The South African built environment faces numerous challenges and risks. These include cities that are still riddled with the vestiges of apartheid spatial planning, projects currently underway that inadvertently reinforce spatial injustice, and the scarcity and mismanagement of valuable resources such as water, among others.
The Living Future Collaborative of South Africa has been officially launched. The organisation’s goal is to promote strategies and approaches that operationalise regenerative design by creating awareness and contextualising the Living Building Challenge in South Africa.
What is the Living Building Challenge?
It is a certification tool, advocacy tool and philosophy for projects that aim to create living buildings. The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) started this initiative with the mission of leading the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. It is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
The underlying principle is that buildings should mimic nature and natural systems. A living building is one that meets the 20 stringent imperatives, including being net-zero energy, net-zero water, using materials that are toxin free, and being beautiful and an inspiration to the surrounding community.
The buildings are regenerative, contributing positively to the environment. After a building has been in operation for twelve months and able to demonstrate compliance based on real performance, certification is verified.
Almost 600 projects around the world were registered to pursue certification as of June 2019. Locally, some of the projects actively pursuing certification include two residential projects in Oranjezicht, Cape Town; the 76 Corlett Drive office development in Johannesburg (targeting an LBC Petal certification); the Green School in Paarl which is currently under construction and targeting a full LBC certification; and Solid Green’s new office in Parkhurst.
The Living Future Collaborative of South Africa held its first series of events, “Truth in Action”, in November 2019. As part of the “24 hours of reality: Truth in Action” daylong worldwide conversation about the climate crisis and how to solve it , two presentations were hosted in Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively at the Boogertman + Partners head office in Bryanston and Aurecon Centre in Lynnwood.
The events were well-attended and guest speakers were Adrie Fourie on “Setting the scene – climate reality”, Marloes Reinink on “Living buildings for a living future” and Denise Mall on “Taking action – from sustainable to regenerative”.
The collaborative has also adopted the yellow-billed hornbill as its guiding animal. A symbol of faith, belief and optimism due to its constant skyward glance, this bird is known as “umKholwane” in Zulu, or “Little believer”.
Acknowledgement and thanks go to Solid Green Consulting for the information contained in this article. For more information visit International Living Future Institute (ILFI) website at https://living-future.org/