Iñaki Alday on the Climate Crisis: The Planet is "At the Limit of Collapse"

Iñaki Alday is the current dean of the School of Architecture of Tulane (New Orleans). Founder of Alday Jover arquitectura y paisaje, he also offers advice to the United Nations as an expert on the urban planning of rivers and deltas. In this context, he is a noted co-founder of the ‘Yamuna River Project’, a university research project for the recovery of the Yamuna River in New Delhi - one of the most polluted in the world.

Below, we talk with Iñaki Alday about innovations in cities related to the climate emergency, with questions that approach the urgency of research and how universities should prepare students to face the global challenge.

Embodied Energy in Building Materials: What it is and How to Calculate It

All human activities affect the environment. Some are less impactful, some much, much more. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the construction sector is responsible for up to 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Activities such as mining, processing, transportation, industrial operations, and the combination of chemical products result in the release of gases such as CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, halocarbons, and water vapor. When these gases are released into the atmosphere, they absorb a portion of the sun's rays and redistribute them in the form of radiation in the atmosphere, warming our planet. With a rampant amount of gas released daily, this layer thickens, which causes solar radiation to enter and and stay in the planet. Today, this 'layer' has become so thick that mankind is beginning to experience severe consequence, such as desertification, ice melting, water scarcity, and the intensification of storms, hurricanes, and floods, which has modified ecosystems and reduced biodiversity.

De Blasio's Glass Skyscraper Ban: What Alternative Materials Could Take its Place?

Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.

How Architecture Responded to Climate Change in 2019

Throughout the last 12 months, the architectural community has responded in various ways to the Climate Emergency. From innovative proposals that tackle the sustainable design of healthy cities, to collective political action and lobbying, 2019 saw a continued mobilization of ideas, opinions, and actions on how architecture can be used as a tool to help the planet.

The Facts about Architecture and Climate Change

As we enter a new year, and indeed a new decade, the "Climate Emergency" continues to embody a renewed worldwide focus on tackling climate change. While there is no "one solution" to the multifaceted challenges brought about by this crisis, there is an onus on every citizen, in both a personal and professional capacity, to apply their skills and actions in addressing the profound pressures on the natural world.

Architecture and the Death of Carbon Modernity

Log 47 reconceives architecture’s role in climate change away from sustainability and solutionism and toward its formal complicity and potential agency in addressing the crisis. In this excerpt from her introductory essay, guest editor Elisa Iturbe defines carbon form as a necessary new way of understanding architecture and urbanism in order to develop a new disciplinary paradigm.

Why Should We Invest in Mitigation Instead of Reconstruction? Chile's Resiliency is a Good Example

Chile is a country used to natural disasters as much as to the reconstruction process. However, the frequency of these cycles has increased over the years. According to the Ministry of Interior (Homeland), 43% of all natural disasters recorded in Chile since 1960 happened between 2014 and 2017. In fact, the government is already involved in several reconstruction processes across the country.