Designing Buildings that Evolve with the City

By Carolyn Flower
Published: July 24, 2012
Sustainable Cities Collective

Resilient cities need infrastructure that lasts and planning teams that are willing to step up to the plate. Designing structures that can sustain decades of use requires forethought beyond the basic combination of blocks, steel and glass. Just like sidewalks and street corners, city buildings have the power to connect people to one another. Buildings are shelters from unpredictable weather, places where people can have a good time or sit quietly and think. Buildings can also serve as checkpoints or another step in someone’s journey from point A to B.

Developing cities that thrive through the ebb and flow of time are not simply about creating infrastructure that can persist, but about designing buildings that evolve as cities evolve. Sustainable design transforms as cities develop visions for furthering connections among neighborhoods and city sectors. Design features such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and heat reduction that better regulates a building’s temperature are significant elements that replenish a city’s vitality through buildings that are capable of adapting to a city’s needs. Infrastructure that is greater than the sum of its parts also requires infrastructure that functions according to the changing needs of residents.

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