SBE21: Focus on the Future – the Future is Now!

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16 – 24 February 2021

THE CONFERENCE  (22 – 24 February 2021)

One-day introductory seminar: A New Approach to Architecture

Resilience, restoration, regeneration, carbon neutral, embodied energy – these and similar terms slip off the tongue of every millennial out there. Ageism has entered the design debate with a vengeance and the youth are blaming everyone older than 35 for the climate mess that we are in. Whether this blame is justified or not, ignorance definitely is not – “It’s not OK, Boomer!” It is time for established practitioners to get with the programme and up-skill ourselves to be able to participate and influence the future. Design needs to deal with both mitigation and adaptation – adapting design for a very different climate and extreme weather will be critical.

Have you heard of climate justice? Do you know how many climate refugees there already are? Do you understand the implications of climate migration for the region? Feedback loops, urban heat island, embodied carbon, eco-system restoration, ecological debt – how do these affect your work?  If you are stopped on the street and asked for a detailed, step-by-step explanation of a particular environmental issue, can you provide it? The intention is to equip delegates with the background knowledge to engage fully in climate action and debate, whether professionally or otherwise.

During this one-day seminar experts will provide short, in-depth explanations of the causes of the climate emergency, the role of design and construction in the natural environment, the essential terminology and current slang terms will also be explained.

Two-day conference presentations: Focus on the Future – The Future Is Now

Enough debate on whether the climate is changing, whether it is man-made, whether this or that way is the best to combat it. We all know that human development is destroying the earth, whether through plastics in the oceans, pollution of the atmosphere or habitat destruction. So, what are we going to do about it?

How we counteract the impact of the built environment and adapt to a very different climate, extreme weather, variable resources, social emergencies and biodiversity loss will be critical. What can we proactively relinquish from our current/past design concepts, in order to achieve the transformative change necessary?

Unlike most “green” conferences, this set of events does not aim to sell you so-called “green” products or magic bullets that will instantly green wash your activities. It does not aim to showcase unattainable technological solutions dreamt up by international architects in lab coats at computer screens. It aims to provide practical, down-to-earth viewpoints and approaches to equip you with better ways of working in the design and construction field.

Each event – regenerative design and hand-building training, the seminar on new approaches to architecture and the conference itself – will consider the following two questions:

  1. In view of the climate and biodiversity emergency/crisis, what can we expect to happen?
  2. How can and should we deal with what may happen?

These two questions will be addressed through three lenses – the classic triumvirate of people, planet, profit – re-interpreted through a more holistic lens, and linked to the regenerative design mantra of “earth care, people care, fair share”.

.. and variations

Earth, our future – regenerative design and construction

The world continues to design and build, causing increasing damage to the natural environment that sustains us. What can practitioners in the building professions do to turn around our negative impact on the planet’s biodiversity and climate? Designers are meant to be innovative problem-solvers and able to connect the dots. These papers, posters and presentations will showcase approaches to these critical problems.

The future of humanity – addressing climate migration, and food and water security

Whether one believes that “technology will save us” or not, it is clear that this will not be either a short-term or comprehensive solution for the problems that most people in the world face today. During the entire existence of Homo sapiens, people have migrated for a better future for themselves and their families. But this persistence of human existence is becoming increasingly unrealistic – the grass cannot be greener elsewhere if there is no grass. What are the challenges we face in this regard and what solutions are there? How can we achieve climate justice?

Confronting the future – creating action through advocacy and mobilisation for  change

Are we doing enough to combat the climate and biodiversity emergencies and crises?
Brilliant proposals remain just that – proposals –  unless there is political, institutional and financial support for implementation. Construction professionals are notoriously ill-equipped to source such support.