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Future of Urbanization: Built Environment Established on Resilience and Decarbonization

Sustainable Urbanization
In the next few decades, urbanization is poised to witness a remarkable transformation. According to the recent growth projections by the United Nations, 68 per cent of the world’s population is predicted to live in urban areas by the year 2050. This is expected to further amplify environmental concerns that plague increasing population densities and the demands of an urban lifestyle. As we shape our cities and prepare for increasing urbanization, it is crucial to address a pivotal question: How do we build cities which not only accommodate the growing urban population but also bolster them against the adverse effects of climate change? The real estate industry holds the key to unlocking the answer to this question. With its visionary trajectory, the industry’s role is fundamental in building resilient communities that mitigate the effects of climate change, create a sustainable living environment, and offer a higher quality of life. Through a transformational built environment, we can pioneer a greener, cleaner, and more inclusive future by integrating resilience and decarbonization as the core pillars of the global growth strategy and design.

Redefining cities with resilience

Building with resilience and physical climate risks in mind is the most responsible and transformative concept that envisions the fusion of fundamental ecological principles, climate science, economics, and social impact, while also developing the built environment. This concept encompasses an array of crucial components such as moving away from infrastructure design approaches based solely on historical data. Instead, it considers future relevant data based on contemporary climate science and deliberates on developing in harmony with land hydrology and climate trends. It also focuses holistically on the water ecosystem by reducing water demand and increasing water resilience to overcome water stress and groundwater depletion. These approaches respect the terrain and biodiversity while developing and ensuring the protection and enhancement of regional flora and fauna. Green spaces also act as natural carbon sinks, rejuvenating the city’s core and contributing to its ecological well-being.

Building a carbon-neutral future

Emerging as a critical demand-reduction lever for lowering emissions, the real estate industry embodies opportunities to impact more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions. India is a global, economic bright spot and is on an unparalleled growth trajectory. In the coming decades, India will witness a strong demand for over 10 crore homes and its associated urban expansion. Indian real estate and construction industry can demonstrate that this growth can be decoupled from emissions and contribute towards achieving India’s pioneering goal of attaining net-zero emissions by the year 2070. The fundamental approaches to achieve this low-carbon future are the development of cities as a strategic agglomeration of integrated mixed-use neighbourhoods, which are built on principles of walkability and proximity of daily needs, increased use of existing low-carbon materials, supporting innovation in development of low/ zero carbon options, reduction of wastage and fostering circularity, deployment of passive design measures to alleviate urban heat and lower energy demand along with inclusion of best-in-class efficiency in all energy consuming equipment and switching the energy supply to renewable sources. The built environment is at the nexus of electricity networks and transportation and with the right inclusion of charging infrastructure, it can provide the much-needed impetus to the EV ecosystem.

Social impact and just transition

India was listed as the 7th most affected country in exposure and vulnerability to climate risk events by The Global Climate Risk Index 2021. In times like these when the world has rapidly changing climate patterns, building these resilient communities is both urgent and crucial. The real estate industry is spearheading this movement by forging a path that fosters social well-being and enables a just and inclusive transition into this evolving urban landscape. From curating disaster-resilient designs to integrating green infrastructure elements, the industry is embracing all the principles crucial for building communities that withstand the challenges posed by climate change, recover from them, and contribute to the well-being of the residents as well as the larger community. Such communities that are built on the principles of resilience and decarbonization are gaining popularity and embracing this current paradigm shift is crucial to protect the wellness of the society and environment. It’s a necessity that represents the commitment of the real estate industry towards building a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable world. This megatrend stands at the cusp of a revolution, guiding the world towards a future where urban spaces are not only thriving but also environmentally responsible, thus fostering the widespread well-being of communities. It’s not only about building cities but also about building them the right way, with the vision to create a better planet and environment for all.    
Aun Abdullah, Head of ESG, Lodha
Aun Abdullah, Lodha
Future of Urbanization: Built Environment Established on Resilience and Decarbonization

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