A month-by-month look back at what has got the WBEF community thinking this year.
11 December 2020
Throughout this year like no other, WBEF has delivered the very best in thought leading research and expert opinion on the built and natural environment. Here, we review our most read pieces of 2020, and share some related and recommended reading.
Financing a sustainable world
Green bonds are rapidly growing in popularity around the world. Over US$ 230bn worth of bonds were issued globally during 2019 and, back in January, issuance was expected to reach record levels in 2020. However, the absence of a common language on what qualifies as “green” remains a crucial hinderance.
Fostering social cohesion in the built environment
Social instability is ranked by the World Economic Forum as one of the most pressing societal risks facing the world today. Spatial factors profoundly influence social cohesion: the built environment has the power to integrate or segregate communities.
Mitigating risk in the agricultural supply chain
An oft-cited study conducted by Iowa State University found that the average lettuce travels over 2000 miles to make it on to the American plate. As food supply chains grow longer, data is enabling farmers to better enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Urban containment, which seeks to prevent urban sprawl and conserve the city’s natural outskirts, will be a vital tool in the fight against climate change. Could the ideas of 1920’s American regionalism be coming back into fashion?
WBEF webinar: The year in review
In this special webinar, we take a look back at the most popular articles of 2020. During a series of short conversations with authors and lead contributors, we will get to the heart of the topics that have captured the imagination of the WBEF community. Are we at the end of the age of urbanisation? Have we already given up on the green recovery? Or can the events of the previous 12 months help generate renewed enthusiasm for better built, cleaner and more liveable cities?
We Asked You: What will be the urban legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic?
As the pandemic forced lockdowns across the world, we asked WBEF community members from Europe, North America and Asia how the crisis might reshape and reconfigure the urban realm. Here we collect 25 thought-provoking predictions. Seven months on, how accurate have they proved?
The Planet of Cities: The beginning of the end of the urban century?
By June, events were serving to underline cities’ unique vulnerability to public health crises. Many commentators began to prophesy the end of the age of urbanisation. Greg Clark, though, sees things differently.
The liveable city: Five reasons why the events of 2020 can make cities safer, smarter and healthier
As the annus horribilis wore on, urban liveability assumed ever greater importance. Here, three expert commentators strike a note of much needed, albeit cautious, optimism about the future.
Tomorrow’s workplace today: Part 1 – Home is where the work is
In August, Tina Paillet introduced this five-part series, urging real estate investors and asset managers to embrace, rather than resist, new realities. Here, she calls for more restraint and nuance in “Death of the Office” narratives.
Social value of infrastructure: Seven case studies – Part 1
What do London’s Royal Parks, a world heritage site and two North American sports stadia have in common? They all prove that embedding a social value offer into infrastructure delivery, while challenging, is possible.
Leading Indicators: Have we already given up on the green recovery?
An OECD exercise in August found that 30 countries have included measures “likely to have a negative impact on environmental outcomes” in their COVID-19 recovery plans. Are we careering back towards business-as-usual?
What on earth is Hyperloop?
London to Paris in 25 minutes. Maximum speeds in excess of 1000kph. Capacity to move 16,000 people per route, per hour. Carriages available on-demand, and all powered entirely by renewable energy. Is Hyperloop the real thing, or just too good to be true?