Verb Next

Ramón Prat

“There is an issue in the questions, “Designing Behavior”, we know that part of the equation can be controlled by technological inventions like solar panels, reusable water and so on. But one of the major issue is actually the behavior of the people using the buildings and inhabiting the space”. (Boris Brorman Jensen)

A decade has passed since William McDonough presented his “Bill of Rights for the Planet” at Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany. The set of nine broad principles were developed to guide architects and planners towards a sustainable built future, and while the pursuit of sustainability is a fashionable, growing social demand, the question stands as to whether the Bill’s premises and objectives have had any relevant consequences for architectural practice and the built environment.

In architectural vernacular “sustainable” is normally used as a modifier that describes a specific type of design process or result, there is “architecture” and “sustainable architecture”. On one hand, Verb Next takes the obvious position that social and environmental responsibility that we usually package under the term “sustainability” should be the groundwork for design, a starting point rather than an end goal. On the other hand, the research in Verb Next reveals significant economic, socio-cultural and political obstacles that stand in the way of sustainability operating as a forgone conclusion, and the questions whether the recipes for a responsible practice should be restated. To do this, Verb Next unpacks the derailed development of two zero-waste, zero-carbon city plans that, on paper, should have worked, and calls on thinkers and practitioners from different disciplines to reflect on the terms of today’s approach to “sustainability”.

© Actar Publishers