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Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections from the UIA2023 Congress

The UIA2023 Congress in Copenhagen (UIA2023) marked a momentous occasion for architects from around the world. At the closing ceremony of the congress, delegates gathered to share their key takeaways and visions for a more sustainable future in architecture and urban development.

The following captures the essence of their inspiring messages and the important commitments made during the congress:

  • Dignity and Inclusion "Dignity for all people is fundamental in architecture. There is no beauty in exclusion."

This powerful statement echoed through the halls of UIA2023, reminding architects of their responsibility to create spaces that foster inclusivity and accessibility. The delegates recognized that achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG1) and SDG11 required accommodating those at risk of being left behind as a top priority in the design, planning, and construction processes.

  • Reuse and Sustainability "Reuse. Let's use the materials that we have."

The delegates passionately advocated for sustainable practices, emphasizing the importance of SDG9, SDG12, and SDG13. They highlighted the need to prioritize reuse and reduce waste in construction. No new development should erase green fields (SDG13, SDG15), and virgin mineral materials should be avoided when reuse is possible (SDG9, SDG12). The architects pledged to adopt circular economy principles, promoting sustainable material choices and minimizing the environmental impact of their projects.

  • Protecting Natural Ecosystems "Natural ecosystems and food production must be sustained regardless of the built context."

The delegates acknowledged the significance of SDG2, SDG11, and SDG15 in safeguarding the environment and supporting local communities. They stressed the importance of harmonizing the built environment with nature, ensuring that every construction activity prioritized the preservation of natural habitats and the sustainable production of food.

  • Minimizing Waste and Local Sourcing "No waste must be produced or left behind in construction."

The architects took a firm stance on SDG19, pledging to minimize waste and implement effective waste management strategies throughout the construction process. Furthermore, they emphasized the need to prioritize local renewable materials when sourcing for construction (SDG12). By supporting local industries, architects aimed to reduce transportation emissions and foster regional economic growth.

  • Carbon Capture and Water Conservation "In everything we build, carbon capture must exceed carbon footprint."

The delegates recognized the urgency of combating climate change (SDG12) and stressed the importance of carbon-neutral architecture. They committed to integrating innovative technologies and sustainable practices to ensure that every building had a positive impact on the environment. Water conservation also took center stage, as the architects emphasized that all activities related to urban development must prioritize clean water supply and protect water ecosystems (SDG6).

At the closing of the UIA2023 Congress, the delegates left with a renewed sense of purpose and a shared vision for a sustainable future in architecture. By embracing the takeaways from the congress, architects worldwide would strive to create inclusive spaces, promote reuse and sustainability, protect natural ecosystems, minimize waste, prioritize local sourcing, and ensure carbon neutrality and water conservation in all their projects. Through their collective efforts, they aimed to leave a positive and lasting impact on the world, one building at a time.

Photo credit: UIA (CC)

32 views2 comments


Alex Reynolds
Alex Reynolds
6 days ago

The way you write is really good. I'm really happy I read it. It kept me interested the whole time quordle


Stanley Morin
Stanley Morin
Jul 18, 2023

Just don't ignore dangers too much -- always keep yourself safe and do not take risks you will end up regretting in the tunnel rush future!

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