October 23, 2013
Architects as Movers & Shakers
Our planet is changing, and it's time we all started to pay attention.
In the past century, sea levels have risen by eight inches. Over the past two decades, melting has decreased the environmentally-critical continental ice fields of the Antarctic and Greenland by an estimated 1000 cubic miles. Rising sea levels are a threat to 136 large coastal cities around the globe, putting 40 million lives at risk.
Using an analytical tool that it developed in response to environmental trends, Vancouver’s Bing Thom Architects has estimated conservatively that a one metre rise in sea level could negatively affect $25 billion worth of Vancouver real estate. ..dAs someone who literally lives on a river bank, I find this particularly ominous.
Global warming, glacial melt and other related ripples, such as renewed concern over our fresh water supply, are only now attracting the concern and attention they merit. It is imperative that the architectural community be deeply involved with, if not at the forefront of, efforts to address climate change - particularly as they relate to the 21st Century built environment.
Architects also have a distinct role to play in the evolution of “ecological literacy” as a central tenet of design education. The crucial point of contact between climate change and architecture is design. Through thoughtful, innovative design, architects can help influence energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission patterns for the next century.
Climate change and its impact on our cities is a concern that we all should share. For the architectural community, that shared concern and call for professional leadership presents an opportunity for new partnerships, including greater cross-border collaboration.
From October 23-26, the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the American Institute of Architects Northwest & Pacific Region will come together to explore issues of livability, sustainability, affordability and environmental impact, and examine the leadership role that architects can play in finding the answers. This is the first time the AIBC has hosted a conference in partnership with our American counterparts. Titled "Sea Change: Architecture on the Crest," the 2013 Conference will offer up an international perspective on urban design with an eye on how architects and architecture can be part of the solution for destructive tides and trends that are literally reshaping our shared planet.
Architects have much to bring to this critical dialogue, but so too does everyone else. It`s our shared reality, and we all have a voice. Let's get the conversation started.
For more information on the 2013 Conference, visit www.aibc.ca/ac2013.
Scott Kemp, Architect AIBC is the president of the AIBC Council. Send comments or questions to email@example.com.
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