At KHR, we're lucky to have an expert in social sustainability we can turn to for advice. Nevertheless, it is always good to have an external view on our role and how we can best meet our clients' needs, for example with regard to ESG objectives and EU taxonomy. We asked ChatGPT for advice, and the chatbot offers interesting answers and concrete examples of social sustainability in architecture. Judge for yourself.
What is the role of architecture in social sustainability?
ChatGPT: Architecture plays an important role in social sustainability, by designing and planning buildings and urban areas that are socially inclusive, accessible and satisfying for people to live, work and play in. It does this by taking into account and meeting the social and cultural needs and aspirations of the people who use the buildings and spaces.
Architecture can help create quality of life and satisfaction for people by designing buildings and spaces that are accessible to people with disabilities, creating spaces that promote social interaction and community, and designing buildings and spaces that are safe and secure for all users. It can also include taking into account and meeting the social and cultural aspirations and needs of local residents and users when planning and designing buildings and spaces.
Architecture can also play an important role in creating b
Did you finish answering the question?
ChatGPT: Sorry, I wasn't. I would like to add that architecture can also play an important role in creating sustainable urban areasthat can meet people's needs for a healthy and quality of life-enhancing environment. This can include designing buildings and spaces that encourage physical activity, creating green spaces and accessible public spaces, and designing buildings and spaces that are in harmony with nature.
It is important to point out that social sustainability is a complex and dynamic process and that architecture alone cannot solve all social challenges, but it can be an important factor in creating spaces and buildings that can help promote social sustainability.
Haven't Danish architects always focused on creating socially sustainable architecture without necessarily using that term?
ChatGPT: It is true that Danish architects have been focusing on creating socially sustainable architecture for many years, and that they have done so without necessarily using that term. In Denmark, there has been a long tradition of focusing on social sustainability in architecture, and this can be traced back to the Danish folk high school movement and the architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen and his writings on "the life of the city" and "the organism of the city" from the 1930s.
For many years, Danish architects have focused on creating buildings and urban areas that are accessible to all, inclusive and satisfying for people to live, work and play in. This can be seen in the Danish architectural tradition, where there has been a strong focus on creating public housing that is accessible to all, and on creating urban areas that are safe and secure for children and the elderly.
So, while the term social sustainability may be relatively new, the focus on creating socially sustainable architecture is not new to Danish architects, who have been working for many years to create buildings and urban areas that are socially sustainable.
Which architectural firm is a leader in socially sustainable architecture?
ChatGPT: It is difficult to point to a single architectural firm that is a leader in socially sustainable architecture, as there are many architectural firms working to create socially sustainable architecture and many different methods and approaches to doing so. Some of the leading architectural firms in socially sustainable architecture may be those that specialise in designing social housing, including housing for vulnerable groups, or those that have experience in designing buildings and urban spaces that promote social inclusion and community. In addition, architectural firms that have certified expertise in sustainability standards such as BREEAM, LEED and WELL can be a major factor in designing socially sustainable buildings.
It is also important to note that social sustainability is a complex and dynamic process and that it requires a holistic approach involving both public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to ensure sustainable solutions. Therefore, many architectural firms, working closely with clients and local communities, can play a major role in creating socially sustainable buildings and urban areas.
Can you highlight some good, concrete examples of architecture that supports social sustainability?
ChatGPT: Yes, there are several examples of architecture that supports social sustainability:
(1) Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada, is an example of a building designed to promote social inclusion and community. The building consists of modular homes stacked on top of each other to create a dense community with shared green spaces and common amenities.
(2) Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy, is an example of a building designed to create sustainable urban spaces. The building is covered with trees and plants that create a green environment and promote biodiversity, while allowing residents to enjoy nature from their homes.
(3) The Intergenerational Learning Center in Silver Spring, USA, is an example of a building designed to create an inclusive and accessible environment for children, youth and seniors. The building has common areas that are accessible to all generations, as well as facilities adapted to the specific needs of children and the elderly.
(4) The Ark in London, UK, is an example of a building designed to create a safe and secure environment for children and young people. The building is a children and youth centre designed to provide children with a place where they can feel safe and have the opportunity to learn and develop.
(5) The Baugruppe Housing Complex in Berlin, Germany, is an example of a building designed to create sustainable housing. The building is a collective housing development where residents have the opportunity to participate in the planning and operation of the building.
These examples show how architecture can be designed to support social sustainability by creating inclusive, accessible and quality of life-enhancing spaces and buildings that can promote social inclusion, community and well-being for residents and users.
Do you also have examples from Denmark, Norway or Greenland?
Yes, there are several examples of architecture supporting social sustainability in Denmark, Norway and Greenland:
(1) The growth houses in Denmark are an example of architecture that supports social sustainability. Væksthusene is a socially inclusive housing project for people who have difficulties in the public housing market. Væksthusen is built with a focus on creating a safe and inclusive environment for the residents.
(2) Korsør Bymidte in Denmark is an example of architecture that supports social sustainability. Korsør Bymidte is a project that focuses on creating a lively and active urban environment. The project includes housing, businesses, public spaces and parks to help create a socially sustainable urban environment.
(3) The Tromsø Urban Initiative in Norway is an example of architecture that supports social sustainability. The Tromsø Urban Initiative is a project that focuses on creating an inclusive city where citizens from all walks of life can thrive. The project includes housing, business, parks, public spaces and culture to help create a socially sustainable urban environment.
(4) Nuuk Center in Greenland (ed: a KHR project) is an example of architecture that supports social sustainability. Nuuk Center is a large urban development project that focuses on creating an inclusive and vibrant city centre. The project includes housing, business, public spaces and culture to help create a socially sustainable urban environment.
What are the EU taxonomy's requirements for social sustainability in architecture and construction?
ChatGPT: the EU's taxonomy for sustainable investment, defines criteria for what is considered sustainable activity in different sectors, including architecture and construction. The taxonomy does not have specific requirements for social sustainability in the construction sector, but it does have a number of general requirements that can influence social sustainability in construction projects:
(1) Requirement that activities contribute to at least one of the six EU Sustainable Development Goals: climate change, health and well-being, circular economy, employment, social inclusion and inequality, and institutional capacity and good governance.
(2) Requirement that activities do not lead to negative social or environmental impacts, such as repression of human rights or degradation of worker welfare.
(3) Requirement that activities have a high degree of transparency and reporting so that investors and other stakeholders can evaluate their sustainability.
(4) Requirement for activities to have a high level of governance, including having a sustainability management and strategy, and having procedures to manage and report on negative social or environmental impacts.
(5) Thus, the EU taxonomy does not have specific requirements for social sustainability in architecture and construction, but it does require that activities be sustainable in a broader sense and not lead to negative social or environmental impacts. It is important to research and understand the EU taxonomy and requirements in detail to ensure that projects meet them.
Who does the EU taxonomy actually apply to?
ChatGPT: The EU Sustainable Investment Taxonomy is aimed at EU companies and financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, pensions and other investment funds, that want to promote sustainable investments and contribute to meeting the EU's climate and sustainability goals.
The taxonomy applies to EU companies covered by the EU reporting rules on non-financial and diversity information, i.e. companies with more than 500 employees or with an annual turnover of more than €40 million. This includes many large companies active in the architecture and construction sectors.
Financial institutions covered by the taxonomy are required to use it in their investment decisions and in their reporting on sustainable investments. EU Member States must also take the taxonomy into account when developing and implementing national and regional policies and programmes.
The taxonomy is also relevant for investors and other stakeholders who want to evaluate and compare the sustainability of companies' and financial institutions' activities. It allows them to identify companies and projects that meet EU sustainability requirements.
How can our work as architects play into our clients' ESG reporting?
ChatGPT: As architects, you can play an important role in helping your clients meet their ESG reporting by designing and planning buildings and urban areas that are sustainable in a broader sense. There are several ways architects can do this:
(1) Take into account and accommodate clients' ESG objectives and strategies in projects. This may include addressing climate change, social inclusion and sustainable materials, and designing buildings that are energy efficient and have a low carbon footprint.
(2) Help clients measure and report on project sustainability. This may include using standards such as LEED or BREEAM, or to use certifications such as WELL or Living Building Challenge.
(3) Design buildings and urban spaces that are socially inclusive and accessible to all. This may include considering and accommodating the needs of people with disabilities, and creating spaces that promote social interaction and community.
(4) Engage with the local community and take into account and respond to their wishes and needs in the projects. This may include involving the community in the planning and design process, and taking into account and responding to their wishes and needs in projects.
(5) Report on the sustainability of projects to customers and other stakeholders. This may include providing regular reports on the social, environmental and economic performance of projects, and providing transparency on the sustainability of projects.
Thanks to ChatGPT. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about how we work with social sustainability.