At the first AJ Footprint Live conference: The Green Rethink, we want to radically reconsider sustainability from an economic and social, as well as an ecological, perspective, says Christine Murray
On November 26, top industry thinkers, from Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage to Patrick Bellew of Atelier Ten; Willie Carey of O’Donnell + Tuomey to Julian Robinson, director of estates at the London School of Economics; Alan Shingler to Simon Sturgis; Nick Schumann to Bill Dunster of ZedFactory and Matt Bell of Berkeley Homes, will be debating the future of architecture and the built environment.
At the first AJ Footprint Live conference: The Green Rethink, we want to radically reconsider sustainability from an economic and social, as well as an ecological, perspective. With more speakers announced soon, this one-day conference responds to a crisis in this industry.
As a bruised profession emerges, slowly, from recession, we find ourselves in the middle of both a housing crisis and a private residential building boom. The debate is raging about where to build more homes - densification or green belt? - and where to invest in infrastructure, from airports to super-sewers to HS2.
Energy price hikes and fuel poverty hit the headlines this week, while the government struggles to introduce meaningful policies to address climate change without spooking the economy, leading to a lacklustre Green Deal take-up and the watered-down introduction of Part L. At the same time, a renewed interest in heritage buildings and existing stock raise fresh questions about how buildings can be adapted and re-used over time, from Astley Castle to Preston Bus Station and the relaxing of change-of-use regulation to permit office-to-resi conversions.
The common thread here is architecture, and the profession’s key role in building an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable future in our towns and cities. The profession may feel marginalised in public life, but its thinking and expertise is central to combating climate change, the housing shortage, the effective masterplanning of infrastructure, energy conservation, and future communities.
Too often, we’ve found the sustainability debate in architecture too narrow in scope. Through the AJ Bridge the Gap campaign, we hope to tackle post-occupancy evaluation and the importance of monitoring and understanding performance. But sustainability isn’t just a technical issue - it’s not just about U-values and meter readings. At the AJ, we also believe that good design is inherently green. Well-conceived and built to last, the most sustainable buildings are those that are brilliant socially, economically and functionally. What is more green than a building well-conceived and built to last, flexible in its use, socially and fiscally responsible, well-used, fully occupied, well-connected to infrastructure and easy to renew and retrofit?
That’s why we want you to help us radically redefine sustainability on 26 November - and I hope you’ll join us for the debate. This groundbreaking conference will consider the future of sustainable housing development, city building, the adaptation of existing listed and heritage buildings, green policy, specification, technology and regulation from Part L, to the Green Deal, to Soft Landings and post-occupancy evaluation.