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Natalie Mossins tale ved afslutningsceremonien for ”Sustinable Futures – Leave No One Behind”

Nana Reimers



Natalie Mossin
Arkitekt og institutleder ved Det Kongelige Akademi



Bella Center, Amager


Talen blev holdt afslutningsceremonien for UIA's verdenskongres for arkitekter i København.



I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who has contributed with your knowledge, in so many ways, to this Congress, and also to all the staff which have helped make this possible.
When we share our knowledge, we learn. We learn by sharing our own knowledge because it helps us reflect, it helps us condense and formulate what we are working with. Then, when we listen, we learn as well, we take home the experience and the knowledge that others have gathered for us. Hopefully, by sharing your knowledge, by formulating and sharing what you think about how architecture can contribute to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and by listening to others reflect on what they are working with, what they are bringing to the table, you have all learned something and are bringing home lessons from this congress. 
From our side, from the congress side, we have tried to condense some of what we have learned in this seven-year journey of producing this congress. And I will share that with you now, here today, formulated as 10 principles to build on.
First of all, dignity and agency for all people is fundamental in architecture, there is no beauty in exclusion. What you have all shared and what is so fundamental is that we built for people. As Jan Gehl has said, the mark of a truly good architect is a love for the people. We do not build for anything else. We do not build for institutions; we do not build as symbols of powers or anything else. We build for people. 
Secondly, people at risk of being left behind must be accommodated first when we construct, plan, and develop the built environment. The UN often list six factors we must think about, when we consider who are at risk of being left behind. That’s poverty, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, and ability. We must think first and foremost of people at risk of being left behind when we build. We have worked with Rambøll and Henning Larsen Architects to try to bring some of the data that show these problems to you, there is a lot more than what I can show you today, and hopefully we can dive into that on a later occasion as we move forward with what we have learned at this congress, but here is one heartbreaking piece of data that shows that if you have less access to education you live a shorter life. This next one shows that, and this is Danish numbers, if just 1 % of persons with disabilities in Denmark moved into having ordinary jobs, the economic gain for society would be great and the gain in quality of life for these wonderful people who are left outside of being able to contribute, would be even greater.
Principle number three: Existing build structures must always be reused first. We have a lot of built mass. When you look at the calculated lifespan of residential buildings, - and remember that calculated lifespan is the technical lifespan, not the full actual lifespan, which can be much longer -, but if you look just at the calculated lifespan of a residential building, we are likely to demolish it after a bit more than half of that time. That is not the way to go forward. We must, when we build, when we construct, when we solve problems in the build environment: let us look at what we already have and let us put it into use. To add to that other daunting statistic, the materials we use also have a shorter lifespans compared to previous times.  We are tearing down before the technical end of life of a building, but we are also building it with the materials that technically will live shorter. We have to turn that around. 
Principle number four: No new development must erase green fields. We have built on so much of this planet. We have preciously little nature networks left. We should use the land we already have occupied, use it better, and if we must develop on green fields, we should do it with the care and considerations that the students participating in the “Great Green Wall Competition” showed. This is the space demand of different income levels, so anybody at the higher end of that income level need to reconsider the kind of space we are taking up on this planet and how that is pushing ecosystems down.
Principle number five: Natural ecosystems and food production must be sustained regardless of the built context. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse is one of the biggest risks to the planet. We have to do something about it. And when you look at this together with the fact that around 2.3 billion people have experienced moderately or severe food insecurity, it is clear that we must think about natural nature network and food production opportunities in all contexts, also in urban environments. 
Principle number six: No virgin material must be used in construction when reuse is possible. We are simply running out of many mineral materials. The demand for sand is what you can see here, it is skyrocketing, and we are running out. And it is not only sand, it is many of those finite mineral resources. 
Principle number seven: No waste must be produced or left behind in construction. The waste generation you see here in construction, this is in the EU, is about 37,5 %. That’s a huge waste production. We can build better than that, we can do better than that, and we should really do zero waste when we built. 
Principle number eight: When sourcing materials for construction, local renewable materials come first. We have huge Co2 emissions from transportation, and transporting heavy building materials around the world is adding to that. But even more important is the carbon footprint of building materials. If we go from aluminum to flattened bamboo look at the difference of the environmental impact. As many speakers have shared over these days, let’s look at local materials, let’s look at what is possible and available and so that we can also generate a local livelihoods and local skills. 
Principle number nine: In everything we build, carbon capture must exceed carbon footprint. And as you saw before, that is possible with the right choice of materials. This is showing you, and I think that all of you have seen this data before and know that global CO2 emissions are very, very high. They are getting higher all the time, and it is breaking the planet. We need to change that, and we need to change that in every project we conduct. 
And then finally, principle number ten: When developing, planning, and constructing the built environment, every activity must have a positive impact on water ecosystems and clean water supply. Only 40 % of surface water bodies are standing in a good ecological state and only 35 % in a good chemical state. Water is key to the survival of the planet, and we must think about our water ecosystems when we build. As I have also heard mentioned several times during the congress, water - the scarcity, the flooding - is felt everywhere. Let’s integrate how we think about water much more in architecture and in the built environment as we go forward. 
After these days together, where we have learned from each other and shared, I’m hopeful, because there are, as I have said so many times, there are solutions. And there are a new approach emerging from so many places, not coming from one place, it is coming from many places, it is coming from all of you and it is going to change how we build and hopefully it will have a lasting, important impact on how we can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. There is no planet B and currently the resources we use are at least three times what the planet can carry, and just to mention, this Monday when we started out, Monday when this congress opened, was the hottest day on the planet ever recorded. That gives you something to think about, and we been not just been thinking about it, we’ve been sharing experiences, we’ve been sharing our know-how. Because we do not have all the solutions, but we have many solutions, we do not have all the action we need to scale it up, but we have a lot of actions. Let’s take the inspiration, let’s each of us take our lessons home from being together, so that we can carry forward, use much less natural resources but really impower the human resources that you all represent. 
Thank you so much.



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