Aaron Thatcher, Associate Director, Crisis and Security Consulting, Control Risks, considers the role of the architect and understanding the risks associated with the architectural process.
“For the first time, COP26 dedicated a full day to discussing the impacts of the built environment on climate change. Architects have a unique role in helping to reduce the 40% of global emissions emanating from the built environment, and improving the way we use resources in construction. Architectural creations change the environmental context and present a myriad of risks for both individual buildings and cities. In a world where 55% of the global population lives in built-up urban environments, architectural creations serving human activity result in high levels of direct and downstream energy and resource consumption.
”Decisions made during the architectural vision, planning, and design stages regarding spatial arrangements, use of materials, and operations can result in positive and negative impacts on local and tactical sustainability, safety, and security concerns. As highlighted by COP26, the compound effect of multiple tactical architectural designs, in the form of the city, and the resultant high net demands for energy and resources has serious consequences. Energy emissions and high natural resource consumption by urban populations drives greater competition and conflict over already scarce resources not just between governments, but also between different sectors of society.
“In solving the issues of high resource consumption and climate change, architects play an important role. Cognisance of their physical creations’ contribution to these issues is increasingly necessary – especially if we are to tackle the crises facing the planet and humanity. Efforts by many architects at the tactical level to repurpose existing building stock and use local and recycled materials is a great start. However, greater awareness of and early consideration of risks arising from an architect’s creation must continue to be encouraged and expanded across the global urban landscape.”
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