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COP28 Day 3 Recap: Designing for a More Resilient Future

Editor’s Note: Gensler attended COP28 in Dubai in early December 2023 to work with our partners toward sustainable solutions for the built environment. This post is the third in a series of daily recaps about our time at the event.

With countless leaders, innovators, and changemakers gathered in Dubai for COP28, important conversations about sustainability and resilience are happening in every corner of the city. On Wednesday, December 6, one of those vital dialogues took place in Gensler’s Dubai Office.

Moderated by Juliette Morgan, a global co-leader of Gensler’s Climate Action & Sustainability practice, a panel discussion titled “Design for a Radically Changing World” brought together five leaders from distinct industries and sectors: Sakina Hassanali, Head of Development Consulting and Research for HassConsult Real Estate; Paul King, CEO of Built by Nature; Paul Dunne, Middle East Leader for ARUP; Ana Hudson, Head of Sustainability for Saudi Entertainment Ventures; and Adora Li, Founding Partner at Brightkey Partners.

One key theme to emerge from the morning’s conversation focused on creating a culture of sustainability in each project we take on and every space we design. The built environment has the ability to influence behavioral changes on both an individual and collective scale, shaping the actions and attitudes of leaders, policymakers, and regular citizens.

The panelists challenged architects and designers to “be bold” in challenging norms and pushing boundaries; to “radically reconsider the materials we use” and educate clients about alternative options; and to hold on to the sense of “possibility, collaboration, and creativity that makes us stronger.”

After the Gensler panel, we made our way to Expo City, the primary COP28 venue, where we announced our collaboration with the International Finance Corporation to expand low-carbon building certification and access to Green Finance. We also spoke with journalists from the Arabian Business and Identity Magazine, participated in a panel discussion convened by the Financial Times, and presented at Green Zone pavilions organized by McKinsey and UICCA.

With our time at COP28 drawing to a close, we feel optimistic about the road ahead. There is work to be done, requiring the efforts and buy-in of companies, governments, and individuals across the globe, but together, we can move the needle on climate change and ensure a future in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Explore all of our events and representatives attending COP28.

Follow our co-CEOs on the ground in Dubai for more updates. Follow Andy Cohen here and Diane Hoskins here.

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Andy Cohen
Andy is global co-chair of Gensler, the world’s most influential architecture and design firm. He served as co-CEO from 2005 to 2024 and has spent his entire 43-year career at Gensler. Cohen is a frequent speaker for premier industry groups, including the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Urban Land Institute, the Young Presidents Organization, the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Pension Real Estate Association, and more. His insights have appeared in Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Quartz, Curbed, and many other general interest and trade publications. Cohen is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a graduate of the Pratt Institute.
Diane Hoskins
Diane is global co-chair of Gensler, the world’s most influential architecture and design firm. She served as co-CEO from 2005 to 2024. Hoskins is the 2023-2025 Global Chair of the Urban Land Institute and was a featured speaker at the United Nation’s Habitat Assembly in Nairobi (2023) and Climate Action Summit in New York (2019). She has also spoken at the UN Climate Change Conference for three consecutive years. Her insights have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, CNN, Forbes, Fast Company, NPR, and elsewhere. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Hoskins graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.