Nader Ardalan (29/01/2015)

Design Sustainability and Green Communities
Nader Ardalan 
Architect, Fellow, Center for Middle Eastern Studies - Harvard University 

The common definition of sustainability is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.”  The Paradigm Shift that a Sustainable Life Style demands is so vast that it will require a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach within the next five years on an urgent basis to establish the framework, followed by rigorous application and monitoring. 
Global protocols will have to be established and monitored, such as the UN Interplenary Reports have been providing, but with more intergovernmental methods of controls to meet national and regional targets. National Sustainable Standards that are designed to relate to the specific Bio-Climatic and Socio-Cultural Zones of each country should be the approach. Such Standards have been developing in most countries already through the Green Building Council process and other similar initiatives and should be developed for all nations. Coordination between national standards would be beneficial so these standards speak the same language, similar to various Engineering Standards such as ASTM. However, these standards tend to be more productive when based upon an Incentive Programs for Developers and the Public to take advantage of, rather than Obligatory legislation that may pose more stringent enforcement with potentially negative results.  Professional organizations should help formulate the national standards and educate their respective members in the ethics and value of employing Sustainable Standards. There is a understandable fear by some professionals that creativity, innovation and freedom of design might suffer from a heavy-handed application of Sustainable Standards, particularly, what would be the good of “Energy-Efficient Machine Buildings” that are qualitatively insufferable to live or work in?  The General Public needs to become educated and much more aware of the value and benefits of more Sustainable Ways of Living. One that is less resource consumptive, more harmonious with the natural environment, less energy and water demanding, and based upon a compact, mixed use, pedestrian based, human scaled built environment. 
Description: 
The Principles of Design for the Ideal Human Settlements should be: 
Human Scale and Well Being  
Environmental Sustainability 
Cultural Relevance 
Financial Viability 
Visionary Architecture 
Spiritual Growth 

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