What is sustainability? What is it really about?

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What is it really about? Who is responsible for it? What challenges must be faced by local governments? What role in shaping urban space do developers have?

In order to ensure high quality of urban space, the application of solutions reconciling natural, social and economic interests must have its permanent place in the spatial policy of local governments. Sustainable urban development is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. So what is sustainable development?

Definition of sustainable development

The legislator defines sustainable development as “such social and economic development which integrates political, economic and social activities, maintaining natural balance and permanence of basic natural processes in order to guarantee the possibility of satisfying basic needs of particular communities or citizens of both the present and future generations “*. Sustainable development must therefore reconcile the conflicting interests of three parties: natural, social and economic. The purpose of sustainable development is to keep the system within a certain framework (sustainable development).

Growing role of developers

Definition of sustainable developmentIt is impossible to conduct spatial policy in large urban centers without the participation of developers, and they understand the issue very well. Private investors care about sustainable projects, because good quality spaces attract residents. There are more and more such investments every year, and the best ones deserve to be noticed.

Construction is one of the levers of the economy. Private investors employ their own workers and companies which supply them with materials, perform part of the tasks and construction works, consult, design. Developers are also a large part of the advertising market to inform customers about the offer. All these activities lead to fueling the local economy and contribute to the economic development of the entire region.

The voice of the development industry

Polish Association of Developers decided to reward investors who apply sustainable development principles in their investments. A jury of eminent specialists in the architectural and construction industry chose from among 78 entries in the competition for the Best Residential Project 2012-2015.

Since the beginning of our activity we have been guided by the mission “Shaping beautiful, functional and human-friendly space”. Co-creation of the fabric of any city means responsibility for the quality of life of its inhabitants. This perspective has accompanied us continuously for 30 years, therefore initially as a design office and currently as a developer we design and implement investments that – we hope – positively influence the quality of life of Wrocław citizens. And the scale of our operations in Wroclaw means that we can already see the impact of what we do on the space of the dynamically developing city.

The ethics of the architectural profession includes responsibility for shaping space. Inseparable element of architectural studies is sociology, which makes us aware of different needs of people at different stages of life, and the architect should take this into account when designing.

How to design a happy city?

Some time ago the results of The Harvard Study of Adult Development were published, in which the same group of people was studied for 75 years, asking them questions about work, family, life. The conclusions of these studies confirm that good relationships with other people make us healthy and feel happy. The results seem banal. When we introduced the first social housing estate in Wroclaw, we focused on building relationships between people. We must be aware that when a group of complete strangers lives in one place and time, there is a need to integrate and animate this community.

Just look at the example of the city of Brasilia, by Oscar Niemeyer, which was supposed to be an ideal model, realized on the basis of an extraordinary vision and amazing architecture, but the scale of the experiment and the lack of adequate space for integration became an unsolvable problem.

Dehumanized spaces in which no one wanted to live became a nightmare. Cities need places for integration both in the context of the building itself (such as residents’ clubs, fitness) and in the context of common spaces (playing fields, pi to foster integration of newly emerging local communities).

How to design a happy city?

Analyzing the needs of the residents, we try to create a friendly place to live in Archicom, standing in contrast to the anonymity of socialist blocks of flats. People appreciate intimate architecture designed in a human dimension – one in which it is easy to find oneself. Our projects include numerous meeting places for residents, where in a neighbourly atmosphere one can spend time nicely and integrate.

The Four Seasons’ social estates attracted more and more Wrocław residents and their needs changed along with the successive inhabitants.

We listened to their voices and thanks to the dialogue we successively planned new elements which they needed to function comfortably. There appeared playgrounds, alleys with recreation places, a fitness club or places for a local pizzeria.

Soon afterwards, Professor Alojzy Grit’s sculpture appeared on Four Seasons, which is now a popular place for neighborhood meetings. Today, the estate is created by a close-knit community, which jointly takes care of the space and its interests. A place where people are happy and live well attracts others, which is why further stages of our social housing estate are being built.