The current climate change is calling for a drastic reduction of energy demand as well as of greenhouse gases. Besides this, cities also need to adapt to face the challenges related to climate change. Cities, with their complex urban texture and fabric, can be represented as a diverse ecosystem that does not have a clear and defined boundary.
The regenerative approach to design goes beyond limiting the environmental impact of the built environment and towards the enrichment of the ecosystem, adaptation to climate change, and the improvement of human health. This concept is being applied to buildings through new standards such as the Living Building Challenge, yet examples of implementation of regenerative design at the urban scale are rare. While this is a promising direction for sustainable design, in theory new metrics, design tools and workflows need to be developed to translate regenerative design concepts into practice effectively. Read the article here.
RESTORE Cost Action publication that records the outputs of the sustainability working group. This publication, with contributions from over 20 EU countries is an exploration in progressing a paradigm shift in built environment thinking, from sustainability to restorative sustainability and on to regenerative sustainability. It presents a reference document for future work of the RESTORE Action, for other Cost Actions and for built environment academia and industry organisations.
Architectural design can no longer be only concerned with developing artefacts that produce reduced environmental impacts within a certain threshold of emissions. Conversely, buildings today must be developed to reverse the effects of climate change, enhance natural systems, the built environment and inhabitants’ life. “Regenerative Design in the Digital Practice” explores how the regenerative concept is now being applied to the regenerative design of cities and buildings. A series of digital design approaches are exemplified via a series of examples drawn from leading international practitioners and researchers.
G20 finance ministers have recognized nature based solutions are the most cost-effective investment to protect and repair the planet. Mitigating climate change through grey infrastructure costs over $300 billion a year while nature based solutions pose a cheaper, more effective, and sustainable option. Despite the advantages of natural solutions, they receive only 2.5% of public climate mitigation funding. The G20 advisory board has proposals to encourage governments to create sustainable green infrastructure instead of creating grey infrastructure sustainably.
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To create a sustainable and regenerative planet, waste must not only be managed and recycled, but cut out in the product design phase. Circular products are built from renewable resources and recycled materials. Circular design is the process of rethinking a product for easier recycling, more reusability, and less environmental impact. Many circularly designed items find inspiration from nature to solve sustainability issues. Another solution to the current linear design process is creating products to either be compostable or used infinitely.
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Shifting from engineered infrastructures made from steel and concrete to nature based solutions is more cost-effective and sustainable. Water based natural disasters have significant negative effects on the world population. To mitigate these issues, the World Bank has implemented over 100 projects using nature based solutions, helping countries around the globe.
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The Delta Progamme has identified goals and strategies to address flooding and fresh-water shortage problems. The Netherlands government will then make decisions based on this report. Amsterdam is a growing city situated between river deltas and various wet-land ecosystems and is susceptible to many water-related hazards. In developing these risk-management plans, the Delta Programme suggests ‘building with nature’ to spatially adapt the areas where water discharge levels must be modified. These Delta Decisions are the main documents and data informing government officials before voting.
Read Delta Programme.
Read Delta Decisions.
In this paper, the EU documents the Horizon 2020 areas of research and innovation related to nature based solutions. Four principle goals that nature based solutions address are: to create more sustainable practices in urban areas, improve the positive environmental impact in degraded ecosystems, find new ways to prevent and reduce current carbon emissions, and develop more efficient risk-prevention practices. There are seven specific action initiatives are proposed to address these goals. Some are: transforming current public areas into green spaces, using bio-materials as clean energy sources, and using natural organisms as biosequestration sources to store carbon emissions.
Ten public busses in Singapore had green roofs installed in the “Garden on the Move” campaign. This is part of a study measuring the cooling and energy saving effects of moving green spaces. Singapore has a history of green initiatives aiming to turn the city into a “Garden City” and fight the rising temperatures.
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