On the 8th November 2019 the Developer Risk and Resilience conference took place at the Science Museum, London. The conference brought together 200 development directors, architects, local authority planning and regeneration teams, scientists and sustainability experts to explore how to successfully develop our cities in response to rising environmental risks.
Greengage were proud to be asked to be part of this event with a presentation from Rob Miller, Greengage’s Head of Sustainability.
Rob was tasked with:
- Defining what the Circular Economy is,
- Whether elements of it existed and were being implemented already,
- A brief run through of our experience of delivering circular economy principles on projects,
- An update on current and emerging policy and requirements.
The day was kicked off by UKGBC with the launch of the Climate resilience and embracing nature: An ambition for the built environment report.
This opening talk was followed by multiple speakers from a range of backgrounds presenting emerging principles and innovative solutions on how to future proof our developments and ultimately our cities.
The key take home messages included:
- We have the technology to rectify the effects of climate change, however policy and financial incentives are the overall restrictors. Change is expensive and until policy forces people to take the extra steps required and funders/insurers view the effects of climate change as a danger to portfolios, the rate in uptake of sustainable solutions will remain slow and progressive.
- The insurance and finance industry are getting far more involved with sustainability following the publication of the Task force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations report.
- Corporate structures are changing as well with the requirement for companies to have a board member for Climate Change.
- New innovative ‘water squares’ are proving to be a highly effective solution to managing water storage in Rotterdam. They combine not only a water storage function but have also provided revitalised public realm with the space offering different functions when it is dry and when it is wet.
- Although green roofs were becoming more prevalent in the city of London, only 42% of them have been successful. This failure is predominantly down to bad design. More care and consideration needs to be applied and the biodiversity viewed as an asset that is valuable to the development.
- Leeds City Centre was future proofed from flooding through the use of soft engineering instead of the more expensive and far less aesthetically pleasing hardscaping and the reforesting of areas upstream with approximately 2 million new trees.
- Trees are vital in the fight against climate change and future proofing of cities. Several talks were given that showed the importance trees played in terms of controlling storm water run-off, reducing the urban heat island effect and the many links between access to green space and an increase in general health and wellbeing.