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How Architecture Responded to Climate Change in 2019

Throughout the last 12 months, the architectural community has responded in various ways to the Climate Emergency. From innovative proposals that tackle the sustainable design of healthy cities, to collective political action and lobbying, 2019 saw a continued mobilization of ideas, opinions, and actions on how architecture can be used as a tool to help the planet.

New York City’s Radical Answer to Rising Sea Levels

In March, New York City announced plans for a $10 billion coastal resilience project to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding. The city’s mayor Bill de Blasio described the scheme as “one of the most complex environmental and engineering challenges [New York] has ever undertaken and will, literally, alter the shape of the island of Manhattan.”

New York City’s Plan to Ban New Glass Skyscrapers

One month later, the city also announced plans to ban the construction of new glass skyscrapers, due to the inefficiency they have demonstrated for heat retention. The plan is part of efforts to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions by 30%.

The Architects Declare Movement is Founded

In May, some of the world’s leading UK-based architects joined forces to call for industry-led action on the twin issues of climate change and biodiversity loss. The “Architects Declare” group includes firms such as Foster + Partners, David Chipperfield Architects, and Zaha Hadid Architects.

Morphogenesis’ Manit Rastogi on Environmentally Sensitive Urbanism

Indian firm Morphogenesis takes readers on a tour of their environmentally-conscious projects, pushing the boundaries of sustainable design by designing habitats that merge the vernacular and the global.

6 Steps for Designing Healthy Cities

FABRICations, a Dutch design and research studio, presents readers will six precise design considerations for shaping future cities. These include sustainable mobility, stormwater storage, and urban farming.

The Age of Travel is Over

In June, Mario Carpo published a piece that reflected on how changing attitudes to travel in the 21st century has stemmed from an increasing awareness of the damage the airline sector can cause on the environment.

The Alarming Temperature Rise of 520 Cities

The research "Understanding Climate Change Starting with an Analysis of Similar Cities" published in the scientific magazine PLOS ONE by The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich, paints a grim picture of the future for the world's urban centers.

Utrecht’s 300 Bee-Friendly Bus Stops

In July the City of Utrecht Council, in collaboration with advertising agency Clear Channel, has transformed 316 bus stops across the city into “bee stops.” The adaption involved installing green roofs onto the bus stops, creating bee-friendly spaces for the endangered species.

We Need DIY Activist Architecture to Fight Climate Change

In September, we argued that the creative skills possessed by architects, artists, and designers, can be channeled into progressive, collective action on climate change. In doing so, we spelled out the connection between architecture, protest, and activism.

10 Tips to Design Landscape Infrastructure: Not All Parks Should be Green

Ten tips by Mariam Garcia Garcia of LandLab on the challenges that landscape projects face — from the climate emergency to responsibilities to the ecosystem.


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