With more than half of the world’s seven billion population now living in cities and a further billion people predicted to move from the countryside to cities over the next 30 years, never has the role of the civil engineer been more crucial to society.
Our ability to design and deliver new, sustainable urban development will be challenged not just by ensuring appropriate engineering solutions but solutions which are able to be delivered at a scale and speeds never achieved before but are also able to adapt to changing climates and environments. Equally, existing cities will be reinventing and regenerating themselves so as to remain competitive and economically viable in an increasingly global marketplace.
The creation and delivery of new high-quality, functional urban environments is a complex process. At its best, it demands inspirational vision combined with an understanding of the present and historic context.
Creative, functional, flexible and sustainable masterplans, that unlock the potential of long-term developments for the benefit of all and that are truly ‘stitched back’ into the communities they serve, depend on collaboration, contextualisation and commitment. The design approach needs to be both comprehensive and holistic and should withstand assessment and challenge.
In addition to contemporary scrutiny, new developments need to be capable of standing the more onerous test of time. There is a need to both anticipate change and make allowances for the unforeseen. Designers should consider current trends and future opportunities and ensure that plans have an inherent flexibility. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the need to make sure any new development proposal is as sustainable as it is practicable.
At Buro Happold we are pioneering the design of low-energy, high performance and modular forms of buildings and systems. We are also continuing to examine and identify new and more responsible ways to limit our use of natural resources – by adopting more efficient approaches, seeking more proficient methods to move people, products and waste and encourage new and alternative technologies to meet existing needs.
As engineers we believe that new and innovative approaches are certain to play a central role in the development of creative, functional, flexible and sustainable masterplans for urban living, which will help our clients achieve their vision for accessible and sustainable developments whislt safeguarding the longevity of our planet and improve the quality of the places that we create, for future generations to come.