What we need to think about when it comes to building in the next decade.
Really, there are serious crises currently facing our industry.
I gave a presentation in Hanoi yesterday at a green building seminar about an integrated approach to design and construction which addresses the potential ways we can eliminate all the current issues facing our building industry.
This was the 5th time I gave this presentation and it began to dawn on me that the more I raised these concerns, the more serious nature of a topic it becomes in my mind.
The three questions I raised are:
How can we build or rebuild as fast with better quality for communities that are being destroyed by natural disasters?
How can we make housing affordable for the majority of the people on this planet?
How can we build more but at the same time reduce the environmental impact we create from the construction industry?
Frankly, I don’t have an outright conclusion to these questions. Sometimes I think I do, but more so, by asking these questions, I’m hoping to put more effort, focus, and undivided attention to the possibilities of finding solutions.
For the first question,
we all know the impact our society has on the environment and in turn, mother nature is letting us know. Climate change is real and one simple fact is that seven of the last ten years have been the costliest years when it comes to natural disasters decimating our built environment. Communities are being destroyed by the increase of floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and wildfires.
So if cities are being destroyed in days and weeks, how can we rebuild these communities in that same time frame?
The second question is,
of course, has been in discussion for decades. As the population of our planet is growing exponentially, we are only able to supply at a fraction of the demand for affordable housing on this planet.
The third question
simply addresses the true nature of our construction industry. That is we are wasteful and harmful to our environment and in turn, resulting in climate change. Our very own vicious circle of life and that we have no one to blame but ourselves. This to me is the easiest question to solve. We can certainly do this right now and I know many companies, private or public, are addressing it.
But I don’t think we are fully committed to it as we think we are.
I’ve been to seminars, lectures, conferences all over the world and have heard many people, companies, and countries discussed the various impacts of these particular issues.
However, to me, it’s mostly discussion and sharing concerns. I don’t see any differences or anyone thinking about specific ways to solve them. Most of these constituents are motivated by market shares within a capitalist environment that is driven by financial obligations.
We know when it comes to financial gains, you can’t make it cheap and sell it cheap. I don’t blame them because these are not simple issues to solve. It might take decades or even centuries before we see any outcome. But for now, all we can do is talk about it.
The closing argument I made on stage as a member of the discussion panel at this Hanoi seminar was one simple keyword:
If you are going to do something with a purpose, stick to it and be fully committed to it. Do not deviate from it for anyone or any reason. If we are all fully committed — I mean 110% — then we have a much higher chance of accomplishing our goals.
But, we all know, it’s easier said than done.
So, what should be the solution to that?
Stay tuned for the next article!