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Communities all over the world are struggling to build effective strategies to address their key challenges, from climate change and equity to housing and revitalization. In response, the Communities by Design program brings together architects and other professional disciplines to work alongside the residents, professionals and institutions of host communities on key local issues. Every project is community-driven and includes meaningful public participation in an intensive process to match professional expertise with public values and aspirations for a place. 

Communities by Design is a program of the Architect's Foundation, the philanthropic partner of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

What does successful "Decarbonization for Cities" look like? (1 LU HSW)

  • 1.  What does successful "Decarbonization for Cities" look like? (1 LU HSW)

    Posted 02-15-2023 11:55 AM

    The Future of Cities Series: Decarbonization for Cities

    Our urban areas across the world account for more than 70% of CO2 emissions, so decarbonizing cities is a key pillar in the fight against climate change. This defining urban challenge is also an incredible leadership opportunity for architects and urban designers. According to Architecture 2030, the built environment accounts for 40% of carbon emissions globally. According to the IPCC, designing more compact cities could help cut urban emissions by around 25%. This represents a critical global challenge where architects are uniquely positioned to contribute to solutions.

    In September, The Brookings Institution released an evaluation of decarbonization plans using 50 of the country's largest cities. Key findings of the study included that most existing plans outline long-term goals, but few include detailed strategies, systems of benchmarking success, or detailed funding strategies, among other gaps. 

    To address this critical issue, the Communities by Design program is hosting an AIAU webinar on Decarbonization for Cities as a part of our Future of Cities series. Join us on February 22 at 2pm ET to dive into some of the common gaps in current city approaches and highlight innovative work happening at the local level that may provide broader guidance to community decarbonization strategies across the country. The session will feature two leading figures in the decarbonization field:

    Dr. Luis Aguirre-Torres is currently leading work at Rewiring America, a leading electrification nonprofit focused on electrifying everything in our communities. He is also co-chair of the New York State Climate Impacts Assessment, Society and Economy. He was formerly the Director of Sustainability for the City of Ithaca, N.Y., where he established and led the city's decarbonization and climate justice strategies.

    Jamal Russell Black is Senior Officer, Climate Economics at the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, responsible for identifying opportunities for sectoral and cross-sector innovation and improved economic, environmental and social impact, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations. Previously, Jamal has worked with fortune 100 companies on their decarbonization journey. This work focused on Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG accounting and reduction levers, including: Net-Zero Science Based Targets; mobility TCO and emission optimization; carbon capture, storage and utilization market analysis; and carbon offset strategy. He is also a co-author of the Brookings Institution report, Not according to plan: Exploring gaps in city climate planning and the need for regional action.

    We hope you join us for what promises to be another stimulating dialogue on the future of our cities! 

    Register now >

    Missed the first session on how technology is expected to impact our buildings and cities at large? Watch it on demand now >

    Paola Capo
    American Institute of Architects
    Washington DC