Over the next two decades, the United Nations expects that we need to plan, design and build new homes for 1.7 billion people. With buildings already accounting for some 40% of carbon emissions in many countries, the prospect of adding such titanic numbers to the built environment is worrisome. If we further add a 40% world-wide increase in transportation related carbon emissions, energy efficiency measures realized to date will be negated. There is an undeniable need for concepts and solutions that lead to more sustainable urban growth, concepts that work across a range of climates and cultures. What are those solutions? Are there good examples? How can we evaluate them on a large scale?
In this all day symposium we will be featuring case studies of successful urban design interventions at the interface between a building and its neighborhood. In the morning speakers from leading universities and practices will present examples and workflows of how to implement measures of sustainability in their projects. During the afternoon session the Sustainable Design Lab at MIT will be presenting Umi, a new urban modeling platform to evaluate operational energy use, daylighting, outdoor comfort and walkability at the neighborhood level. Umi has been extensively used in two graduate level classes at MIT and Harvard and student projects resulting from these classes will be presented in a poster sessions in the late afternoon. During the closing discussion we hope to develop a better understanding of the role computational design tools such as Umi may play in the transition to more sustainable urban living.