Alex Wilson on Resilient Design

Alex Wilson, the founder of BuildingGreen and executive editor of Environmental Building News, has written the first in what I believe will be a series of blog posts about resilient design.

He’s been on sabbatical for the last nine months, thinking deeply about this issue, and has a lot of smart things to say. Alex argues that we should be designing buildings and places to allow humans to survive increasingly intense storm events, global climate change, and energy and water insecurity. Green building (Alex’s area of expertise) plays a large part in that resilience.

Neighborhood and community design (our area of expertise) also plays a part. As gas prices increase and transportation becomes potentially unreliable, walkable communities will become more important. At the same time, we’re going to have to design our sites to survive more extreme floods, our buildings to withstand higher wind stresses and flood waters, and our infrastructure to survive uncertainty.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene, our firm has been working with a lot of folks who are rebuilding and wondering how to make their homes and businesses safe. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking about some of those techniques, and providing case studies of a few buildings that made it through the floods just fine.

(By the way, the picture to the right was taken by Alex on his bike ride through the West earlier this year. His blog archive about that trip is well worth reading.)