Paul Vick, Founder at Paul Vick architects talks about the recent West London Business property event, at which he spoke.
For the last three months, a more sustainable life has been forced upon us with the COVID 19 lockdown. The world has used a fraction of what it normally consumes, and the air is noticeably clearer, noise pollution has dropped, work life has changed radically, and the definition of what we need to survive is, at this very moment, being determined.
Now is the time to put to work the tools and technologies for sustainable living that have been available to us for the last twenty years. The rules around sustainable development haven’t changed, they just mean more now, and this was what I, along with Cllr Peter Mason, Cabinet member for Housing, Planning & Transformation, London Borough of Ealing and Nick Belsten, London Director of WSP, was interviewed about by Andrew Dakers CEO of West London Business in terms of development in West London.
Over sixteen years ago, I drafted an 8000 home zero carbon development plan in London. The principles we developed then have reinforced in our subsequent projects from homes, offices, theatres, studios, care homes and a range of other new and existing buildings. The key is not only technology but also the know-how to designing a scheme that works for the user, and the environment.
It is about joining the dots: awareness and knowledge. Technology needs to be understood and used before it can have a positive effect. Part of good design is knowing what is available, and how to use it to the best effect in terms of sustainability. We all have a role and interest in design working for us, whether this is from financier, owner, developer, politicians, professionals and users.
Democratic power lies with us – and developers can help save the world
We are seeing some positive shifts in legislation with the increased energy values required for planning permission. But it isn’t all about central government. Power is more distributed than that and political will is seen in many forms and from many quarters. Developers with a forward-looking approach are embracing well-designed solutions that make their ‘product’ stand out. This is as powerful as legislation. Perhaps even more powerful.
Paul Vick is the principal at Paul Vick Architects.