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Will Engineered Resilience Eclipse Sustainability?

Rives Taylor pens an editorial for Urban Land advocating for "engineered resilience", which he describes as "next-generation sustainability" that "adds adaptability and the protection of human life" to planning for the well-being of the planet.

Taylor, a principal at Gensler, dives into the growing discussion over the concept of resilience amongst those in the planning and development community. He sees engineered resilience as the logical progression of sustainability to embrace, "climate uncertainty, predicted rises in sea level, and terrorism (all of which have exposed deep vulnerabilities in our built environment and infrastructure), as well as something exquisitely calculable: risk management."

In his practice orchestrating sustainability and resilience planning for clients around the world, Taylor finds that "sustainability is morphing into resilience," with "companies often redirecting their 'greening' costs to a broader program of resilience." He regards the greatest challenge to those assisting clients with designing, developing, and operating redundant buildings, "is to keep resilience human, stopping well short of creating buildings and campuses that look and live like bomb shelters."

"That is exactly how engineered resilience should be approached-not by an obvious 'hardening' and dehumanizing of a building, but by designing it to be flexible and adaptable when put under stress," writes Taylor. "That is largely done by designing multiple redundancies (also known as diversity) into its critical systems for power and water, into a smart envelope, into the site design, and into the building's connection to the community. If one system or approach fails, another is designed to kick in, and potentially another after that, as part of a well-choreographed response to trouble-like a boxer bobbing and weaving to avoid a punch and remain standing." 

Full Story: Land Writes: Engineered Resilience

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