Climate Change

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We want to introduce the human perspective to sustainability and climate change.

As the climate changes our cities, so will it change our human system.

Climate change is often analysed from two main perspectives, prevention and causation. These two perspectives have driven building sustainability practices, which will need to be adhered to with even more fervor as our climate continues to change.

 

CHANGES

  • On top of the changes to our average climate, there will be an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, tidal surges, storms and heavy rainfall.

  • Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years. The world is therefore still subject to the emissions of the past, and yet to experience the changes resultant of the emissions of today and of the future.

  • This analysis shows that there are 1.25 million people, 481,180 properties, 441 schools, 75 underground stations and 49 railway stations located in areas of tidal and flood risk.

  • It is projected that by the middle of the century, the average summer will be as hot as a heatwave (defined as hotter than 32C) today.




IMPACTS TO PEOPLE

  • The displacement that could be caused from flooding will push people further out of the centre of the city, which could increase commute time. In a study on commuting, it was discovered  people with long commutes were higher in absenteeism and work dissatisfaction. Additionally, workers that were tested after long commutes underperformed in tasks such as puzzles and proofreading - both which require elements of sustained attention. Sustained attention is the ability to keep attention on a specific task, such as reading. It is fundamental to long term processes like learning.

  • There is strong evidence that air pollution affects people with asthma and other cardiovascular problems. This could have effect on absenteeism. Furthermore, a study published by the Global Labor Organization noted that a “higher air pollution index (API) significantly reduces hedonic happiness and raises the rate of depressive symptoms.  

  • As the weather becomes more and more extreme, there is a potential for people to retreat indoors - something already witnessed in cities like Dubai, which suffers from extreme heat.  People retreating indoors could have two consequences. Firstly, it can deplete opportunities for people to use public spaces, which in turn can reduce social cohesion. Secondly, staying indoors can have adverse physical effects, given its association with physical  inactivity.

 
RELEVANCE TO M J MAPP

“The Mayor of London is developing a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for London to protect, and enhance, the quality of life of Londoners, and to help London and Londoners prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.”

Therefore it would be advisable for M J Mapp to lead it’s conversation with how climate change is affecting people and that, consequently, buildings will not only need to mitigate against the possible effects of climate on building infrastructure, but also against its effects on people. If the habitats that people live in become harsher, it is in the best financial interest of building owners to help mitigate those stressors. Demonstrating this support helps develop a true narrative of placemaking and care given by the real estate industry.

As climate change impacts everything, the relationship between area zoning and commuting will change, thus the pressures and strains on workers is likely to increase and force them to adapt. It therefore becomes important for managers, HR workers and landlords to do wider commuting analysis to see whether solutions such as bike racks, showers and childcare facilities will become more important.

 
Josh Artus