Postcards from 2050: Future solutions to challenges in the built environment

Postcards from 2050: Future solutions to challenges in the built environment

UK-GBC asked senior industry leaders (from its Leaders’ Network) to present existing challenges across a range of issues and the next generation of CEOs (from its Future Leaders programme) to respond to each, as if writing from 2050. They’ve sent their postcards - outlining how these challenges were addressed and the leadership demonstrated to create change - back from the future for you to read – hence ‘Postcards from 2050’.

"There’s a rather extraordinary story to be discovered in these postcards. Some are written from a 2015 perspective, looking forward; others from 2050, looking back. On those 35 years – trust me on this one – rests the entire future of humankind on Planet Earth. For the very simple reason that if we haven’t sorted out what needs to get sorted by 2050, it will almost certainly be too late to get it done at all.

And nowhere is that more true than with the built environment. Not to put too fine a point on it, far too high a percentage of new build in the UK (and of current investment in new infrastructure) cannot possibly be described as ‘fit for purpose’ from that 2050 perspective. Worse yet, a very significant percentage of that new build will need to be very expensively and resource-intensively retrofitted to make it truly fit for purpose in the super-efficient, ultra-low-carbon world that awaits us. Forgive my plain speaking, but this is just stupid.

Happily, more and more business leaders in this particular sector are now alert to the scale of this challenge. They may be constrained in what they can do by poor regulation, still largely indifferent investors, and somewhat ambivalent consumers, but there’s a seriousness of intent here that is very encouraging.

And if there wasn’t, those ‘young Turks’ writing from their 2050 vantage point, will no doubt be prodding, cajoling and downright demanding, ever more persuasively, as the years slip by and that window of opportunity starts closing down on us."

Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, Jonathon is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.

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Tags:
futures, 2050, future challenges, low carbon transition, transition scenarios

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