COP26 & the impact of the built environment on people and planet

Reflections from COP26, Glasgow, originally published on LinkedIn, November 2021

Installation by artist Robert Montgomery at the Sustainable Landing Hub in Glasgow, 2021

“We, as indigenous people, are a living solution to the climate crisis (…) we have ancestral knowledge of how to take care of our land and territory. Stop treating us like we don’t know how to live, how to exist.”

Such went the cry above the crowd, and rightly so. Making up just 5% of the world’s population, indigenous peoples protect 80% of global biodiversity. Perhaps part of the answer to tackling our impact on the environment lies not in novel smart solutions, but buried deep in our past.

Speaking at COP26 on sustainable communities

On Wednesday (November 10, 2021), I had the opportunity to discuss how to engage with communities around sustainability issues at Urban Design Group’s COP26 event. Our panel was moderated by Chris Martin (Urban Movement), and attended by Parisa Wright (Greener & Cleaner), Marie Williams (Dream Networks), and David Milner (Create Streets).

  1. The importance of bringing communities along on the journey towards a more sustainable future, developing and implementing solutions through cooperation.
  2. The lack of current options for communities to enhance their understanding of — let alone adopt — more sustainable lifestyle patterns.
  3. The opportunity for using co-creation and experimentation methods to test alternative experiences and affect behavioural change.

We have to reframe the message in a way that people understand.

Hassell recently completed a survey of people’s lifestyle preferences (administered by YouGov Plc. and published in the report “Close to Home”, available here), with findings that further highlight the necessity for design and societal change to be delivered hand-in-hand.

Catalysing cultural change by design



Cities Research. Strategic Design. Urban Innovation.

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