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Issue 8.1

Climate and Architectural Education: Are Buildings Always the Answer?

One of the most potent ideas propelling the 2030 Challenge for climate action within the architectural community was that buildings account for 39% of global GHG emissions (and the built environment for 75%). It is an introductory fact cited in almost every article, project, or interview connecting climate change with architecture, uttered like a catechism to link any improvement in building energy efficiency or carbon reduction to the vast scale of the climate emergency. Architects are natural environmentalists who understand the built environment as an extended enterprise connecting the extraction of natural resources and the means of production with patterns of settlement, economic cycles, and consumer fashions. Each building is an opportunity to address that terrifying statistic, but are buildings always the right type or even scale of response?

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