Dubai Forum focuses on sustainable communities

Elizabeth O'Donell, left, Associate Dean, Irwin S Chanin School of Architecture speaks at The Dubai Forum. (SUPPLIED)

Sustainability cannot be generalised, but should integrate histories, geographies and traditions, including contemporary building aspects. Dubai is a perfect example for these trends that professionals need to emulate and share at all practical levels, according to Elizabeth O'Donell, Associate Dean, Irwin S Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, US.

O'Donell's remarks came during her address at The Dubai Forum on 'Architecture for Sustainable Societies', held on Tuesday under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, attended the premier platform organised by Brand Dubai to foster discussions on sustainable development.

"This forum was convened as an opportunity for dialogue among professionals and educators concerned with the built environment to discuss contemporary challenges and assess how we might work together to develop a sustainable architecture with an impact both within and beyond the building skin,'' said O'Donnell.

"For architects to remain relevant in this endeavour, they must be willing to develop and critique their work in a context that is not only physical but economic, climatic, social and cultural as well."

Panel discussions at the forum focused on architecture and sustainable communities, architecture and natural forces, media perspectives, architecture and rapid urbanisation, architecture and cultural sustainability.

Speaking on 'Architecture and Natural Forces', Vandana Sehgal, Architect and Professor of Uttar Pradesh Technical University, India, said: "Building the Burj Khalifa tower has been a long and momentous journey from what I gather. Sustainability is personal to everyone, every region, and every context."

Panelists discussing the role of media and its perspectives in creating architectural and sustainable societies in the region felt the process of social change on sustainability though slow at present, needs to take its natural course.

Hendrik Hertzberg, Senior Editor, The New Yorker, said: "Cultural sustainability means social sustainability, political sustainability, sustainability of a community, and a city is a reflection of a society's past, mistakes it has made, the novel ideas it currently nurtures and its aspirations for the future."

 

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