What Can Architects and Designers do to Help Fight Climate Change?


The dangers that we all face due to climate change is very real, and although it might have played second fiddle to the news of the pandemic for much of 2020, it is a problem that architects, and designers are continuing to face up to. Government and business are looking at ways in which they can change the way in which we live to lower carbon emissions and helps us all slow down the rate of global warming. It is all of our responsibility to change the way we live, but by utilising the skills and expertise of architects and designers, we can plan a new world that helps us all live in a better, more sustainable way.

Construction is such a major part of the reason we are suffering at the moment with climate change. We desperately need to change the way in which construction works, including the materials that are used, on a global scale to have any real and meaningful impact on the way in which we see our future. Of course, this is all linked to larger societal questions, including social issues, urban density, accessibility and affordability for the masses. Only with these questions answered can architects begin to have a big impact on the way that design and architecture feeds into these narratives.

Architects are always looking at ways in which their designs for buildings in urban areas can be taken by planners and construction workers and built in a sustainable fashion. Urban architecture has to look good, granted, but there is more to it than that alone. The cities of the future must look at new ways to be sustainable, to be self-sustaining in certain aspects and using renewable energy to power buildings and sections of the urban environment. Alongside this must be a reduction in personal transport use and a better system of public transport all round that entices people to use it, cuts carbon emissions but is effective and efficient.

Alongside this is an important factor. The materials used in construction traditionally have been bad for the environment. Architects and designers must now look at ways in which materials can change to be more sustainable, cost effective and efficient in how buildings are constructed and used over time by the public.

It is important to think about the future and not just pay lip service to it. As an industry, the architecture world certainly needs to do more, but it also has to work hand in hand with planners, local councils and governments to ensure that more is done overall and that more is done in a coherent way to ensure that we are moving forward in the correct manner. The best architects will always come up with inventive and exciting designs that change the shape of how we live and work. We’ve seen that for centuries. Climate change, and the pandemic in 2020 has demonstrated how quickly things can change and how design impacts on how we can function on a daily basis under new restrictions and circumstances.

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