Planet Smart City acquires architectural and engineering business

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Planet Smart City acquires architectural and engineering business
Planet Smart City announces plans for more than 50 smart projects in three years
Planet Smart City collaboration to help create 15,000 housing units in India
Planet Smart City’s ‘operating system’ vision for affordable housing

Earth Day is an initiative to raise sustainability awareness

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This Sustainability article by Tom Swallow on the commemoration of Earth Day. Accordingly, the author proposes that it is an initiative to raise sustainability awareness.

April 22, 2022

Earth Day is an initiative to raise sustainability awareness

Organisations are putting forward their sustainability sentiments as they highlight their ESG commitments in light of the April 2022 Earth Day initiative

While sustainability is a global issue that is recognised 24/7, 365 days a year, by businesses and non-governmental organisations alike, on the 22nd of April each year, the world comes together for Earth Day. The day recognises the significance of positive environmental impact and the economic and political intervention required to provoke necessary change. 

Organisations across the globe are highlighting their commitments to sustainable development on this day as many of them set their sights on the net-zero emissions goal. The event sees more than one billion people mobilised as they take various non-profit actions to clean up beaches in more than 190 countries—a tradition that began in 1970. 

The 2022 Earth Day theme is ‘Invest in our Planet’ and will host a live stream of the Earth Day Climate Action Summit featuring insights to promote prosperity among viewers and—similar to other events like the COP series—provoke positive change.

Organisations recognise ESG on Earth Day

The message behind ‘Earth’ Day is not only to promote sustainability in terms of the climate but to recognise that environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics are all important in ensuring a well-rounded approach. Consideration for all three areas of ESG is universal, not just for the organisations with direct impacts on the plant. As an example, Zai Lab Limited, an innovative global biopharmaceutical firm, is working with a global charity to plant more trees and reduce its carbon footprint while regenerating the environment. 

Its partnership with One Tree Planted will see that one tree is planted for each of Zai Lab’s employees, which made up a total workforce of almost 2,000 personnel. Chief Sustainability Officer at Zai lab, Jim Massey says that “as a young, vibrant and growing healthcare company, Zai Lab commits to ‘Grow Green’ which means we are laying the groundwork for the sustainability of our business and our planet.” The firm is recognised as a preferred partner, thanks to its commitment to ESG throughout the business. 

Partnerships are crucial for sustainable action

It’s no news that partnership can open up unseen opportunities for businesses—particularly those that operate and expand globally. Larger organisations are partnering with small-to-medium enterprises to support small initiatives that can make huge impacts on the planet. Beyond its partnership in electric vehicle chargingBolt is also taking regenerative action by supporting Seedballs Kenya, an initiative that is regenerating land with a key bio-energy resource, charcoal—a commonly used form of energy production in Nairobi.

Seedballs Kenya is a prime example of a localised circular economy as it uses biochar, produced from charcoal dust, as a protective layer for its seeds in areas that are seemingly difficult to regenerate. This forms the Seedball.

Supporting initiatives like this one is driving innovation in the direction of a circular economy and more organisations are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by investing in regenerative horticulture and agriculture. 

Teddy Kinyanjui, a Co-Founder of Seedballs, emphasises the importance of initiatives like these. 

“In Kenya, like many other countries, the forests and grasslands are under great pressure. One of the many challenges of landscape-scale restoration is that indigenous seeds are often food for different types of animals like mice and birds,” Kinyanjui says.

“That’s where we come in. The Seedballs programme overcomes this challenge by coating native seeds in waste charcoal dust which prevents the seeds from being eaten. This means that the native grass and tree seeds can be planted year-round rather than waiting for the rainy season. When it rains enough, the charcoal dust dissolves and the seed sinks into the ground back to its natural state, ready to grow.”

The Head of Sustainability at Bolt, Natalia Gutiérrez also comments on this and how the company’s core values catalyed its partnership with Seedballs.

“Bolt is built on a culture of operating in the most efficient way possible and we apply those values in how we mitigate our own environmental impact,” says Gutiérrez. 

“We have handpicked a select number of projects where we collaborate closely with NGOs and other partners on local initiatives that we are confident will maximise the positive impact we can have on the environment. We are proud to announce Seedballs Kenya as the first project of this kind we are investing in and look forward to seeing the difference it will make in areas of Kenya where reforestation was unlikely to occur naturally.”

Every business can become more sustainable

There are many avenues that companies can follow as their path towards sustainability. This will most certainly look different for every organisation, which is why Earth Day brings together many of the new ideas and initiatives that shape their ESG strategies and address concerns around waste management, energy consumption and sourcing, greenhouse gas emissions, social justice and governance.

In the ever-growing food delivery market, changes have happened at an unprecedented rate—partly due to COVID-19 as consumer sentiments accelerate towards more sustainable products and services. In particular, food waste is a challenge that businesses in this space are concerned about. According to the UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, more than 900 million tonnes of food is wasted every year and consumers have made positive changes to the way they consume food. 

  • 67% of respondents to a survey said they keep leftovers and use them for another meal
  • 51% of consumers are frustrated by food waste
  • 73% prefer to have accurate portion sizes to avoid food waste
  • 68% feel that takeaway restaurants should have better precautions in place to reduce food waste

What makes a good sustainability initiative? 

Where there is no single formula for sustainable business, Earth Day will surely outline some successful initiatives that can be replicated, adapted, and shared with other businesses. Whether it involves being more transparent of sustainability credentials, taking on new projects to improve emissions and waste management with an organisation, or supporting partners in their efforts to regenerate land, Earth Day 2022 hopes to inspire every individual, group and organisation to ‘Invest in our Planet’.

Shaping the built environment means shaping our world

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BIM News published Shaping the built environment means shaping our world that is simply healthy placemaking. It means tackling all negative elements from bearing on or resulting from a built environment in any other way that is unpredictably harmful in any space of time.

Shaping the built environment means shaping our world

November 9, 2021

How buildings and structures influence the society and why digital solutions play a crucial role

What do the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Parthenon in Athens and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai have in common? They are iconic buildings, heritage sites and among the most visited places in the world.

The two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York are also on the list of iconic buildings. The images of the burning twin towers on 11 September 2001, have become indelible in our collective memory: no building symbolised Western capitalism and globalisation so vividly.

These four examples show that buildings are much more than piled-up stones, concrete, steel, wood or glass. They surround us permanently and determine our everyday life and our perception. However, only a few professional groups are usually involved in their design: architects, urban planners and engineers.

Digital solutions, open interfaces and true collaboration

Architecture in particular, which was already considered the “mother of all arts” in antiquity and was supposed to be based on the three principles of stability, utility and beauty.

Today, architects often take on the role of mediator – between the various trades before, during and after the construction process. But it is not only architects who are now looking at a changed role within the construction process; engineers, general contractors and suppliers are also expected to cooperate more – and coordinate with each other, especially as the complexity of projects rises.

Digital solutions, open interfaces and true collaboration are essential. With the help of software, models can be modelled, reviewed and revised more accurately and quickly. This leads to more information, more true collaboration and real value derived from a closer collaboration.

All stakeholders in the building lifecycle are spending more and more time as information managers and organising, structuring and interpreting this information.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are proving to be powerful tools to further maximise the value and potential of data and make timely decisions faster – with positive implications for the entire AEC/O industry.

Benefitting from innovative software

In the planning and design phase of buildings, architects and engineers are already benefitting from innovative software tools that help identify rule-based clashes between models, create accurate construction simulations and schedules, and increase the efficiency of the design phase.

During construction, project managers and site personnel need to make the best use of available resources. Combined with monitoring data from construction sites, patterns that lead to problems can be identified.

Project managers can take corrective action faster – even before problems become critical. Scheduling deliveries to the jobsite and procuring materials can be significantly improved through more efficient routing, loading and inventory management using AI.

While efficiency is the main driver for AI in the construction industry, there is now an increased focus on end-user requirements and the desire for more sustainable buildings. Once a project is complete, AI provides additional benefits throughout the facility’s operation.

Sophisticated building management systems that integrate information from internet-connected sensors and other data collection devices are quickly becoming commonplace.

Buildings that shape the world

Creating buildings that shape the world is quite a task and only in the last few decades have stakeholders been able to rely on digital solutions. Think of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, created more than 250 years ago. For its part, the “metal monster” was considered highly controversial – and ugly.

Today, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of France, one of the city’s landmarks and one of the most visited buildings in the world; more than 250m people have visited the “metal monster” since its opening in 1889. The Eiffel Tower has managed to survive the debates about its shape – and today the fear that it would disfigure the cityscape seems almost absurd.

But sometimes it is the absence of buildings that brings different cultures and walks of life closer together. When two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001 and they collapsed as a result, it didn’t just hit the US; it shook the entire world.

An attack in the heart of the city that reflects globalisation, cultural diversity and international community like no other shook everyone around the globe. The two holes that the collapse tore in the skyline’s silhouette were not filled. Instead, an architect developed a remarkable place of remembrance  – leveraging digital solutions that simulated the scenery.

Digital solutions today are an essential part of the creation, construction and management of buildings and structures. But the result is much more than the planned arrangement of materials. Buildings reflect our relationships with one another, and their basic requirements have remained unchanged over the decades. Buildings must assume a responsibility for us as a society that extends into the future and therefore goes hand-in-hand with the idea of sustainability – helping us shape our world.

Ulrike Beringer

Read original.

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Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk launched

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GRII will provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies. It is about a Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk that is launched as perhaps one of the most substantial outcomes of the COP26.

COP26: Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk launched

Jyoti Mukul  |  New Delhi Last Updated at November 9, 2021.


GRII could enable asset owners to compare portfolio risks across geographies and hazards, as well as helping countries to prioritise national adaptation investments.

Ten global organisations with partial funding and in-kind contributions from the insurance sector and partner institutions have launched a Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII) at COP26.

GRII will provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies. The GRII will be using cross-sector risk modelling experience, including public-private partnerships between governments, academia, insurance and engineering.

Mark Carney, UN special envoy on climate action and finance, Mami Mizutori, assistant secretary-general and special representative of the secretary general for disaster risk reduction in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Eric Andersen, president, Aon, are the patrons for the.

Among the organisations that have come together to launch GRII are United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Insurance Development Forum (IDF), University of Oxford, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) and UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) and British risk and insurance advisory company Willis Towers Watson.

According to Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and CGFI advisory board, the heatwave in Vancouver, the floods in Germany, the polar vortex in Texas and the drought in Madagascar over the last one year had shown the horrifying human costs of climate change. “By making our systems and economies more resilient to climate disruption we can save millions of lives and livelihoods. To inject pace into this vital agenda we need adaptation and resilience to be clearly understood by governments, businesses and communities. The Global Resilience Index Initiative helps deliver that,” said Boyd.

GRII will be a curated, open-source resource offering high level metrics across the built environment, infrastructure, agriculture and societal exposures with many potential applications in aggregated risk management worldwide, said a press statement. “The mission of the GRII is to address the data emergency that is contributing to the climate crisis by helping sectors across the global economy quantify the value of building climate resilience and the costs of doing nothing,” it said.

GRII could enable asset owners to compare portfolio risks across geographies and hazards, as well as helping countries to prioritise national adaptation investments.

The coalition behind the GRII is seeking to achieve two initial goals offer global open reference risk data using metrics built on insurance risk modelling principles; provide shared standards and facilities applicable to a wide range of uses, including corporate climate risk disclosure, national adaptation planning and reporting, and the planning of pre-arranged humanitarian finance.

According to Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, GRII can play an important role by creating a shared understanding of mounting physical climate risks. “In turn, this will help close the insurance protection gap and direct investment and aid to where they are needed the most,” he said.

Mizutori said GRII has the potential to support all sectors in the management of adaptation and resilience, but action and support is required from the private and public sectors to further globalise the initiative. “The next steps are to ensure that countries are able to make full use of the GRII’s potential, particularly at the strategic risk assessment stage, and support governments in making critical climate investment decisions,” he said.

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Reduce Emissions and Combat Climate Change

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“In order to reduce emissions and combat climate change, we need to stop throwing money at dirty fossil fuel projects,” said Markey, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s panel on climate change, clean air, and nuclear safety.

The article and the above image of Common Dreams in an article by Jessica Corbett illustrate well our present-day situation. Would by any chance these words be of any interest to the leaders of the MENA region countries?

Meanwhile, Building magazine NEWS reported that Global warming is a design issue we can solve, per Foster, a renowned British architect.

By Elizabeth Hopkirk, 5 November 2021

Architect made comments at COP26 summit

Norman Foster (left) and John Kerry at the  COP26 conference in Glasgow

The climate crisis is a design issue that we have the brains to solve, Norman Foster told an event at COP26 in Glasgow.

Speaking alongside former US secretary of state John Kerry, the architect revealed how he first became interested in environmental concerns in the 1960s.

The pair – who are neighbours in Martha’s Vineyard, the New England holiday island favoured by the rich and famous – were the keynote guests at a breakfast organised by C40, a global network of mayors.

Foster was asked why architects and urban planners had allowed cities to become clogged with traffic.

“We ignored the lessons of history,” he said adding the post-war rise of the car had encouraged sprawl.

“I think we are rediscovering the benefits of traditional cities and the importance of the infrastructure,” he said. “I’m an architect but I’m probably more passionate as an urbanist about the DNA of a city, the urban glue that binds all the buildings together – the boulevards, the plazas, the public spaces, the bridges, the connections – that’s what determines the quality of urban life and that’s where the investment should go.”

He added: “Global warming is a design issue. We have the ability, we have the brains, we have the technology.”

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