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THE OVERVIEW: FUTURE CITIES CATAPULT


BUILDING FUTURE CITIES


PETER MADDEN OBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE FUTURE CITIES CATAPULT, OUTLINES SOME OF THE CHALLENGES OF URBAN INTEGRATION AND HIGHLIGHTS THE ROLE OF THE BUILDING ENGINEER


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t has been estimated that by 2050 over 70% of the world’s population will be concentrated in cities. Tis high density living, despite having a lower carbon footprint per occupant than their


rural neighbours, brings with it increased pressures on energy supply, water sources and raw materials. Changes in lifestyle and the demographics of


the world population also mean that the buildings which make up the future cities need to be more flexible, meet the needs of a greater range of users and deliver a greater quality of life whilst having a lower environmental Impact. Building Engineers are actively involved in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of the new generation of buildings that will make up our future cities. One of the main areas in which Building


Engineers are working to meet the challenges of future cities is in the field of energy conservation and the development and use of sustainable energy sources. Using technologies that can provide energy without reliance of fossil fuels significantly reduces the carbon footprint of buildings and also helps to address the issue of a finite and dwindling resource in terms of traditional fuels. Incorporating into the design efficient elements and structures that reduce the wasted or unrecoverable energy is also a key element of producing a modern building. At the same time, innovative


solutions to the complex problems of the energy efficiency of the large numbers of existing buildings within the urban landscape have to be sought to improve their environmental impact and prevent large- scale demolition. One of the major resources


that is becoming increasingly under pressure in large cities is clean, safe, drinking water. Te buildings designed and constructed by building engineers aim to reduce


10 EXPERTVIEW SPRING 2015


CHANGES IN LIFESTYLE AND THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE WORLD POPULATION MEAN THAT THE BUILDINGS WHICH MAKE UP FUTURE CITIES NEED TO BE MORE FLEXIBLE.’


the water consumption per individual to a level where existing and future water supply will meet or exceed demand. Te use of fixtures and fittings that can perform the necessary functions using the minimum amount of water is essential, but this alone will not meet the challenge. Increasingly the use of waste water and captured rainwater for those tasks where the water is not to be ingested is becoming the norm, and alongside this there is a need in many of our cities to educate the building user in the efficient use of what is often considered to be a plentiful and cheap resource.


BREAKING TRADITIONS Te traditional methods of building have often relied on materials that have a finite supply or can be environmentally damaging in their production. Te increased use of recycled construction materials and newer products with a lower lifetime carbon footprint requires building engineers to research and design building elements to reduce the overall impact and can often use an innovative approach. However it is critical that all new techniques and materials can be shown to meet key standards in relation to the performance of buildings throughout their life. Another commodity that will be of limited


supply in the future city is space. Te density of populations and the use of multi-storey structures mean that a large number of people are living and working in close proximity to each other. Tis also tends to mean that residential and commercial interests are often neighbours and standards need to be set and maintained for air quality, noise pollution and living space. Building engineers are already used to specifying and testing buildings to ensure that minimum legislative standards are met in those countries where such standards are set. Te challenge is to make these standards global, setting minimum living standards and ensuring they are sufficient despite the demands faced in accommodating large populations in confined areas. Improvements in healthcare and advances in


the field of medicine have resulted in a steadily aging population. Economic constraints have also tended to mean that residential properties are now accommodating larger family groups, spanning


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