ArchiWEB Explorer: United Nations

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Opinion: Manit Rastogi of Morphogenesis on Environment Sensitive Urbanism

Pearl Academy. Image by Morphogenesis © Edmund Sumner Pearl Academy. Image by Morphogenesis © Edmund Sumner

A recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report reveals that the health of our ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide. At this point, scientists believe that ecosystems untouched by human interventions no longer exist. Human civilization and technology have permanently altered our planet and some of the most tangible impacts include imploding population numbers, deforestation, pollution (air, water, soil, and industrial), ocean acidification, climate change, and invasive alien species.

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Commonwealth Association of Architects joins the Habitat Professionals Forum

The Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) is pleased to announce having been admitted as a member of the Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF). The Habitat Professionals Forum was established in 1999 and is a voluntary inter-disciplinary group of international and regional associations of Human Settlements Professionals involved in sustainable urban development. Its aim is to foster cooperation between Human Settlements Professionals and UN Habitat, and to support UN-Habitat with the delivery of its new 5-year Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, approval of which is expected at the first UN-Habitat Assembly to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, between 27-31 May, 2019. Thereafter, activity will focus on preparations for the Word Urban Forum (WUF10) which will take place in Abu Dhabi between 07-13 February 2020. The CAA is now also seeking consultative status with ECOSOC, the UN Economic and Social Council, in order to enable it to engage more effectively with this important policy making forum.”

Mozambique water project: insights into supply and use

BIG and UN Collaborate on Floating, Modular Eco-City

© Bjarke Ingels Group © Bjarke Ingels Group

As part of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, Bjarke Ingels Group has proposed a vision for the world’s first resilient and sustainable floating community, designed to accommodate 10,000 people. “Oceanix City” is a response to the prediction that by 2050, 90% of the world’s largest cities will be exposed to rising seas, resulting in mass displacement, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure. The scheme is anchored in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, enacting circular flows of food, energy, water, and waste.

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Oceanix city BIG BIG and MIT unveil a floating city of the future at the United Nations. The ocean is under threat from land reclamation. As coastal cities struggle to cope with rapid population growth, many simply pour sand into the ocean to create new land. Unfettered coastal urbanization is destroying millions of hectares of … Continue reading BIG

Reframing Climate Change as a Local Problem of Global Proportion: 4 Ways Architects can Deliver Change

Bankside 123 in London creates new routes, public spaces and retail, with three simple rectilinear buildings set within a permeable public realm designed to reconnect the site with its surroundings. Image Courtesy of Allies & Morrison Bankside 123 in London creates new routes, public spaces and retail, with three simple rectilinear buildings set within a permeable public realm designed to reconnect the site with its surroundings. Image Courtesy of Allies & Morrison

The latest UN special report on climate change, released in October 2018, was bleak - perhaps unsurprisingly after a year of recording breaking temperatures, wildfires, floods, and storms. The report, released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reiterated the magnitude of climate change’s global impact, but shed new light on the problem’s depth and urgency. Climate change is a catastrophe for the world as we know it and will transform it into something that we don’t. And we have just 12 years to prevent it.

The Environmental Cost of Cement, and What to Do About It

Sesc Pompeia / Lina Bo Bardi. Image © Fernando Pires Sesc Pompeia / Lina Bo Bardi. Image © Fernando Pires

For thousands of years, concrete has been a foundation of the built environment: the most widely used man-made material on the planet. However, as architects, and the public alike, sharpen their focus on the causes and effects of climate change, the environmental damage caused by cement has become a subject of unease.

As exhibited in a recent in-depth article by Lucy Rodgers for BBC News, cement is the source of about 8% of global CO2 emissions. The piece was written off the back of the UN’s COP24 climate change conference in Poland and found that in order to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, annual cement emissions must fall by 16% by 2030.

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business. (12%).
-Lucy Rodgers, BBC News

The Graduation Projects Nominated for the Archiprix International 2019

Courtesy of Archiprix International Courtesy of Archiprix International

As an initiative of the Archiprix Foundation, Archiprix International 2019 recently invited all schools worldwide in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture to select and submit their best graduation project. "This graduation work presents a wealth of ideas for a broad range of contemporary and future challenges", explains the organization on its website.

After analyzing all the submissions sent by universities from more than 100 countries, the jury —Francisco Díaz, Rosetta Elkin, Marta Moreira, Martino Tattara, and Sam Jacoby— nominated 22 projects for the awards in a special session held in Santiago, Chile. The winners of the awards will be announced at the Award ceremony on May the 3rd 2019 in the same city.

The complete list (in alphabetical order) of the projects nominated for the awards, below:

185 En-Counters

Into the Forest / Openfabric

© Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian © Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian
© Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian © Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian

Text description provided by the architects. Openfabric has been selected to design the public spaces of Mantova city center in occasion of the first World Forum on Urban Forest (WFUF 2018) by FAO. The aim of the design is to engage with the two different levels of the forum: the academic one and the broad public. The project wants to critically represent a number of forest typologies rising both awareness on the importance of nature in urban environments and on the dramatic effects of climate change.

CAA Statement

“Following its 91st Council meeting, the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) notes with concern the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and recognises the important role played by architects throughout the Commonwealth in the battle against climate change.

In light of the 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Agreement currently being held in Katowice, Poland, the CAA calls on its member organisations to develop and implement action plans to engage with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and advance the world’s global agenda to safeguard people, prosperity and the planet.

Following the ‘Survey of the Profession in the Commonwealth’ that was undertaken earlier this year, the CAA is also aware of the challenges being faced by a number of Commonwealth countries which are urbanising most rapidly and are among the most vulnerable. The CAA calls on its member organisations to collaborate with one another, and with other built environment professions, to help deliver a sustainable future for all.”