We have the advantage today of seeing our Globe from Space. It allows us to have a clear picture of the geography of our planet. Today we will inspect some of the impacts of our historical actions. We will take a glimpse of the documented damage and assess where we stand. We cannot change the past, but we do have the potential leadership and dynamic network to impact the future. I want to thank the organizers for bringing together this distinguished group to challenge each other to extract synergistic passions…. and network our skills… to create the technological thrust….. demanded to meet the thunderous… herd.. charging its way.. to urban centers.. in pursuit of the glory.. and profit.. exuded from life in the city.
We will explore innovation as the most effective transformer of people, profit and place. We will seek to identify the sources of this innovation. I believe there are sources we are not presently engaging. We will explore natural and human resources and the unique ways they could participate in the problem solving process. We will seek to identify ways to connect future innovators through enhanced technologies.
We will seek to identify the roles of local, state, federal and universal governments, business, real estate and the built environment.
We will demonstrate why we cannot be shy about defending our rights to clean air and water, safe food, wellness and clean energy.
With a goal of finding solutions, we will seek to identify methods of creating awareness. Problems are rarely addressed before they are identified and acknowledged. As professionals in an industry that has generated 40% of the world’s CO2 through the operations of our buildings we are in a unique position to lead the restorative process.
It is often said we cannot afford to go green. Hopefully we will see together that we cannot afford not to join the revolution. We are not owners of the earth, merely borrowers. What will be our children’s inheritance? How will we explain our need for profit? We will look beyond Sustainability to Social Responsibility.
The results are in and they are being measured. Where would you want to exchange carbon credits? Are you interested in joining a network of Green Revolutionaries ? I am seeking a few champions with shared ethics and critical thinking skills to take on this challenge.
We have a choice in each action we take and in our advocacy to our clients, colleagues, friends, business associates and governmental leaders. It has often been stated “Lead, Follow or get out of the way”. What will be our 25 year plan? What will we describe in 2033? Now let us explore the dynamics of the coming urban revolution.
I have had the opportunity to explore the challenges of this topic with a number of colleagues. My exploration today is focused on provoking thoughts rather than offering solutions. Big Ben reminds us the worlds first 1 Million Population City was London.
Megalopolis is a Greek word meaning “very large city”. A French Geographer Jean Gottmann described the northeastern US in the 1950’s as a vast metropolitan area over 500 miles from Boston to Washington, DC. This urban region was thought to provide the whole country with essential services it was nicknamed the Main Street of the nation. While some of the area remained green in farms or woods the economic activity, transportation and communication were its core strength. In 1950 the population was 32 million, today it exceeds 44 million or 16% of US. Gottman recommended that: “ We must abandon the idea of the city as a tightly settled and organized unit in which people, activities, and riches are crowded into a very small area clearly separated from its nonurban surrounding”. I will define Sustainable Technology as a plan to create equity for all generations with the assurance of physical and social health, and ecological integrity that maintains asset value and the availability of services.
Broader definition of megalopolis from the Oxford Dictionary of Geography is “any many-centered, multi-city, urban area of more than 10 million inhabitants, generally dominated by low-density settlement and complex networks of economic specialization.” The UN has declared that 2008 is the year that ½ the world population is URBAN and ½ RURAL for the first time. It is the explosive momentum and sprawl following this measure that creates our focus on STRESS. By 2015 in just 7 years 23 urban areas of the world will be megalopolis. Just 5 years later in 2020 we are projected to have 20 urban centers with 20 million people. This calls for a new term Explodalopolis, Sprawlalopolis, or Stressalopolis .
Described as the New Urban World this unique UN map shows our present population centers. The most rapid urban growth from 2005-2010 is in Africa with 3.2% followed by the Arab States with 2.8%,… Asia with 2.4%,…. Latin America & Caribbean at 1.7%,.. Oceana at 1.3%,.. North America at 1.3%,.. Europe at .1% and Eastern Europe at -0.4% Red countries are over 75% urban, Gold for example Russia are Predominantly urban 50-74%, blue is predominantly rural 25-49%, and green rural with 0-24% urban. Black defines today’s cities over 10 Million in the Greater Urban Area, our present Megalopolis, this includes Moscow with 13.4 Million. 3,307,950,000 out of 6,615,900,000 live in cities .
Sustainability evolved in the 1980’s to describe a phenomenon to address renewable natural resources as well as the full integration of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, industrial design, urban planning, engineering, graphic design and interior design. Business watched and debated, science gathered data, implementers debated the data. Then regulators said pollution is no longer debatable. Energy supplies and cost became fluctuant. Entrepreneurs began to develop remedies. Investors began to require integrity in the Supply Chains. 40% of carbon emissions were declared from commercial buildings and 30% from automobiles. Real Estate’s Location, Location, Location was redefined.
Measured results are considered Output, they are the result of intake. Intake measures resources going in including energy, land, people, water, money, supply chain, leadership, strategy and efficiency. Output may include waste, carbon, water, energy, productivity, brand, social factors, health, governance and profit or loss. Positive inputs such as quality indoor air has proven to improve productivity of the work force, locally grown organic food in season saves emissions and improves health along with sustaining the local rural economy. Smart buildings generate more energy than they consume.
Today it is ½ in 22 years it will be 2/3. More people needing more resources. The planning process must include Leadership from the Business Community. Governments are needed to put in place the tax and research incentives as well as policies to address issues such as International Waters from both underground aquifers and rivers that traverse borders between states and countries. Today South Carolina is suing North Carolina for damming a river and diminishing the flow. The Supreme Court is delaying the hearing until 2011 to assess the possible expansion of the conflict. What will the World Court determine? Without leadership there will be governance.
We will look at just one natural resource that is in extreme stress and the source of global conflict and urgency. The UN has made 2005-2015 The Decade of Water . This spring the International Real Estate Federation conducted our first EcoFilm Festival on Water as it relates to RE. The five winning films conveyed compelling messages from students around the world from ration tickets to green tap water. Today we do not have the strategies in place to meet the basic human need for safe affordable water and sanitation. A billion people lack safe drinking water and more than 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation. Environmental Outcomes include destruction of aquatic ecosystems from overuse of water by humans and allocation of water rights with no consideration of the needs of the ecosystem. Stress is felt in the Aral Sea, Colorado River and Yellow River. The Human Outcome is 2 million deaths from water-related diseases such as cholera, guinea worm, malaria and diarrhea. Famine and food riots can follow demands for fuels from food crops. Demands for meat in expanding economies require more water for production. Technologies in food productivity and genetics to reduce water demands are required to sustain agriculture to support urbanization. For Livelihood rather than Poverty we will need stronger institutions to handle disputes and governmental research stimulus for solar-powered solutions including desalination. We need an efficiency revolution to include monitoring and metering all water, maps of groundwater basins, hydrologic assessment for sustainable outputs. Some estimate 17 million barrels of oil are used annually to make plastic bottles for water in the US alone. If we can use less oil, we can reduce our demand for water.
Sustainable innovation and leadership with support from government is clearly visualized in this F3 Factory. Let us look at SusChem a European Sustainable Technology Platform for Chemistry Leadership. Multiple stakeholders joined to create a research collaboration focused on Industrial Biotechnology, Materials Technology and Reaction & Process Design, plus generic issues affecting innovation. SusChem is a joint initiative of Cefic and EuropaBio supported by the European Commission . They are promoting F3 (Future, Fast and Flexible) factories all over Europe. This is an approach to “greening” factories and addressing the entire manufacturing process including raw materials, energy, staffing and logistics. This is a competitive sustainability centered project. They are including new and existing facilities. It is an initiative to analyze the whole production process, inspiring new technologies and encompassing a products full life-cycle to minimize the use of resources and improve eco-efficiency. Here is an example of the theory of government structure supporting technological innovation. Recently Thomas Friedman delivered his new book “Hot, Flat and Crowded” offering the opportunity to join a Code Green Revolution. I would recommend this book on the shelf beside Cradle to Cradle. Then leaders should invite their colleagues and neighbors to Innovation Evenings to engage in brainstorming to as an authentic adventure activity. Begin discussion the transition of rooftops and roads to energy generators and permeable surfaces. Recycling and re-using water.
As we anticipate simultaneous climate change and population growth we should seek to expand the participation of new potential innovators into the community building process. Human Resources are Natural Resources . We must bring the rural and developing world on line and create an Idea Bank . We must identify and deputize potential green revolutionaries, providing them the resources and micro loans to be successful in their exploratory ventures. Business must engage with the public sector to share the investment and rewards of innovative technologies. Positive ethical leaders must lend their support to the Policy Structure on a local to international basis. Entrepreneurial contests similar to Photo Contests and Film Contests must honor entrepreneurs for their innovation. The International Real Estate Federation is giving a Sustainability Prix de Excellence Award with International Recognition to the winners real estate project. Finally it is my belief that we are allowing a lot of potential contributors sit on the side lines of the action. Restoration of the earth is very similar to nurturing a family. This is a natural skill for over half the world’s population. I believe there is a popular term “Mother Earth”. There is an army of green revolutionaries to be mobilized and brought into the process. Today over 50% of the students in US law schools and medical schools are women. There are talented women all over this world who can be brought on line to communicate, inspire their children and community leaders while implementing sustainable techniques. This is a human resource we cannot afford to waste.
During a Sustainability Task Force Roundtable Discussion at CoreNet Global earlier this year we discussed the Corporate Finance issue of capital costs vs. operating cost. It became clear the holistic approach is not being implemented in amortizing the cost of green construction as it relates to ongoing operations. During this discussion I coined the term GRR as compared to IRR or a Green Rate of Return that incorporates construction and operating into one integrated number similar to the Internal Rate of Return (after tax) on an real estate investment. These brainstorming sessions can have productive outputs.
This Building in Miami, FL generates more power than it uses and sells back to the grid.
In summary we have looked at Sustainable Technology as the assurance of Intergenerational Equity (from our parents to our grandchildren), assurance of a socially responsible quality of life in the global community and ecological consciousness in all our associations. We know the urban population is exploding and we are challenged to decelerate climate change by accelerating our sustainable collaboration.