Sustainable development or building practices should surely be on the mind of any architect, engineer and developer about to tackle a new project.
Aiming to create a built environment that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…’ (World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our Common Future, Oxford University Press) is possibly one of the most urgent aspects in the global fight to prevent our resources from running dry, says Holger Rust, director of Terraforce, Cape Town based earth-retaining an erosion-control specialist.
One obvious facet of sustainable development involves protecting the natural environment. A balance therefore needs be found between protecting the physical environment and its resources, and using these resources in a way that will allow the earth to continue supporting an acceptable quality of life for human beings, and not, as many wrongly assume, to keep up or ‘sustain’ the current pace of economic productivity to the point of exhaustion.
But the word ‘environment’ should not be solely reserved for untouched nature. ‘Man-made’ or ‘man-changed’ environments fall into the same category, simply because they constitute, both in the present and the future, a large part of human existence.