Learning from disruption webinar series
curated by The Edge

Stay calm with your eyes wide open, be in the here and now:  ‘A blueprint for acting effectively on climate change in a time of crisis’

After the ‘Big Pause’ with time for ‘reflection’ are we ready for systems change and commitment to ‘The Great Transition’ by embracing ‘reality’ and ‘reset’ and ‘reinvent’ to genuinely move forward to build back better and greener? It is challenging, and even frightening, to be living in a time of climate + ecological + pandemic + economic crisis. Equally it is also no time to respond by short-term, panic led decision making, but rather a time to keep calm and remind ourselves of what we know to enable effective and lasting actions on the really big existential threats of climate and ecological breakdown.

Today, we are at a pivotal moment to learn from this massive international disruption, to take stock, to look at ourselves and our industry, to re-evaluate what is really important for the long term by being prepared for future disruptions while ensuring that climate change, environmental degradation and social injustice are addressed. Joining ‘the Great Transition’ to deliver change!

Join our series of six webinars.

NEXT WEBINAR

Session 4 – Tuesday 20 October 2020, 12pm (BST)

Working from home is not, of course, an option for everyone but, when the pandemic is over and Covid-19 becomes ‘just another virus’ for us to live with, will employers and employees want to revert to the previous ‘office’ model? For those who can, will ‘working from home’, or mostly doing so, become their preferred choice? What are the positive benefits and negative effects of more home working?

Of course, the concept of working from home (WfH) raises a number of questions such as: if regular access to an office building is not required, will people want to live in cities? What is the impact of large scale migration to smaller towns or rural communities? Is WfH more sustainable or is one cost (commuting, offices) transferred to another (home working space, additional home energy use)? What is the impact on real estate when or if office space is considered redundant? An organisation might save money by closing offices but is it more efficient or productive? What are the impacts on people’s mental health when working exclusively from home?

What does it mean in terms of home workspaces and home design? Will many existing office buildings become stranded assets? Will we demand that the buildings we occupy are healthier? What will be the re-use of vacant office space? Will we reject tall towers with dependence on confined spaces i.e. lifts, and mechanical air handling systems. Will we insist on nearby open spaces? Is it time for a rethink on the future of work?

Jason Longhurst

Chairman & Chief Executive
UK Business Council for Sustainable Development (UKBCSD)

Doug Jones

Senior Director
CBRE

Nicola Gillen

Head of Total Workplace EMEA
Cushman Wakefield

Julia Park

Head of Housing Research
Levitt Bernstein

Ed Houghton

Head of Research & Service Design
DG Cities

UPCOMING webinars

Session 5 – Tuesday 27 October 2020, 12pm (GMT)

Our lives depend on the four elements – water, air, fire (energy) and earth (soil and land). Human activity is having a significant impact on all four – our choice of energy supply has led to the present climate emergency; our disregard for ‘earth’ and the ecosystems on which we depend through deforestation and increasingly industrialised farming methods has led to the present ecological emergency and the increased risk of pandemics; our assumption that water is free and limitless has encouraged us to develop in parts of the world and also in those parts of the UK which are most water challenged and a cavalier attitude to protecting water quality – only 14% of our rivers are ecologically sound – and the way that we manage water is energy-intensive; we have ignored air quality in our cities to the point where unnecessary numbers of people are dying as a result. Time for a reality check?

Peter Head

Founder & CEO
Ecological Sequestration Trust

Ellen Fay

Founder & Executive Director
Sustainable Soils Alliance

William Bloss

Professor of Atmospheric Science
University of Birmingham

Tadj Oreszczyn

Professor of Energy and Environment
UCL Energy Institute

Allan Simpson

Strategic Growth Manager
Anglian Water

WATCH ON DEMAND

Session 3 – Tuesday 13 October 2020, 12pm (BST)

The IPCC 1.5º Report (2018) already highlighted the need to build and live differently in cities if we are to overcome vulnerability to climate change for place and people, especially in areas of social deprivation and inequality. Now we also have the impacts of Covid-19, and the period of national lockdown exposed several weaknesses in our cities and urban environments. Is this the moment to grasp some nettles and really do things differently?

The government seeks to ‘level up’. Is this a starting point to rebalance the situation away from London? Should we plan in terms of the city where the services and places supporting quality of life are available within a 15-minute walk from home? Is it time to review density and to focus more on what people need from their physical surroundings? This session will consider the economic, social and physical conditions to enable cities to serve their citizens fully.

Erin Walsh

Director of Built Environment
Connected Places Catapult

Dan Epstein

Founder
Useful Simple Trust

Deborah Henderson

Founder & Managing Director
Centre for Inspired Leadership

Jenny Pickerill

Professor of Environmental Geography & Head of Department of Geography
University of Sheffield

Sophie Thomas

Founder
Thomas.Matthews & The Great Recovery Project

Session 2 – Tuesday 6 October 2020

A recent National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) report called on the government to “publish resilience standards every five years, and for stress tests for utilities and other infrastructure such as transport.” We know that our rivers are under stress with only about 14% in a good ecological condition. Do we develop in the right places? Do we properly link development sites with low carbon transport systems?

Adding to our difficulties is the fact that much of our existing infrastructure is outdated and poorly maintained and the NIC called for the government to tackle this issue as a ‘green recovery priority’. This session will look at the priorities for ensuring a more climate-resilient national infrastructure.

Clotilde Robin

Associate
Expedition Engineering

Dr Wei Yang

Vice-President
Royal Town Planning Institute

Kathryn Brown

Head of Adaptation
Committee on Climate Change

Heleni Pantelidou

Associate Director Infrastructure
Arup

Dimitri Zenghelis

Senior Visiting Fellow
Grantham Institute of Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics

Session 1 – Tuesday 29 September 2020

According to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. There is a large body of evidence from research and practice/industry setting out what needs to be done and by whom beyond the construction industry need to engage such as economists, behaviour scientists, investors, insurers, amongst others as well as policy makers.

The ‘construction industry’ has been described as ‘not fit for purpose’ in the face of the current challenges and a systems change has been called for as part of the Hackitt Review. However, the ‘construction industry’ is not one joined up industry, but is at least four sectors – housing, buildings, infrastructure and mega projects – each with their own fees, procurement, design process and structures. This add further complexities for system change.

Robin Nicholson

Partner
Cullinan Studio & Convenor of the Edge

Chris Blackwell

Founder & CEO
Purpose Led Performance

Deborah Henderson

Founder & Managing Director
Centre for Inspired Leadership

Dr Dorte Rich Jørgensen

Director
Holistic Sustainability

Jennifer Whyte

Professor of Systems Integration, Co-Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation
Imperial College London

Systems change in the construction industry now!

29 September 2020, 12pm (BST)

According to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. There is a large body of evidence from research and practice/industry setting out what needs to be done and by whom beyond the construction industry need to engage such as economists, behaviour scientists, investors, insurers, amongst others as well as policy makers.

The ‘construction industry’ has been described as ‘not fit for purpose’ in the face of the current challenges and a systems change has been called for as part of the Hackitt Review. However, the ‘construction industry’ is not one joined up industry, but is at least four sectors – housing, buildings, infrastructure and mega projects – each with their own fees, procurement, design process and structures. This add further complexities for system change.

How should we address our 3 questions on i) what are we learning from our time of lockdown and beyond to change both as individuals and professionals? ii) What do we keep and what do we change in the industry? iii) If we embrace change, what is our vision for the future? If we don’t, what are the risks?

The proposition put forward in this session is that construction needs a cultural change, and a reinvention if we are to play our part in mitigating climate change. We will explore what this could mean in practice.

Robin Nicholson

Partner, Cullinan Studio and Convenor of the Edge

Robin Nicholson

Partner, Cullinan Studio and Convenor of the Edge

Robin Nicholson

Partner, Cullinan Studio and Convenor of the Edge

Robin Nicholson

Partner, Cullinan Studio and Convenor of the Edge

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