Matthé van Baalen
Global Leader Performance Driven Engineering
As populations rise in cities across the globe, urbanists are facing the growing challenge of how to maintain the delicate equilibrium between preserving natural capital and creating a built environment that can respond to human demand. Tall buildings are a natural response to the urbanization challenge, as it enables cities to fit more people into a smaller footprint. However, the sustainability agenda is redefining the types of assets that can be built, with a growing emphasis on creating buildings that are carbon neutral.
Indeed, one of the biggest challenges facing professionals involved in developing the next generation of tall buildings in our cities, will be around achieving a net-zero impact on natural capital. In practice, this will only be achieved by successfully integrating human and natural habitats, rather than just coexisting side-by-side.
The integration of urban architecture and natural landscaping will be instrumental in creating a sustainable natural habitat in our cities. The trend towards overlaying a natural capital master plan on to the design of future developments is key and will enable communities to reap the benefits that a natural ecosystem can deliver in terms of optimizing energy and water consumption, carbon footprint, and increasing urban resiliency. As well as the positive impact that vegetation has on air quality and temperature management through evapo-transpiration, studies have also shown that integrating the natural environment into urban life can have a very positive impact on wellness and people’s state of mind. This presentation elaborates on the necessity of biodiversity and the latest solutions for the sustainable integration of architecture, ecology and engineering as applied in recent development initiatives in European cities.