From Building to Growing Cities

Turning urban expansion into a driver of climate action — a roadmap

On the occasion of the COP26 World Climate Conference in Glasgow, the One Health Research Centre (OHRC), has produced its first policy paper “From Building to Growing Cities”. The paper provides a roadmap to lead the way towards the transformation of urban expansion from the biggest threat to our ecosphere into a driver of climate action.

Authored by Prof. Stefano Mancuso, Prof. Stefano Boeri, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Prof. Michael Mehling, Dr. Simon Schäfer Stradowsky, Lelia De Lucchi, Maria Rivera Espinosa, and Mikolaj Sekutowicz, the paper explores how climate-positive and health-promoting growth can be achieved through the integration of nature-based solutions in urban development. This involves reframing the building code to establish the norm of climate-positive buildings and urban infrastructure, as well as on-site and off-site compensation for constructions’ negative impacts. By adopting a 100% + X approach, urban development can become a catalyst for ecosystem restoration and climate mitigation.

The paper outlines five steps towards the transforming buildings and cities into drivers of the regeneration of our ecosphere:

  • Measure and standardise the assessment of construction of buildings and urban infrastructure’s full lifecycle environmental impact.
  • Continuous research and development of integrated measurement tools to calculate and standardize nature-based solutions’ full spectrum compensatory impact.
  • Adapting the building code and other policies accordingly, to implement the necessity of compensation by the 100% + X approach, while creating a plain market field for a new environmental urban development.
  • Identify and integrate the existing financial mechanisms to ensure climate and health-positive investments become the most cost-efficient solutions.
  • Finance and create pilot projects that test state-of-the-art technology and showcase cutting-edge innovation.
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31 Oct 2021
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