The above-featured image is for illustration and is of Egypt’s new capital under construction / credit to Africa Intelligence
Rapid urbanisation across the globe has seen development plans for whole new cities on the rise, but is there truly a need for them?
Humanity has built new cities throughout history. Some emerged organically to support trade networks, some as defensive strongholds, and others as the realised dream of a modernising monarch or a unifying political leader. In the modern, post-Second World War era, hundreds of deliberately planned new cities have been built or are currently in development. The number of new city projects has exploded in the past two decades – but why?
The world is undergoing its final wave of urbanisation
While most of the high-income world is already about as urbanised as it will likely ever be, with any future charges being marginal, low and middle-income countries are undergoing an urban explosion. India, China and Nigeria alone are expected to add 416 million, 255 million, and 189 million new urban residents, respectfully, by 2050. Nearly all the most rapidly urbanising countries in the world today are located in sub-Saharan Africa, and this region will be home to the world’s leading megacities by the end of the century, surpassing Asia.
But as these countries approach 40%, 50,% or 60% urbanisation, they’re doing so at significantly lower levels of income and with significantly less state capacity than, for example, the US in the 1920s or South Korea in the 1970s.
So as cities throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and elsewhere undergo extremely rapid urban growth, their economies are proving incapable of productively employing a growing, and very young, workforce and their governments are proving incapable of building sufficient infrastructure or providing sufficient public services. These are deeply challenging problems of political economy to solve. New cities are offering a valuable, albeit incomplete, solution.
Building a new city on the outskirts of Lagos or New Delhi doesn’t solve their respective problems overnight. However, it does help meet the overwhelming public demand for new urban spaces and the economic opportunity those spaces are expected to provide. New cities, which are often endowed with some form of special economic zone status, and are targeted towards specific industries, can become new hubs that are far more attractive to potential investors and entrepreneurs, with better policy regimes and infrastructure support, than existing cities.
Retrofitting existing infrastructure can be several times more expensive than building new infrastructure – getting the bones of a city “right” in advance of settlement is helping to address the economic and humanitarian challenges faced by millions of urban dwellers.
For many urbanites worldwide, physical environment limits their economic potential and quality of life
It’s hard to be a remote-working software developer in Nigeria if the internet and electricity are frequently out of service. It’s hard to raise a family in a city where there are no sidewalks or public safety is a major concern. Cities generate economic progress and new ideas by attracting lots of people to a single location, the creation of agglomeration economies.
New city projects like Itana, outside Lagos, or Silicon Zanzibar, are rebuilding these talent networks in new, more attractive, and more productive locations. New cities like Ciudad Morazán, Honduras, or Small Farm Cities Malawi are offering the average family in poor countries quality housing they can actually afford, good jobs, and safe, vibrant communities.
Industrial-scale new cities like Enyimba Economic City, Nigeria, and Gu’an New Industry City, China, are creating the physical and policy environments needed to generate real economic progress, which is not always easily replicated in existing cities.
The history of building new cities
Beyond the economic factors driving the creation of new cities, it’s undeniable that building new cities is an inherently interesting, exciting venture. In the history of new cities, this energy has manifested itself with incredible results, such as St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s Russian gateway to the west. However, at other times, there are new cities that prove to be nothing more than white elephants that waste valuable public revenues or private capital.
It’s great that Brasilia looks like a bird or an aircraft when viewed from above, but whether Brasilia works for those relegated beyond the city’s wings is a more important question. Is Akon’s proposed city with its eponymous cryptocurrency really the right project to accelerate Senegal’s development? How many times are we going to hear about new smart cities being just around the corner in India?
For some new cities, it’s simply too early to render an honest judgment. Saudi Arabia’s Neom project has attracted throngs of admirers and detractors for its unique 170km straight-line urban plan. It could be a bust, like its predecessor King Abdullah Economic City, or it might very well introduce new dynamism to the Saudi economy and even some liberalism to Saudi society. And we shouldn’t forget China’s famous “subway to nowhere,” where just a few short years after this rail expansion was roundly mocked, it became a subway to somewhere.
Humans have always built new cities and have done so for an endless list of reasons
Today’s new city builders are no different, with visions ranging from boosting innovation to unlocking the economic potential for the poor to cementing political or cultural legacies to combatting the effects of climate change and raising sea levels. New cities are “having a moment” as builders and policymakers scramble to answer the immense challenges and opportunities posed by urbanisation at a pace and on a scale never seen before.
The New Cities Map was built by Charter Cities Institute to address these challenges and provide data-driven answers. The open-source database catalogued every contemporary new city built since 1945, recording their development structure, finances, history, and governance. By looking backwards at unprecedented quantitative data, researchers and policymakers will have a greater ability to comprehend what makes a new city succeed or fail.
With the trend of new cities appearing everywhere unlikely to subside, it’s in the global interest to understand how to get them right.
We Expect A Lot From Our Buildings — How Do International Codes Assure Sustainability?
Today, society faces 3 major challenges in the built environment: ensuring building safety, improving sustainability, and addressing our affordable housing crisis.
May is Building Safety Month. Up-to-date international codes can make communities more equipped to endure increasingly frequent and severe weather events, improve sustainability, and address the affordable housing crisis. This year, innovation and collaboration are evolving due to the increasing frequency and severity of global weather events. All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events, and structural collapse.
It seemed to make sense to learn more about how modern and innovative international building codes address these imperatives, how code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe, and how the International Code Council is enabling the flow of innovative policies and practices around the world to improve the built environment.
Q: Thanks for making yourself available to answer some questions. For those unfamiliar with the International Code Council, why is it in existence, and what effect has it had on cities and towns across the globe?
Dominic Sims, CEO of the International Code Council, Photo provided by International Code Council
The International Code Council was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated model building codes. The mission of the Code Council is to steward the development process for model codes that benefit public safety and support the industry’s need for one set of codes without regional limitations. We are a member-focused association with members from across building industries who come together to participate in our democratic and transparent process to develop the most widely used set of building safety codes and standards in the world – the International Codes® (I-Codes®).
Our technical staff works closely with legislators and code officials to help jurisdictions implement the most appropriate set of codes for their specific regions.
Q: I’m struck by the call for reciprocity toward improving sustainability and addressing the affordable housing crisis. These 2 objectives seem not to be related. Might you offer some insights into their symbiosis?
We expect a lot of our buildings. They are complex systems that have broad ranging impacts on our lives and communities. They protect us from hazards, influence our health, and impact our environment. Finding the balance across all these expectations while maintaining affordability is challenging, but the Code Council and governments must navigate these complexities.
Housing affordability is particularly important for low and moderate income households. These households are often the hardest hit by disasters — many of which are exacerbated by climate change — and lack the resources for post-disaster recovery. At the same time, they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on utility bills — in some places 3 times as much as the average household. When we talk about housing affordability, it’s not just whether we can get someone in a house but whether they can afford to stay there.
The International Code Council is currently the only code development organization that actively considers cost as an element of the code development process. Through the code development, process stakeholders from across the building industry come together to identify the best practices for safety and sustainability while ensuring the resulting buildings remain affordable and accessible to broad populations. Naturally, individual communities have their own perspectives on priorities for their building stock. The Code Council provides communities with tools to achieve those priorities from model codes that capture the current consensus to stretch codes that can assist communities in going beyond minimum-level requirements.
Q: May is Building Safety Month. What should our readers know about the need to adopt modern, regularly-updated building codes?
Today, society faces 3 major challenges in the built environment: ensuring building safety, improving sustainability, and addressing our affordable housing crisis. Modern and innovative international codes are society’s first line of defense to address these imperatives. One of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard communities against natural disasters is to build using hazard-resistant building codes.
FEMA studies show that every dollar invested in the adoption of modern building codes provides 11 times more in savings by reducing casualties, lowering the cost of building damage and helping communities get back on their feet faster by minimizing indirect costs such as business interruptions and lost income. We want to emphasize to all communities the importance of adopting modern building codes and stress the critical importance of continued inspection and enforcement to keep buildings and their occupants safe and healthy. We also encourage local governments to fund their building departments to support the needed level of maintenance inspections.
The formula for success in implementing and supporting modern building codes and inspections is simple: staff, train, and finance.
Q: How is the building industry working to increase water efficiency through innovative practices and technologies — not just domestically but worldwide?
Logo provided by ICC
Innovation and collaboration must evolve due to global weather events’ increasing frequency and severity. There are many examples of countries in water-scarce areas that are innovating to increase water efficiency. Those involved in the code development process can draw best practices from the following examples across the globe:
Israel is leading the world through its policies, practices, and technologies for its water resources and conservation, most notably through reclaiming over 80% of its wastewater and stormwater for agricultural operation.
Saudi Arabia boasts the highest production of desalinated water worldwide (the country removes salt out of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf) and is in the process of converting its desalination plants to solar.
Cape Town, South Africa is incorporating automated domestic water metering installations to set a target water usage for each resident per day, leveraging alternative water sources, and updating their supply network infrastructure.
The United Kingdom is cutting water use through water metering, incentives for water-saving technologies, hosepipe bans, and investing in updating the country’s water supply equipment.
The North China Plain has addressed increasing agricultural demands on water through increased monitoring, institutionalized water conservation practices, ground leveling, and more efficient drainage and irrigation sprinklers.
Q: How does Building Safety Month address some of the issues that we face as a global community, including extreme weather events and water scarcity?
Clean water is the world’s most precious commodity, and public health depends on safe and readily available water. The World Health Organization estimates over two billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to worsen in some regions due to a changing climate and population growth. Water conservation and efficiency issues have become crucial conversations amongst building safety professionals in recent years. Building Safety Month raises awareness about these issues by reinforcing the need to adopt modern, regularly-updated building codes, and helps individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.
Q: What additional details or insights might you provide on how we can institute these best practices in the US?
There is currently no national standard on maintenance and inspection. Individual states follow their own enforcement procedures to seek out, modify, adopt and enforce their own building codes and standards. Currently adopted codes, which local jurisdictions can, and do, modify on a case-by-case basis, may or may not include provisions for building re-inspections and maintenance requirements. The International Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC®) established minimum requirements for the maintenance of existing buildings through model code regulations that contain clear and specific maintenance and property improvement provisions. The latest edition is fully compatible with the International Building Code® (IBC®).
Every jurisdiction needs to understand what their specific regional needs are so that their building, maintenance, and re-inspections codes have appropriately specific provisions for the natural, environmental, and emergency conditions more prevalent in their area (e.g., Florida hurricanes, Kansas tornadoes, California earthquakes and wildfires).
The building sector can address pressing environmental problems by leveraging two major trends: circular economy and digital technologies. Circular building practices emphasize restorative design principles, which can significantly reduce the amount of virgin material used and the environmental footprint of buildings. When combined with digital technologies, circular practices can achieve even higher environmental benefits. Such technologies enable visualization of the environmental impact along the entire value chain, facilitating smart design, production, and use to increase material- and eco-efficiency. However, realizing the full potential of these trends requires more than just technological advancements. Institutional, behavioral, and socio-economic system changes are essential to effect a transition towards a circular and digital economy. To facilitate such a transition, a new form of governance is needed, in which network governance complements conventional public governance. Network governance fosters the formation of coalitions of willing partners that jointly strive towards the goal of system change, creating a fertile ground for a new economic paradigm, behavioral change, government regulation and innovation. The effectiveness of network governance in supporting public governance depends on the specific socio-cultural and political context of a country. However, a thoughtful application of this governance model can facilitate the building sector’s journey towards greater material- and environmental efficiency.
The building sector is confronted with the imperative of accelerating its environmental performance. Currently, building and construction generate 36 percent of global energy consumption, produce 40 percent of waste and account for roughly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide1. To tackle these environmental challenges, the building sector must capture the opportunity that two major trends provide: digital technologies and the circular economy. This article explains why these trends can be critical for mitigating the environmental impact of the building sector and outlines strategies for how their implementation can be achieved and accelerated.
The application of digital technologies can benefit the building sector by making the building process more material- and eco-efficient2. A broad field of digital technologies are available and continuously scaling, including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, cyber physical systems, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality3. However, the building sector has just begun to adopt these emerging technologies. Integrating these technologies into daily work processes would significantly add value to the sector4. For instance, data management tools—such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), material passports, lifecycle analysis and material flow analysis—can enhance transparency about the environmental performance of the entire building chain and provide insight into how the chain can become more eco-efficient5.
The broad field of virtual and augmented reality can provide a 3D understanding of how a building is constructed, with what materials, and how this can be attuned to the needs of the customer. In addition, it can optimize resource use during the construction, maintenance, and end-of-life phases. An example is the use of digital twins6. This is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and attendant reasoning to help decision-making, also about material-efficiency7. In addition, 3D printing offers a greener building technique that eliminates a great amount of CO2 emitting and energy-consuming processes compared to conventional building techniques8. Thus, digital technologies can help improve the environmental performance of buildings, particularly when combined with the circular economy.
The concept of the circular economy is simple yet urgent. It highlights the fact that we are overconsuming natural resources, some of which are scarce, on a global scale. In 1970, we only needed one earth to provide mankind with the necessary resources; nowadays we need 1.75 earths. If we continue on our current path, we will require 3 earths by 20509. The Circular Gap Report has revealed that our world is still largely linear10, as we only bring 8.6% of what we use back into the cycle, resulting in a Circularity Gap of over 90%. To address this issue and become more prudent with raw materials, energy, and water, pleas are made to move to a circular economy11. There have been various definitions for the term ‘circular economy’12. However, the common denominator is that it is restorative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles13. This notion is particularly significant important for the building sector because of the high percentage of waste produced. However, this sector is characterized by strong project-based institutionalized practices and market mechanisms, which in many aspects do not facilitate the inclusion of circular economy principles14.
Technically, it is possible to consume far fewer raw materials in the building sector and drastically reduce CO2 emissions. We can extend the lifespan of buildings, redesign them with circularity in mind, reuse parts of them and recycle their materials15. Three Dutch examples serve to illustrate the benefits of building with circular economy principles. For instance, the distribution system operator Alliander—an entity responsible for distributing and managing energy to final consumers—opened its new office in 2015 in Duiven. Although everything about the building exudes style and newness, almost nothing in it is actually new. In fact, 83% of the materials used in the building are recycled. Similarly, in the new Venlo town hall (established in 2016 in the Netherlands) all the raw materials used in the construction can be fully reused with no loss of value. Moreover, the town hall building is entirely energy neutral, thanks to features such as solar panels, thermal energy storage, and solar boilers. The Green House pavilion is the final example, designed to be temporary, as the municipality of Utrecht has plans to redevelop the area in 15 years. The construction used as many recycled materials as possible, which will also be reused when the building is removed. And ultimately, when that happens, there will be no trace left of The Green House in or on the land. The building’s construction is designed to ensure that no pipes, cables, or sewage will remain in the soil under the pavilion, thus minimizing its impact. However, scaling up such iconic projects and making circular building mainstream remains a significant challenge. It requires system innovation, in which technological change goes hand in hand with a socio-economic and behavioral change. The main obstacles to realizing this system change include a focus on short-term goals, complex supply chains, a lack of collaboration between stakeholders, and the absence of a commonly agreed definition of the circular economy within the industry16.
Experiences in circular economy have demonstrated that the aforementioned obstacles can be overcome with effective governance during the transition to a circular system17. This shift requires a fundamental departure from the current linear system in which products are carelessly discarded after use. No single entity, whether it be a company, local government, or NGO, can undertake such a comprehensive system change on their own. Collaboration among partners who are committed to contributing to the change is necessary to establish a robust network. To ensure its efficacy, this network should be orchestrated through a concept known as ‘network governance’. Network governance is not meant to replace conventional public governance, but rather to complement it. It facilitates the attainment of circular objectives and strengthens societal support for more stringent government measures.
A comparative study encompassing 16 countries has illustrated that network governance can offer substantial added value18. However, the extent to which network governance can support public governance is contingent upon specific socio-cultural and political contexts19. For instance, in countries where the government takes a strong leadership role in circular economy and receptivity towards network governance is high, the conditions for initiating and accelerating circular economy are propitious. The Dutch circular building examples mentioned above serve as a case in point. In contrast, where both forms of governance are weak, it is more arduous to launch circular initiatives. Nevertheless, opportunities for developing circular economy can be identified in all 16 countries studied. In Australia, for instance, industry, government, and NGOs exhibit a rather antagonistic attitude towards one another. However, this does not preclude cooperation among these actors in sectors such as building; it simply necessitates additional incentives. For example, when commissioning parties cooperate in restructuring an urban area and implementing circular strategies, they can urge the network of contractors to exchange data and adopt an integrated circular approach. Digital technologies can reinforce such cooperation.
Hence, the building sector worldwide can make substantial strides on the path to circular economy when new forms of network cooperation among pertinent actors are implemented in conjunction with government leadership. Individual actors frequently hesitate to assume leadership roles in system change, as they do not perceive it to be their core business and await others to step forward. To resolve this predicament, independent intermediaries, known as transition brokers, can play a pivotal role in orchestrating the change process. They can align actors with divergent interests around a shared vision and resolve impasses. To be effective, transition brokers must possess a specific set of competencies and acquire the mandate to function as intermediaries. Once accepted, transition brokers can accelerate the process significantly.
Researchers can also contribute to the transition towards a circular building sector. However, to render their research socially relevant, individual projects should be clustered around themes that collectively portray the broader picture of transitioning to a circular economy. In this way, research can be mobilized that centers on fundamental solutions confronting society today. Generalists with sufficient knowledge about the variety of innovations and the specifics of the building sector are certainly equipped to bundle research and highlight the most promising innovations. These knowledge brokers can facilitate the utilization of research in practical applications in the building sector, in the short or long term20. This would enhance the value of the arduous work undertaken by numerous researchers in the field of the built environment.
Earthquake and Wind Programs Branch Civil Engineer Pataya Scott, PhD shares more about the work FEMA does to improve building codes and standards. The Role We (FEMA) Play in Earthquake Preparedness is inspiringly here for all those in the MENA region concerned by a possible repeat of the same recent disastrous events.
The Role We Play in Earthquake Preparedness
After the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria last month, you may have wondered: in a similar event, what would have happened to buildings in the United States?
For more than 40 years, FEMA has worked with our partners to improve building codes and standards, as well as advance their adoption and enforcement across the nation. While these improvements are significant, there are still older buildings in our country that are at risk of collapse during an earthquake.
More work is needed to avoid the kind of regional disaster Turkey and Syria are experiencing after the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes. Many existing buildings in the United States are likely to perform poorly in earthquakes because they are built to outdated standards or, in some cases, no standards at all. These buildings remain vulnerable to collapse in seismic regions like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains, the New Madrid region, South Carolina, the Eastern United States, Puerto Rico and Oklahoma.
To explore how these areas would be affected during a major earthquake event, you can use FEMA’s Hazus Loss Library. This tool demonstrates the cost of life and severity of damage that would happen in earthquake events similar to those in Turkey and Syria. While the numbers presented in these scenarios might be less than what those regions endured, they still represent a significant risk and enforce the need for the nation to improve its built environment.
Modern codes and standards are only effective if they are properly enforced. Turkey is known for having a current building code, similar to many parts of the United States, but implementation has historically been an issue. Regional differences in code adoption and enforcement mean that some communities may not benefit from the protection offered by stronger codes. Ongoing advocacy for both code adoption and enforcement is still needed.
FEMA is always focused on improvements. We look at the latest lessons-learned information, new science and technology. We also collaborate with many government sectors to address and mitigate a community’s risk with existing buildings. This work includes improved methods for risk assessment, prioritization and retrofit, as well as support for developing and adopting effective mitigation policies and practices, which could include replacing with new buildings.
New attention on post-disaster response and recovery has suggested that emphasis on building collapse prevention may not be enough. Disaster-resilient communities need buildings that can be occupied following a hazard event and provide functions and services necessary for meeting essential community needs and maintaining economic vitality. This means buildings that not only stand strong after an earthquake but still allow residents to safely use things like running water and electricity.
There are many actions you can take on a personal level to improve your own community’s earthquake resilience.
Practice Safety Drills. Since earthquakes can happen without notice or warning, be prepared by practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
Make an Emergency Plan.Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated. Make a supply kit that includes enough non-perishable food, water and medications for several days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher and a whistle. Prepare for pets and service animals, too.
Protect Your Home. Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, water heaters, televisions and objects that hang on walls. Also consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy since a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
Dynamic computer models of cities known as ‘digital twins’ could help drive sustainable development across the world’s urban areas, an international team of authors argues in the journal Nature Sustainability.
Digital twins are more than just static models. They incorporate near-real-time data from sensors and other sources to produce “virtual replicas,” the authors explain—“in silico equivalents of real-world objects.”
The concept of digital twins first arose in manufacturing, and they are primarily used in product and process engineering. But the models have also been employed in fields ranging from personalized medicine to climate forecasting, at scales from the molecular to the planetary.
Many researchers have posited that digital twins will be a powerful tool for sustainability efforts. But nobody has taken a rigorous look at the benefits and pitfalls of urban digital twins. The new study takes on that task, paying particular attention to the potential for the modeling approach to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Digital twins have a variety of potential benefits in this realm, the researchers say. They can help cities allocate resources more efficiently—design more effective water grids, predict traffic congestion to guide transportation planning, simulate consumer behavior to recommend energy-saving measures, and so on.
In addition, “In silico models provide a virtual space where new clean technologies, which promise resource efficiency but may cause unintended harm, can be tested at a speed and scale that may otherwise be inhibited by the precautionary principle,” the researchers write. For example, they could help cities figure out how to incorporate renewable sources of energy into the grid without compromising reliability.
Digital twins could also help scientists and policymakers to collaborate across disciplines, agencies, levels of government, and geographic distances. And they could aid cities in monitoring and reporting progress on the Sustainable Development Goals or other sustainability aims.
Some of the authors of the paper have been involved in the development of a digital twin for Fishermans Bend, an urban renewal project in Melbourne, Australia. The model includes more than 1,400 layers of both historical and real-time data from public and private sources. More than 20 government agencies and municipalities are using the model to analyze how proposed buildings will affect sunlight falling on open space and vegetation, forecast tram traffic patterns, and address other planning questions.
Digital twin models are also being used in cities including Zurich, Singapore, and Shanghai to monitor noise and pollution and facilitate urban planning that takes into account population growth and climate change.
But there are pitfalls to the digital twin approach, too. Because they require so much data, advanced computing power, and technological know-how, digital twins have the potential to exacerbate digital divides, especially between high-income and lower-income countries.
What’s more, even the most complex model may fall short in representing the multifarious nature of a real-life city. The data necessary to underpin a successful digital twin may be unavailable, inaccessible, or incompatible with other sources. And the social-science aspects of digital twins are especially poorly understood.
Finally, models can be optimized for the wrong targets. There are inherent contradictions between different Sustainable Development Goals, and programmers have to take care about how outcomes and parameters are prioritized, the researchers say. For whom and by whom are these decisions made—and who’s left out of the process?
To avoid these pitfalls of digital twins—and reap the potential benefits, the researchers recommend that governments and international institutions get involved in bridging digital divides; leaving digital twin technology to the marketplace virtually guarantees that low-resource countries will be left behind.
They also call on those creating and implementing digital twins of cities to pay attention to social and ethical responsibility. “A central question that derives from these issues is: to what extent are those who may be affected by the decisions based on simulation models included in their design and deployment?” they write.
“Interestingly in such instances, digital twins themselves can raise awareness among planners and policymakers of socioeconomic inequalities, thereby becoming instruments of inclusion,” the researchers add.
Source: Tzachor A. et al. “Potential and limitations of digital twins to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” Nature Sustainability 2022.
Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
Traditional construction methods were no match for the earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday night, an engineering expert says, and the area will continue to see such devastation unless updated building techniques are adopted.
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