It has been a grim month for many of the world stock markets with the credit crunch in particular squeezing the financial sectors. The building sector has also taken a beating and it is clear that the world building market is much more homogenous that it has ever been before, which means that weakness in one area is affecting others. Fortunately there are still several bright sectors, such as energy, education, transportation and refurbishment and that regions such as the middle-east and south-east asia have not been so badly effected. There is considerable uncertainty in the industry and it is not clear how extensive this slow down will be, however it is clear to me that there is still a massive need in some countries for sustainable urban redevelopment
In previous slow downs the Council has benefitted somewhat from some spare capacity within the industry, because there is more time for engineers, architects and developers to document some of the wonderful work that they have been doing over the last few years. Over the last few years there have been many innovations and developments within the industry and the Council’s mission is to spread knowledge and best practice around the world. Our latest Journal is ready for printing and I am sure you will have seen a dramatic improvement in quality and quantity in the last 2 years. To reflect our increasing focus on sustainability we plan to feature an article on sustainable refurbishment in each future issue of the Journal and all members are invited to participate. It is sobering to consider that buildings consume some 20% of the world’s energy.
Early this month I had the pleasure to attend the Cityscape Exhibition and Conference in Dubai. It was my first visit to this spectacular event and I was really impressed by the enthusiasm, interest and excitement of a major exhibition focused on the building industry. The exhibition was located in 7 massive exhibition halls and attracted over 60,000 building professionals, vendors, investors and members of the public to see a variety of building visions for the future. It is of little surprise to me that Cityscape have been successful at replicating this event around the world. I was speaking at the World Architecture Congress where the focus was on design and innovation and I was pleased to see that the main focus was on sustainability. There are many spectacular projects under design and construction in the middle-east and many were showcased at Cityscape. I look forward to reading about many of these projects in future issues of the Journal.
The Council’s next conference is scheduled for May 2009 and will be located in Mumbai. It will have a unique focus and will only focus on sustainable urban master-planning. The conference program is coming together and any members of the Council that would like to participate should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
John MacArthur, a colleague of mine died last month. A brief obituary is contained in the newsletter. He was a stern man, but fair and dedicated towards excellence in design. I was on the phone to John, speaking about the twin towers when the first tower at the World Trade Center collapsed. John had a big influence on my career and all he worked with and he will be missed.