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Two webinars: Re-connecting our Cities with Nature
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Two webinars: Re-connecting our Cities with Nature

As the importance of the human connection with nature becomes more and more evident, we need practical solutions for introducing nature into our demanding urban environments – for all the resulting social, economic and environmental benefits that can be gleaned.


Creating Nature Connections: Biophilia for Google

On 13 May, GreenED hosted ‘Creating Nature Connections: Biophilia for Google’. In this session, Parabola Architecture’s co-founders Kevin Burke and Carrie Meinberg Burke, highlighted the goals, insights and regenerative outcomes from the application of a biophilia framework at Google’s headquarters at 1212 Bordeaux in California. Among the project’s numerous awards were recognition as a Kellert Biophilia Design Award 2018 Finalist (ILFI) and Architectural Record’s ‘Good Design is Good Business’ Award 2018.

Biophilia is the concept that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature and natural systems. Even more significant than improving the environmental performance of a building is the ability of biophilia to enhance the life of the occupants, promoting better health, job satisfaction and productivity.

The brief for Google’s first completed ground-up building was for an adaptable high-performance “living lab” workplace, which required using a streamlined design process, to allow decision latency to be reduced in order to meet a very tight schedule and budget. Says Carrie Meinberg Burke, “Biophilia was not an add-on or luxury. It emerged from the team’s decisions on how to spend resources – money, time and physical materials. It wasn’t a checklist approach but rather the idea of infusing sustainability and biophilia into the design.”

View this webinar here.

Realigning Buildings with Nature

On 27 May, the Living Future Collaborative (LFCSA) presented ‘Realigning Buildings with Nature’ sponsored by ecoSolv Technologies, which focussed on the aim of the Living Building Challenge Place Petal to restore a healthy relationship between nature, place and community.

The LBC Place Petal imperatives articulate how to integrate ecology and community into architecture; include the generation of local, fresh and seasonal food; and encourage the creation of communities around pedestrianisation. The first speaker, Marc Sherratt (founder of Marc Sherratt Sustainability Architects and Net Zero Accredited Professional) spoke about the ‘Ecology of Place’. After setting the scene in terms of global ecological scenarios, Sherrat then explained the steps required to achieve the ‘Ecology of Place’ imperative, and explored Johannesburg’s unique social and ecological context through case studies.

Our second speaker Brendon Martens (managing director of Martens Impact Advisory) then spoke about ‘Urban Agriculture in the Inner City: A Case Study of Johannesburg’ – and looked at integrating urban agriculture into the built environment and how this can be done successfully and sustainably. He introduced the Urban Agriculture Initiative (UAI) and its aims of creating a commercial model for urban farming and developing a sustainable food security model; and presented initiatives throughout Johannesburg – highlighting how the UAI aligns with the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) Impact Areas and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

View this webinar here.

 For more courses on green buildings, sustainable and regenerative design, visit GreenED.

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