Greater Knowledge Transfer on Sustainability in Construction Industry


Sustainability cannot be generalized, but should integrate histories, geographies and traditions, including contemporary building aspects, and Dubai is a perfect example for these trends that professionals need to emulate and share at all practical levels, according to Elizabeth O’Donell, Associate Dean, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, US.

O’Donell’s remarks came during her address at The Dubai Forum on Architecture for Sustainable Societies’, held on 5 January under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, attended the premier platform organized by Brand Dubai to foster discussions on sustainable development.
O’Donnell said: “This forum was convened as an opportunity for dialogue among professionals and educators concerned with the built environment to discuss contemporary challenges and assess how we might work together to develop a sustainable architecture with an impact both within and beyond the building skin. For architects to remain relevant in this endeavor, they must be willing to develop and critique their work in a context that is not only physical but economic, climatic, social and cultural as well. In this way, architecture can establish relationships, activate and engage civic space, and support human activities that foster, protect and encourage a sustainable future.” Mona Al Marri, Chief Executive Officer of Brand Dubai, said: “Burj Khalifa has sent a clear message about the country’s positive energy, optimism and confidence. The first edition of The Dubai Forum held in collaboration with the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, coincided with the opening of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai and has proved to be an extraordinary podium for information exchange.

“The panelists and teams deserve to be commended for making this forum an effective knowledge sharing platform that we believe will continue to contribute to sustainable development around the region.” Panel discussions at the forum focused on architecture and sustainable communities, architecture and natural forces, media perspectives, architecture and rapid urbanization, architecture and cultural sustainability.
Speaking on Architecture and Natural Forces’, Dr. Vandana Sehgal, Architect and Professor of Uttar Pradesh Technical University, India, said: “Building the Burj Khalifa tower has been a long and momentous journey from what I gather. Sustainability is personal to everyone, every region, and every context.
“We should however, not be concerned about the extent of accomplishment alone, but the economic stability of a building as well, based on what the country’s leaders propagate.” Panelists discussing the role of media and its perspectives in creating architectural and sustainable societies in the region felt the process of social change on sustainability though slow at present, needs to take its natural course. The experts agreed that media can assist by highlighting the latest technologies available, associated costs, and how things that are evolving now are set to make life better.

Hendrik Hertzberg, Senior Editor, The New Yorker, said: “Cultural sustainability means social sustainability, political sustainability, sustainability of a community, and a city is a reflection of a society’s past, mistakes it has made, the novel ideas it currently nurtures and its aspirations for the future.
“Dubai is unique because it has sprung to life in the shortest span of time. Most cities evolve over centuries or decades; but the emirate has successfully achieved this in less than a generation.” The event hosted over 40 speakers, panelists, and more than 400 delegates from 15 countries.


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