Monthly Archive: August 2016

Londoners Say Taller Buildings Won’t Solve Their Housing Crisis

Skyscrapers in the Canary Wharf business district of London (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

More than 400 skyscrapers are slated for across London, but nearly half of inner London residents surveyed think this number is too high.

A 500-person poll released by UK research company Ipsos MORI Sunday found that 49 percent of inner London residents think too many skyscrapers are planned for the city, and 59 percent want to see height restrictions for skyscrapers. Only 6 percent of residents said there are too few buildings over 20 stories planned for the city.

Although London is still facing a housing shortage, few Londoners — only 11 percent — said they think going tall will help alleviate the crisis, and 60 percent say they believe skyscrapers mostly benefit wealthy foreigners. However, 59 percent of those surveyed say priority should be given to proposals that include affordable housing.

Londoners also want more say in new construction. Three quarters of residents surveyed say they should be consulted on proposals for new buildings, and more than half think tall buildings should be limited to business districts, such as Canary Warf.

Inner Londoners say other types of housing better suit the needs of Londoners, with 24 percent preferring terraced houses, 21 percent buildings five stories or less, and 17 percent buildings that are 6-20 stories tall.

Chicago Architects Team Up on Climate Change

The Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago was designed by Krueck + Sexton Architects, a firm leading a climate change awareness campaign. (Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr)

More than 70 Chicago-based architecture, design and engineering firms are teaming up to push for meaningful legislation on climate change.

Their industry-focused public outreach campaign, Architects Advocate Action on Climate Change, officially launches Thursday, and aims to raise awareness about climate change and prompt legislation “guided by scientific consensus and reason.”

The group is the brainchild of Krueck + Sexton Architects. Thomas Jacobs, a principal at the firm, told Curbed that they were considering the idea of an environmental awareness campaign for a while before the four partners decided unanimously to launch the initiative.

“I reached a level of amazement at the relative silence surrounding the issue,” Jacobs told Curbed. “I’m extremely worried at the potential effects of climate change, but I’m more afraid about not trying to change anything. I can’t imagine my grandchildren asking me, ‘why didn’t you do something about it when you could?’ It’s made me believe that we have to try. It’s as simple as that.”

The firm started reaching out to others, and now 68 Chicago-based architecture firms and six design and engineering firms are involved.

While architects can have a huge impact on the built environment by improving energy efficiency in buildings — in the U.S., buildings account for almost 40 percent of total U.S. energy use and associated CO2 emissions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy — a number of groups already encourage industry professionals to opt for more sustainable building practices. Architects Advocate, however, is primarily about raising awareness. Firms joining the group haven’t been asked to make any pledges about sustainability or emissions practices or building codes.

“At this point, we’re asking one thing: Don’t remain silent,” Jacobs said. “We believe we can build on that, raise momentum, and create a drumbeat of people working on this issue.”

Once the group officially launches September 1, members will be expected to use social media and other platforms to speak out about the issue. They’ll also add a red banner to their website with a message of support for the group.