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David Uhlmann talks to The Urban Developer about Biodiversity and Housing, and how we as an industry can progress the evolution in sustainability.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day celebrated in nearly 200 countries on 22 April every year since 1970 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

From day one, Earth Day Network’s mission was “to build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and planet.”

“Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.” - Source

We’ve come a long way in the last 50 years with many governments and independent organisations around the world implementing innovative initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment.  Recycling, plastic bag bans, biodegradable products, solar panels, active transport options, amendments to planning policies and international conferences and events to strategise how we can do even better and continue to raise awareness and inspire action.

Yet, in 2019, many institutions, government bodies and private companies declared a climate emergency. 

While we should celebrate our achievements, we cannot put our hands down. 

Let’s look at the development industry worldwide growth figures.

According to the research by Research and Markets published in January 2020:

  • The global construction industry is expected to record a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 6.5% to reach US$ 10,835.6 billion by 2023.
  • The residential construction industry in value terms increased at a CAGR of 6.1% during 2014-2018.
  • The commercial building construction market in value terms is expected to record a CAGR of 8% over the forecast period.
  • The infrastructure construction was estimated to be US$ 2,366.4 billion in 2018, posting a CAGR of 3.9% during review period.

Our industry CAN have a significant impact on the environment, and a positive one too!

“We all know the fraught politics around climate change—but there has arguably been less talk about the second part: biodiversity loss, perhaps because the numbers are less easy to deny,” says David Uhlmann, Director of Environment and Sustainability at Wolter Consulting Group.

“Those numbers around species loss are alarming, particularly in and adjacent to urban areas.”

“So, what are we as an industry doing about biodiversity loss? Is it possible for us to not only stop causing damage, but also to start to repair the damage we have done? Can we deliver biodiversity positive buildings and communities?”

In his recent article Biodiversity and Housing: The Next Evolution of Sustainability, published on The Urban Developer, David talks about the challenge in delivering sustainability and biodiversity outcomes in the residential property sector and individual houses in particular.

“The biggest challenge in delivering these outcomes in our industry is therefore in the residential property sector—particularly for individual houses.”

David warns that in residential communities, sustainability outcomes for individual houses are not to be ignored.

“We already have the technology, the products and the biodiversity knowledge [to deliver better outcomes and to make a significant positive impact on the environment in the long term], so if we as an industry want to avoid a heavy-handed legislative and regulatory approach, we should take serious steps toward change now.”

Read David’s full article here.

Join the conversation.

David Uhlmann will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming National Sustainability Conference and a Panelist at the Brisbane Residential Summit where he will continue the sustainability discussion with his industry peers – both events will be held in online mode on Tuesday 28th April, and are filled with informative sessions on various issues our industry is facing today. It’s not too late to register.  

David Uhlmann is Wolter Consulting Group’s Director of Environment and Sustainability. He has nearly 30 years experiences across Landscape Architecture, Urban Design & Precinct Sustainability.