«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»
Unfortunately sustainability i5 not an exact science and the attempt to simplify it or generalize it is impossible. Problems arose from the evolvement of the concepts, they lacked many aspects of the city challenges and on their own they were inadequate. This lead to the concept of the socio-ecological city as it is the combination of all three concepts provided in this paper.
Sustainable City indicators do not give a dear or adequate explanation to the sustainable development of the city. There are a number of conclusions that emerged from the past literature review on SCJs. They are;
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Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 471 A Corporate Agenda to Catch-Up with Sustainability Mustapha Madi Dar Al Handasah, Beirut Abstract The issue of sustainability promulgated post the Bruntland report of 1987. The Middle East & North Africa and Gulfregions caught-up with the term in the mid 90s with the outburst of master planned developments; however, it was not before the beginning of the new millennium that sustainability became the new buzz word of the 'deve\opment industry'. After the 2008 global financial crisis, there was enough attention given to the essence of sustainability, but only to become a catalyst in a medium of stagnation and anticipation.
This paper will examine a unique approach to sustainability from the consuItancy firm angle. Today's challenging economic climate fosters the right environment for more sustainable outlook for organizations in order to ensure current and future success. Globally present consultancy firms have not only the ability, but also the responsibility to influence their employees, clients, partners and suppliers, whilst ensuring to benefit the environment and their communities.
These firms, like all types of businesses, are driven by commercial incentives and the pre-requisite of being a 'leader' in their domain. For such firms, the role of a corporate agenda is to enlist all possible resources to c\arify and achieve the commercial drivers and incorporate it into the eore business.
Three global eonsultaney firms have suecessfully indulged into a non-traditional strategy to ineorporate sustainability, whieh strives to set practices that help restoring environmental quality and build social equity, while increasing long term profitability. This paper will argue that their sueeess is internally/commercially driven to maintain a market niche as 'leaders'. It is the adoption and eommitment to a sustainable approach that will imprint onto the statt: the clients... and feed into the eultural and soeial responsibility.
Keywords: sustainability, development, consultaney firms, corporafe responsibility.
472 Mustapha Madi 1 Background As early as the I 960s, environmental awareness embraced the political and social scenery of urbanism while its discourse escalated to aglobaI scale. Reference to figure I, there are six major milestones related to global awareness to sustainability. In 1987, the Bruntland Report was circulated in the UN and became the first global 'official declaration' of concem in regards to the environment and the future of population on this planet under an agenda of sustainable development. The report defines sustainability as meeting "the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"(WCED, 1987). Martin Pawley in his lecture at Audacity Conference in 2008 referenced Peter Smith definition of sustainability as "leaving the planet to the next generation in no worse state than that in which the present generation found it" (Pawley, 2000). However, if one would dig deeper into the meaning ofthe term, it would appear that it has been there, not necessary under the same name but within the same principles, for much longer period.
More recently, Talal K. Shair, Chairman of Dar AI Handasah Consultants (Shair & Partners), claims that environmental awareness, in it5 broadest terms, and sustainability, as the keystone of 'social health', has been evolving for the last 5,000 years ever since the ancient middle-eastem civilizations. He also argues, based on the late 14th Century theoretician Ibn Khaldoun that "cities cyclically regenerate to maintain a certain level of 'social health' The balance point is achieved through synergies of the city dwellers with their eities, context Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 473 and available resources. On similar Iines, the Chicago School, some 600 years later, describes the evolution of cities to that of a Iiving organism" (Shair, 2009). The multi-facet aspect of sustainability, sustainable development, its role in urbanism and the city evolution, kept the discourse busy with almost every large scale development at aglobai scale.
Such concerns have reemerged in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Gulf regions and started to catch-up with the tenn in the mid 90s with the outburst of master planned developments. Real estate and marketing campaigns focused on master planned community and self-sufficient scenarios in developing targe real estate projects, down towns, new cities etc. it was not before the beginning of the new millennium that sustainability became the new buzz word of the 'development industry'. The backbone of the real estate ventures, especially in the Gulf region, was composed of sustainability, environmentally friendly and self-sufficient products. In the last 10 years, the United Arab Emirates in specific, started to follow LEED, BREAM and other similar 'green credit' rating systems. In the last three years, Abu Dhabi Emirate fonnulated its own ESTIDAMA rating system (Estidama is the Arabic for Sustainability). More importantly, Abu Dhabi Emirate is turning the system into applicable and operational vision through incubating the MASDAR initiative (a zero-carbon emission research city) and other projects. The condition set by the authorities dictated that all projects in the Emirate should be screened by the Estidama system.
Under such 'constraints', what are the responses of the different businesses to sustainable development? More specifieally, what is the new path followed by eonsultaney finns in that regards. The following will foeus on the corporate responsibility within such finns, particularly three international eonsultaney finns: Dar Al Handasah, Perkins and Will and ARUP that operate on regional and international scenes.
2 A Business Window onto Sustainability Sustainability is the single biggest business opportunity of the 2\ SI century, and will be the next source of competitive advantage.(H. Lee Scotl, President and CEO of Wal-Mart) Today's challenging economic climate fosters an atmosphere for a sustainable outlook for organizations in order to ensure current and future success. Consultaney finns that operate in the global economy have not only the ability, but also the responsibility, to influenee their employees, clients, partners and suppliers, while also ensuring to benefit the environment and communities.
Often this is what is referred to as the 3Ps: People, Profit and Planet.
Some claim that "interpreting and applying the concept of sustainable deveJopment is inereasillgly viewed as being the way to promulgate just and praetieable ecollomic, ellvirollmental alld social poliey" (Lumley & Annstrollg, 2009). More thall a decade ago, others fonnulated the tripie bottom lille (TBL) 474 Mustapha Madi reporting framework to introduce ecological, social and financial performance indicators in traditional reporting (Elkington, (998). Some prominent businessmen adopted and expanded on formulas related to businesses' impact on environment and their sustainable approaches to conducting business.
Roy Anderson, CEQ of Interface, is an American businessman who used an evolutionary perspective on environmental problems, a formula prepared by Paul