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Resilient Design

In the architecture and construction industry, it seems that "resilient design" is the current buzzword.

So, what is "resilient design"?

The Resilient Design Institute defines resilient design as "the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life."

In May, the American Institute of Architects sent out a press release noting that CEOs of multiple design and construction industry associations have agreed to promote resilience in contemporary planning, building materials, design, construction and operational techniques as the solution to making the nation's aging infrastructure more safe and secure.

Totaling more than 700,000 members and generating almost $1 trillion in GDP, the associations' CEOs used "Building Safety Month" to issue a joint statement on resilience, that was unveiled at a press conference at the National Building Museum, where a major exhibition called Designing for Disaster presents design and building solutions for disaster mitigation, which opened on May 11.

The CEOs committed their organizations to significantly improve the resilience of the nation's entire built environment through research into new materials, construction procedures and other methods to improve the standard of practice. Among the commitments the CEOs made, they committed the industry to educating itself through continuous learning, advocating for effective land use policies, responding to disasters alongside first responders and to planning for future events with a strategy for fast recovery.

Then, at June at the AIA National Convention in Chicago, the Friday keynote was a panel of design resilience experts that discussed the urgency of using architecture to fight climate change and new ways that sustainable buildings must serve their communities.

Moderated by Frances Anderton, host of DnA: Design and Architecture, the panel consisted of Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist and MacArthur Fellow; Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, Congress for the New Urbanism chair; Robin Guenther, FAIA, co-author, Sustainable Healthcare Architecture; and Rachel Minnery, AIA, former Architecture for Humanity leader, who played an active role in mounting several hurricane, flooding, and earthquake-related building-assessment endeavors in communities throughout the United States and Haiti.

The panel discussion took a look at what design resiliency means and what can be done by communities, individuals and building owners.

Resiliency is something that we are going to continue to hear more about, and we will be taking a deeper look into it with a roundtable in the February issue. What would you like to know more about when it comes to resilient design?

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