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Designing the Urban Environment

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A public panel discussion open to the University, alumni of the Programme for Sustainability Leadership's executive education programmes, and current students on our Masters in Sustainability Leadership. Followed by refreshments till 7pm.

As the urbanisation of the world’s population takes on new heights, with cities now accounting for three quarters of global economic production, this session will look at the role that cities play in shaping our society, health, work and relationships.

Our speakers bring expertise on design, the interface between business and policy, and developing economies. Our first panelists Randall Thomas has argued for the critical role of design, claiming that “Sustainability is about poetry, optimism and delight. Energy, CO2 , water and wastes are secondary. The unquantifiable is at least as important as the quantifiable.”

In the UK, buildings are responsible for 43% of our total carbon emissions and the policy environment has been a critical driver of action. This week Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council criticised the Government’s budget, in particular a “U-turn on zero carbon homes, which will mean new homes from 2016 will not have to source all their energy from carbon-neutral sources.” Terry A’Hearn, now at WSP , will also bring his experience as CEO of the Victorian EPA in Australia in regulation and working with business leaders on commercially beneficial approaches to sustainability.

90% of global urban growth now takes place in developing economies, and urbanisation will be a defining feature of the century ahead for these regions. Sebastian Moffatt has argued in the World Bank report, Eco2Cities: Ecological Cities as Economic Cities, “Global urban expansion sets forth before us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to plan, develop, build, and manage cities that are simultaneously more ecologically and economically sustainable.”

For this special Cambridge evening, our alumni network will be joined by participants in CPSL ’s new Masters in Sustainability Leadership.

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