Reconstructing the future for people and planet

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Bauhaus Earth bring together world-renowned practitioners and thinkers on crucial dimensions of the built environment, for a two-day conference Reconstructing the Future for People and Planet from 9-10 June in Rome, Italy.

The conference is preceded by the launch of a Charter, which calls for a radical reimagining of the ways we organise, construct, and inhabit our buildings and cities. It declares the need for a new, regenerative design approach that leverages the inevitable expansion of global urbanisation as a restorative force for the health of the biosphere and stability of the climate. It is a call to action, demanding the complete overhaul of the built environment, conceived and implemented within the limits of our planetary resources

The built environment is a crucial factor in the climate equation: buildings and infrastructures are directly responsible for roughly 40% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, if one adds up the effects of construction, operation, and demolition. The dysfunctional distribution of cities and villages in space causes significant further emissions, especially by forcing people to commute over long distances using vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Beyond the environmental dimensions, contemporary settlements often divide, rather than unite, social strata and leave the “bottom billions” of human beings behind in slums and favelas.

ACC Director Prof Edgar Pieterse, who is one of the co-authors of the Charter will also present a session on how to ‘build’ equity. Colonialism, imperialism, extractivism, and the contemporary global system of consumption have generated massive social inequalities at all scales. These disparities are heavily reflected and cemented by the built environment. His presentation will explore whether and how human equity and ecosystems integrity can be promoted by architecture, as well as dedicated urban and rural design.

Other presenters include the 2022 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is Diébédo Francis Kéré, Kenyan environmentalist and activist, Wanjira Mathai, Prof Lesley Lokko, Prof Vyjayanthi Rao, Prof Carlo Ratti, Sheela Patel as well as starchitects Shigeru Ban and Bjarke Ingels, to name a few. Find the full programme here.

The conference will be live streamed and you can register here.