gad, this again?”), since it has been widely relevant and much- discussed for the passed 10-15 years or so. But for those of you who might be going “Eh?” this very moment, allow me to humbly provide you with my most basic of explanations. I, myself, cannot tolerate too much complexities in things which I deem should be quite inherent, necessary, and fundamental.
So you’ve probably heard all about Global Warming, the Energy Crisis, climate change, etc, etc, right? Now just like everybody else, architecture in the built environment (houses, buildings, etc) and urban development (of cities, roads, etc) play quite a part in the steady depletion of the world’s resources. If truth be told, recent studies have shown that 40% of the world’s waste may actually be from construction and building management. But don’t put all the blame on us though, because everybody is accountable for leaving carbon footprints- big and small.
In light of Earth’s progressing environmental and ecological problems, Sustainable Development (which has been employed since the 1970’s) “is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (United Nations, 1987). With it, we aspire to create and build things with as little environmental impact as possible. This entails using environmental- friendly materials, using building technologies which allow more efficient energy and water use, etc etc.
One of today’s main keynote speakers was Prof. Dr. Deo Prasad from the University of New South Wales’ (AU), who is an international authority in sustainable buildings and cities. Of the many things I picked up today, one of his points kind of got stuck in my head and gave me a really cool mental picture:
The gist of the above:
If 240 people travel to work everyday,
there would be 173 Cars, if they opted to drive individually;
there would be three long Buses for that;
and only one Tram to accommodate all.
This scenario can be applied in a Macro level of Urban Design (i.e. in developing cities and roads).
If one must, design should increase the livability of spaces and areas. To make these areas more livable, they have to allow more fulfilling and comfortable lifestyles- jogging, biking, breathing spaces. And this will eventually create better social dynamics.
I know that this is only the tip of the Sustainable Development and Green- Living iceberg. But it’s great to start somewhere. And it’s best to start now.
PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY AUTHOR UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.