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 second in a series of daily recaps about our time at the event.
For the first time in history, over half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will be closer to 70%. Improving the sustainability of urban areas is vital to the wellbeing of our world. We must reimagine our cities and embrace new technologies to make urban life more resilient, vibrant, and equitable for all.
Today, at the Sustainable Innovation Forum panel “Smarter, Cleaner Cities for the Future,” we joined Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer of General Motors, and Rogier van den Berg, who leads the World Resources Institute’s sustainable urban development work, for a discussion on the sustainable future of cities and mobility. (Watch the video below.)
Achievable sustainability was the theme of two other panel conversations hosted by the University of Pennsylvania and Heidelberg Materials. Achievability requires affordability, and at Gensler, we are designing resilience into everything we do. Our industry must continue to push the pace of innovation to deliver affordable solutions for today’s challenges, and governments must incentivize the repurposing and repositioning of existing building stock. Calgary, Alberta, offers a case study for successful collaboration between government and industry. The Calgary Downtown Development Incentive Program provided grants to help convert vacant offices into residential buildings, adding much-needed housing to the city while also taking the sustainable path of adaptive reuse.
We also spoke with journalists from Reuters Projects, Khaleej Times, and MEED.
The value of the public and private sectors coming together to advance climate solutions cannot be overstated, and gatherings like COP28 are essential for coalescing key stakeholders. Everyone has a role to play, and the real estate and building industry in particular has a tremendous opportunity to take leadership, today.
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