The Carbon Landscape – Using the Free Market to Fight Climate Change

Urban Design Australia Conference Craig PocockWhile the global community is redirecting its attention to the financial markets the rate of global warming is not slowing down. Can marketplace economics be redirected to deliver a reduction in the rate of global warming and what role does urban design play in this? The research of “The Carbon Landscape-Managing the Carbon Impact in Landscape Design,”  suggests that the most significant carbon cost of design work is not in travel or running an office but in the materials specified for projects.

The planting implemented within a project is unlikely to offset the embodied energy of the materials, resulting in 99% of urban design contributing to climate change. What would happen if the urban design community and associated institutes used their collective voice to send a message to the manufacturing industry that they wanted lower embodied energy products? What would be the flow on effect to climate change, energy consumption, raw material consumption, water consumption and pollution?

If urban designers want to make a significant positive impact on climate change then they have to be willing to use unconventional tools and design institutions need to reconsider their role within the economic environment. Is it time to re-examine the role of design institutes and government organisations within climate change management? Can we have a meaningful dialogue with the material industry? How might organizations empower members with information to make decisions on design to reduce their impact on climate change. These questions and other ideas will be illustrated with examples from New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects and the potential management of its members’ economic buying power.

Mr Craig Pocock, Director, Pocock Design Environment Limited, NZ, New Zealand will present at the 5th International Urban Design Conference – The Hilton on the Park, Melbourne, Australia from the 10th to the 12th of September – 2012

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