IN THE LAST DECADES, the answer to most urban development issues and strives for urban growth has been more construction. The new preference hierarchy should address that the most sustainable building is the one that is not built at all.
There is a massive potential for economic, ecological and social improvement in energy renovation and changing the use of buildings. But if you have to build new, build living buildings.

Living buildings are buildings that move beyond being less harmful towards being truly regenerative. Jason McLennan, the founder of the Living Building Challenge, compares buildings to living organisms. Like flowers or other plants, buildings should take their energy from the sun and the water they need from their surrounding environment. They are rooted in their place and react to the changes in light, temperature, and humidity. Besides, buildings should be beautiful, just like the natural environment is. Why couldn’t this be the criteria for our buildings and the way we design? […]

The Living Building Challenge is listed as one of the front runners for a regenerative approach to the built environment in the pamphlet ‘Building Vitality – Regenerative Construction‘, together with the Trees-as-Infrastructure (TreesAI) initiative, the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan, and the corporate activism of Ylva. Edited by Demos Helsinki and Ylva, the publication is freely available at this link.

About Demos Helsinki

Demos Helsinki is a globally operating, independent think tank. We conduct research, offer consultancy services, and reimagine and experiment futures with a global alliance, Untitled. We work with curious governments, cities, companies, universities, and other partners sharing a mission to build a fair, sustainable, and joyful next era. We have an office in Helsinki and are expanding our operations in Paris.

About Ylva

Our business activities focus on real estate and financial investments along with the restaurant sector. Our owner is the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and our profits are used to promote student activities. We have been part of Helsinki’s cityscape for 150 years and our business operations focus on long-term planning. For us, profitability means sustainable decisions that will keep us integrated with the city and society for the next 150 years as well.

We at Living Future Europe are happy to having contributed to this work and looking forward to seeing the development of our programs in Finland and the Nordics 🙂