Planning For the Future: Rebuilding Relationship with Nature

Planning For the Future: Rebuilding Relationship with Nature
Mar 2021 , by , in Past Event, Videos

The year 2020 has changed the way we live and define our built spaces. Architects academicians and product manufacturers share their views on building a complete value chain for creating economically viable eco-friendly developments

Our relationship with nature has been broken in so many ways. It is time to connect the dots – nature, humans, technology and development. Dr Hariharan Chandrashekhar, Mentor, AltTech.Foundation & eCol.India said, “Velocity with which we are approaching a crisis of huge dimension, even Covid will seem quite small. How can we, as business leaders, focus on the next phase of business model that includes price and sustainability integration with business considerations?”

Yatin Pandya, Founder, Footprints E.A.R.T.H. said, “Firstly, the definition of “Green” need to change. The flawed perspective rates a glass tower in Dubai as a Green building with certification while, an obscure building built attuned to the environment and surroundings without the use of Green certified materials is actually more eco-friendly than any Green certified buildings. Smart city is not only about technology but has to include research on air and water quality, urban transportation and management and governance.”

Vicky Chan, Founder, Avoid Obvious Architects mentioned, “Many new initiatives of the shared economy are losing their charm. Instead, the focus should be on building business plans that can survive in the competitive market with due consideration for saving, recycling and reusing resources. .”

Alok Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Orient Bell Tiles Ltd agreed that urban population will keep increasing driving the need for housing and other basic amenities. “Innovation in all aspects of cities development will have to be relooked with a fresh perspective. Building and construction is the largest and most important sector in India. By adopting eco-friendly practices in product manufacturing a considerable amount of carbon emissions and carbon footprint can be reduced. Starting small by adopting 100km of area around our factory we are doing our bit in creating a better society and environment.”

Rajendra Kumar, Founder and Principal Architect, Architect Rajendra Kumar added, “We need to be more sensible in terms of creating new infrastructure projects rather than following age old norms which doesn’t fit in the current situation. Government should add expert from all fields in the committees appointed for development projects.”

Mahesh Punjabi, Chief Executive Officer, Mahesh Punjabi Associates was of the view that creating a sense of pride around “Going Green” is one way of creating general awareness. “Developers have to inform the homebuyers that they are buying a project with sustainability features and make them feel proud about it. The buyers will not only be happy to pay for the Green amenities but will flaunt it as well.” 

In the next 20 years, about 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Therefore we must leverage sustainable urbanization as a transformative force.

 

REDEFINING AGE OLD CONCEPTS

The experts agreed that there is an urgent need to reconceptualise the definitions of housing, sustainability and affordability. 

Vicky Chan gave example of children who he teaches architecture, “We architects present very complicated ideas. Learning from children is very easy as they put across even most difficult concepts in a very simple way. It’s all about perspective.”

Alok Agarwal gave an example of the project where affordability was given an entirely new meaning by creating built in furniture that saved cost on furnishings and fittings without compromising on quality or comfort.Businesses are seeing benefit in adopting green practices as consumers tend to be drawn to businesses that are doing their part for the planet.”

According to Rajendra Kumar, housing should be declared a basic commodity. “For example in Germany housing is considered a basic to be provided to all citizens. A policy to build affordable housing for migrant labours can address one of the biggest problems of Indian cities that is slums.”

Mahesh Punjabi brought in another viewpoint, “Infrastructure connectivity to city peripheries can open up large lands to develop affordable housing. People will be ready to move in these locations if they can easily travel to work.”

Yatin Pandya expressed that decentralization and democratization is an absolute necessity. “Government should focus on building infrastructure and let private developers create housing. Likewise, for providing housing to the citizens, involving them in design and build of their own homes, will give them more say in what they need and the process is faster if you enable 100 people to build one house each rather than equipping one person to build 100 houses.”

Vicky Chan mentioned similar challenge in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is the most congested cities of the world. If rich can let go of their greed to own more and more property in a space starved city, it can help bring prices down and make housing more affordable for larger population.”

“Cities are key players in the pursuit of a green, resilient and inclusive economic recovery. Sustainability through the application of technologies, eco-sensitive designs & materials and, access to finance to low-income group for building own homes can be a detriment towards greener future.”

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