Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner
Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner

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Resilient Building and Construction Forum at Resilient Cities 2013

In 2013, Resilient Cities featured a half day forum addressing the topic of resilient building and construction, sponsored by the US Green Building Council on behalf of the World Green Building Council and by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This forum was an follow-up to the resilient building and construction session at the congress in 2012, since it was apparent from this session that resilience and adaptation add a new and missing dimension to green building practices.

Outcomes of the Forum in 2013

Resilient buildings means juggling different challenges such as energy disruption, green buildings, ecological risks, environmental responsibility, innovation, and business. The forum explored how buildings and associated codes and practices can combine mitigation measures, such as energy efficiency standards, material selection, and construction disposal, with adaptation and resilience measures. The growing importance of the latter in urban planning was discussed.


What can cities do?

Buildings need to reduce the drivers of climatic change while maintaining an ability to perform under future conditions. Therefore, buildings have an important role which should be more carefully considered. The exchange of energy waste flows within buildings should be explored, along with fresh water and food supplies, and innovative design strategies for materials such as Cradle to Cradle. In other words, stakeholders need to view buildings more holistically, not just in terms of isolated rating systems ( based initiatives such as STAR Communities). To do this, they must use appropriate schemes that integrate climate change adaptation into existing strategies (e.g. Green Building Council Australia). For houses, this means considering site design, the ability to relocate buildings, redundancy of high risk spaces, raising the floor height, floatable foundations, and providing a reasonable level of certainty for homeowners. One of the most important aspects for cities is fiscal regret for inaction in the building sector. Crucially, cities need to understand the cost of taking in more risk by ignoring the resilience of buildings.


Gaps identified

There needs to be a more robust conversation on the financial aspects of resilient building and construction and how to include and attract investors. Further research is needed on how to better measure the vulnerability of buildings and the role of data in this process. Lastly, cities in developing countries must be more involved in this discussion.