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sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
cement for development
Italcementi Group
perating in a world of
growing environmental
limitations and increasingly
complex social challenges,
Italcementi Group has made
sustainability the cornerstone
of its strategic development.
For the Group, sustainability
means responsible efficiency
aimed at creating long-lasting
value. First and foremost,
the Group strives to provide
sustainable solutions throughout
the whole building life cycle.
The focus is on innovation – the
kind that reaches beyond the
product, encompasses the entire
building process and brings us
closer to solutions that will help
reduce the carbon footprint,
foster the sustainable use
of resources and lead to socially
inclusive habitats, from the site
to the logistics, to fruition,
and through to demolition.
This in the belief that it is
no longer enough to change
the product by increasing
its environmental and social
efficiency. We must change the
way the product is used and take
an active role in a new model of
how land is used and developed.
Ponte della Musica, Rome
contents sdVision
Ready for change
ities are the driving forces of our economy, the
foundation of our culture and, for many of us, the
place we call home. The challenge we now face
is to make cities environmentally and socially sustainable. The game of sustainable development will be one
that is played out mainly in urban areas. The numbers
speak for themselves: on both sides of the equator, the
global population is rising. The weight of the past, when
quantity was often valued over quality, now bears heavily upon us. Today, with more and more experimentation
in urban planning and the push toward technological innovation, we are witnessing the development of urban
environments able to guarantee a better quality of life
for all citizens. The construction sector is spearheading
the change, and Italcementi Group sets out to become
the strongest link in the chain of sustainable construction at the service of urban development. As we move
forward together, we face a clear path ahead of us to ensure that land is used sustainably, to plan ways to rehabilitate our territories, to renew the urban fabric of our
cities and to upgrade our buildings and, above all, make
them more energy efficient. Our Group’s commitment
to R&D activities, the area that has always been the focus of our business strategy, has enabled us to offer the
building community highly-innovative cement and concrete materials that are pivotal and strategic to the urban
development underway. Our belief is not just based on
results achieved after years of applying environmental
and social sustainability parameters to our production
processes, but also, and above all, it is founded on our
ability to offer building materials that satisfy the specific
needs of sustainable construction. Italcementi cements
and concretes have secured their place on today’s markets as top-quality materials for both their intrinsic environmental efficiency and their high performance in
a wide range of sustainable construction applications.
Today, this is our strategy for sustainability, as we strive
to create lasting and far-reaching value for the economy
and for people. Our goal is two-fold: to rise up from the
crisis and steer change toward methods that use cement
in ways that will generate real and tangible benefits for
the common good.
Chief Executive Officer
Italcementi Group
For the first time in human history, the majority
of the world’s population lives in cities, and
numbers will continue to rise in the coming years
Figures of the Sustainable
Development Report in brief
Architects play a key
role in finding solutions
to the challenges
of society. Women can
offer a valuable
contribution in this
A number of cities have launched
innovative urban renewal strategies,
which include upgrading,
maintaining and taking measures
for the safety of the existing building
stock, rehabilitating abandoned
areas and enhancing the value
of public spaces
As part of a sustainable building
culture, Italcementi Group’s
products, organized into
the i.nova system, are offered as
technologically advanced
and environmentally efficient
materials able to add high aesthetic
quality to the urban
and infrastructural landscape
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
With an annual production capacity of 60 million tons and 49 cement plants (65 million tons and
53 cement plants considering also the companies consolidated by equity) Italcementi Group is the
world’s fifth largest cement producer. Along with the cement plants, Italcementi Group’s industrial
network includes 10 grinding centres, 7 trading terminals, 449 concrete plants combining the expertise, know-how and cultures of 22 countries across four continents with an overall staff of 19,000
people. In 2012 the Group reported consolidated revenues of about 4.5 billion Euro. Italcementi is
one of Italy’s 10 largest industrial companies and is listed on the Italian Stock Exchange. Italcementi
Group is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and has
adhered to the Global Compact, a strategic initiative promoted by the United Nations to align companies operations and plans with universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, working
conditions, environment and ethics. Through the activities of its Research and Innovation centres in
Italy and in France, the Group intends to anticipate market trends and requirements promoting the
concept of sustainable architecture.
TOTAL GROUP AT 31.12.2012
Sample Name
Cement plants
Grinding centres
About 19,000 employees
Concrete plants
4.5 billion Euro annual sales in 2012
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
Giovanni Ferrario
Chief Operating Officer
Carlo Pesenti
Chief Executive Officer
Giampiero Pesenti
Sample Name
Cement and clinker................................................................... 65%
Emerging Europe, North Africa
and Middle East...............................................................................21.2%
Ready-mixed concrete and aggregates ..................28%
Other activities ................................................................................... 7%
North America ......................................................................................9.8%
Asia ..................................................................................................................11.6%
Central Western Europe........................................................52.1%
Trading ..........................................................................................................3.7%
Other ................................................................................................................1.6%
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
Key data 2012
4,480 million €
632 million €
Sample Name
Sample Name
Sample Name
(*) Countries in which
the Group holds a share
< 33%
Innovation Rate
Sales volumes 2012
Cement and clinker
45.9 Mt
Ready-mixed concrete
12.9 Mmc
34.0 Mt
–151 million €
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
2012 sustainability at a glance
(per million of hours worked)
CO2 EMISSIONS (kg/t cement)
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
A new urban agenda
For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s
population lives in cities, and numbers will continue to rise
in the coming years. On both sides of the equator, cities provide wealth and job opportunities, and foster innovation and
creativity. However, today’s landscape requires a concerted
effort to promote sustainable urban development that is able
to guarantee social integration, environmental efficiency and
land protection. The cement industry is a major force in driving change. Italcementi Group is ready to do its part, in keeping with the three core anchors of its business strategy: social
responsibility, innovation and research.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
he urban population
worldwide is growing
rapidly. At the start of
the 19th century, only 2%
of the world’s population
resided in cities. In the
21st century, the urban
population rose to 50%
and is expected to reach
60% by 2030. For the first
time in human history, the majority
of the world’s population lives in a
city, and this proportion continues
to grow. In 2050, seven out of every
ten people will live in a city, making
up 70% of a population that is estimated to reach 9 billion.
An urban world
Currently, around half of all urban
dwellers live in cities with between
100,000 - 500,000 people, and fewer
than 10% of urban dwellers live in
megacities (a city with a popula-
tion of more than 10 million). In the
meantime, the world’s population
has increased from 700 million to
7 billion. The transition to a prevalently urban world is irreversible
Latin America
7 billion
596 million
1 billion
4,2 billion
3.6 billion
472 million
413 million
1.9 billion
862.5 million
113.4 million
225.9 million
522.7 million
u 1 out of 2 people lives in a city
u 1 out of 4 people living in an urban area lives in a slum (in Africa 1 out of 2 people,
in Latin America 1 out of 4, in Asia 1 out of 3)
Source: UN-Habitat, State of the World Cities Report 2012-2013
The current
world population
of 7.2 billion is
projected to
by 1 billion over
the next 12 years
and reach
8.1 billion
by 2025.
By 2050
the world
is projected
to increase
to 9.6 billion,
with 70% living
in cities (UN
World Population
Prospects, The
2012 Revision).
and brings with it radical changes
in the way land, energy, water and
other resources are used. The actions that are taken to manage the
changes underway will therefore be
the key to our future prosperity.
Different scenarios
for emerging
and mature countries
Emerging countries are experiencing the fastest urbanization rate.
Between 1995 and 2005, the urban
population in these countries rose
by an average rate of 1.2 million people per week, approximately 165,000
people per day. By the middle of the
21st century, it is estimated that the
urban population of these countries
will more than double, increasing
from 2.5 billion in 2009 to almost 5.2
billion in 2050. Urban areas in these
countries currently face numerous
challenges: poverty, the struggle for
social integration between rich and
poor, inadequate living conditions,
often with entire populations segregated in slums, a lack of basic services
and, in some parts of the world, risks
associated with climate change.
In mature countries, the urban population is expected to remain largely
unchanged, increasing from 920 million people to just over 1 billion by
2025. In these countries, immigration will account for more than twothirds of urban growth. Without immigration, the urban population in
these countries would most likely
decline or remain static. Human
pressure is therefore less severe in
the urban areas of mature countries,
but this part of the world still faces
the two-fold challenge of guaranteesdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
The European experience
Europe has one of the highest urbanization rates in the world, with
more than two-thirds of the European population living in urban areas.
According to Eurostat, the EU27 population is expected to increase from
501 million in the beginning of 2010
to 525 million in 2035, and to peak at
526 million around 2040. There are
projected to be considerable differences between the Member States.
In 2060, the strongest population
growth is projected to be found in
the United Kingdom (79 million),
followed by France (74 million), Germany (66 million), Italy (65 million)
and Spain (52 million). Cities will
therefore play a key role in Europe’s
future development and the challenges that lie before them centre
around the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, to guarantee
a more efficient and respectful use
of natural resources and land for future generations; economic, to make
affordable housing accessible to
new citizens, even in terms of energy consumption; social, to respond
to the needs of a multi-cultural and
ageing population.
An overview
While emerging countries are working to create suitable urban living conditions for their growing
populations, mature countries are
shifting their attention to renovating existing habitats in an effort to
make them more environmentally,
economically and socially efficient.
The situation calls for the imple12
(compared to the total increase)
Billions of inhabitants
ing adequate living conditions for
the lower social segments and reducing the ecological footprint of cities.
In addition to urban sprawl, cities
are responsible for around 80% of
global energy consumption, more
than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions and over 70% of the world’s
waste production.
In this perspective, certain emerging
scenarios are specific to Europe.
Rural population
Asia........................................................................................................................... 57.2%
Latin America and the Caribbean........................................... 14%
Africa...................................................................................................................... 13.2%
Urban population
Europe ...........................................................................................................................9%
North America................................................................................................6.1%
Oceania ..................................................................................................................0.6%
Asia............................................................................................................................... 54%
Latin America and the Caribbean.........................................6.8%
North America.............................................................................................. 4.2%
Europe ...........................................................................................................................2%
Oceania ..................................................................................................................0.5%
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and
Social Affairs, Population Division: World Urbanization
Prospects, the 2011 Revision. New York, 2012
2000 and 2010
the world’s
slum population
rose from 776.7
to 827.6 million.
In 1990, the
world’s slum
population was
650 million.
mentation of know-how and quick
intervention strategies to rehabilitate urban areas affected by natural
disasters, particularly seismic events
and hydro-geological phenomena.
In this way, cities can take steps to
upgrade their existing building and
infrastructure stock and make them
safe, in order to effectively prevent
seismic risks and mitigate extreme
climatic events.
A holistic approach
to urban development
Forward-thinking international and
domestic strategies see growing urbanization and the impact it has on
today’s world as an extraordinary
opportunity for solutions to economic and human development. Cities are the driving forces of wealth,
employment, innovation and creativity, enabling the emergence of
large-scale economies and offering
the ideal backdrop for infrastruc-
ture development. A new city design
that meets the current needs of the
urban population by constantly supporting technological innovation is
able to foster high levels of social
well-being and promote new opportunities for economic growth. The
way forward at global level is sustainable urbanization as the source
of general and widespread sustainable economic and social development. This path must be undertaken
by emerging and mature countries
alike, each pursuing different tactics within a shared strategy. As recognized in the final document of
the last RIO+20 World Summit, The
Future We Want, if they are well
planned and developed, cities can
promote economically, socially and
environmentally sustainable societies. The right direction is a holistic
approach to urban development and
human settlements that provides for
affordable housing and infrastrucsdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
tures and prioritizes slum upgrading
and urban renewal, thereby opening prospects that target the specific
needs of wealthy and poor cities.
As a promoter
of technological
innovation that
puts focus on
and social
values, the
cement industry
is capable of
eco-friendly and
solutions for
sustainable urban
Shanghai megacity, the icon of contrast
between futuristic architecture and slums
The role of the
cement industry
Global cement production in 2012 is
estimated at 3.6 billion tonnes, up
3% from 2011 (CEMBUREAU 2012).
On a global scale, China is leading
the industry, reporting an annual
growth rate of 3.6% and producing
59.3% of the world’s cement. Without taking China into consideration, world cement production was
up 1.8% in 2012, compared to an increase of 2.8% in 2011.
While the sector maintained satisfactory performance in the United
States and Japan, it reported significant increases in South America, Africa and Asia, and plummeted 20%
in Europe.
Total cement production in Europe
fell by 40% when compared to precrisis levels and certain European
countries have seen production fall
by 80%, the lowest levels ever since
the 1950s.
Particular attention must be paid
to relaunching the cement industry in Europe, which still remains a
key player in the global economy.
Sustaining the construction sector
and the cement industry in Europe
means making way for new development and new growth within the
European economy as a whole and
recognizing its key role in the industry. Beyond Europe’s regulatory
framework, which certainly needs
to be reviewed to make the system
costs currently imposed on the sector less burdensome, strategies for
urban development open up new
opportunities for the cement industry, which has made innovation the
heart of its business strategy.
As a promoter of technological innovation, the cement industry is
capable of pioneering constructive
eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for tomorrow’s sustainable
urban environments. The European
cement and concrete industry is
well-poised to implement the strategy laid down by EU institutions
for 2020 centred on four objectives:
social inclusion and education, innovation, employment, climate and
Italcementi Group
As to the first objective, Italcementi, as and industrial group at the
same time global and local, makes
a meaningful contribution to the
well-being of local communities by
promoting education initiatives and
taking steps to protect the health of
employees and their families.
Innovation is the key lever for making the Group competitive in local
and international markets.
In terms of employment, Italcementi Group guarantees work to 19,000
people in 22 countries.
Continuing to guarantee jobs and
possibly returning to pre-crisis levels is the way out of the current crisis. Finally, climate and energy are
top priorities for the Group, which
has made reducing CO2 emissions
the core of its production strategy.
More in general, Italcementi Group
is ready to tackle the new agenda of
the world city by working together
with planners and designers and
supplying products, services and
solutions able to respond to today’s
multiple needs (page 40 and following), notably:
– affordable and socially-accessible housing;
– urban renewal for energy and
environmental efficiency and
land preservation;
– urban upgrading based on smart
constructive and infrastructure
– buildings and infrastructures
rendered safe against seismic
and hydro-geological disaster
– architectural and aesthetic solutions that create “beacon” buildings and infrastructures.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
The new soul of cement
Interview with Mario Cucinella
Mario Cucinella needs very little
introduction. The Italian architect
creatively engaged in the field of sustainable architecture worked with
Renzo Piano’s team in Genoa and
Paris back in the early 1990s. Today,
he is visiting professor at Nottingham
University and lecturer at design and
architecture schools across Europe. In
2007, he launched the low environmental impact 100k€ House project.
sdVision asked Mario Cucinella to
indicate the path toward re-igniting
dialogue between the world of construction, the economic community
and the social community on the basis of mutual acknowledgement and
shared responsibility.
Mario Cucinella at i.lab,
Italcementi Group’s Research and
Innovation Centre in Bergamo
One Airport Square,
Accra, Ghana
The cement sector currently
faces not one, but two obstacles:
the crisis in the building sector
and the demonization of cement
perceived as the main culprit of
land degradation. What is your
Granted, industrial products are not
born as independent entities, but
come about as part of a wider vision.
Now more than ever. Unfortunately,
cement has been associated with
actions that have effectively devastated the landscape. We know that
cement alone did not create ecomonsters, but that the logic of speculation and complete lack of respect
for the greater good are to blame.
And yet, cement carries with it a
cultural stigma. We need to remove
this cultural association and give cement a soul. We must make it clear
that using cement will help breathe
new life into our cities and that the
renewal of a city’s building and infrastructure stock is a top priority in
innovative urban development strategies. Today it is possible to associate the use of cement to the renewal
of building stock that has been badly
neglected. In this way, cement can
be translated into a real and tangible
benefit for all. Without the consumption of any further land.
What is the point of reference for
new paths toward the development of urban environments?
In Europe, certainly the new regulations on energy efficiency in construction, which require that from 2019
onwards all newly-constructed public buildings be “nearly zero-energy”.
The deadline for private buildings will
be 2020 and, in the meantime, the
process of transformation will have
to be applied to existing buildings as
well (see page 32, Editor’s note). We
need to realize that it will take great
effort, which will first and foremost
require the leadership and support
of professionals and entire sectors
to implement a change of this proportion. Basically, within the next ten
years we will have to radically change
our cultural standards of reference.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
urban planet
spective, the regulatory framework is
lagging behind. Unsurprisingly, the
most forward-thinking sector leaders
are already offering building solutions
that go far beyond legal obligations
and are adopting the criteria used in
voluntary certification systems to offer guarantees to investors.
So, in your opinion, is openness
to cultural change the best guarantee for a possible recovery of
the building sector?
Yes, without a doubt. We need to
make qualified refresher training
available to sector professionals and
operators. Right now they are unprepared to satisfy the targets laid down
by Europe. In this sense, the role
of companies is and will be crucial.
Companies are the only ones that
right now can invest in education and
the players moving in this direction,
who focus on education and innovation, will be the only ones to emerge
as winners in the markets. We need
to learn thinking through new tech-
nology. Good examples of new technology would be some of the latest
breakthroughs in building innovation,
such as digital fabrication (which
enables three-dimensional solid objects to be built out of digital images),
computational design and robotics
applied to architecture, research in
programmable materials, and the
observation of efficiency in nature as
a possible model for new-generation
materials. The many improvements
achieved in terms of resistant and
efficient materials in recent years
also come to mind. In other words,
we need to embrace the idea that innovation is the only way to overcome
the crisis on a broad scale. In this per-
New headquarters
of the Autorité de
de la Poste et des
Algiers, Algeria
What vision should inspire cities
that have been renewed and rehabilitated? What kind of collective benefits do they offer?
A renewed city must first focus on
creating well-being for its inhabitants in terms of the environment,
space and the community. The
main benefit that a city offers is the
possibility of living together, so the
social value of the city must be the
primary focus. We are at a point
in which attention must be shifted
from economic benefits to social
benefits. While in the past the economic value of real estate was the
main draw of cities, today’s cities
must focus their efforts on their social offerings. We must also learn to
take care of our cities. Renewed and
rehabilitated cities do not necessarily have to be transformed into gentrified havens for the rich. Regeneration and rehabilitation also means
simply fixing pavements, gardens
and performing minor upgrades
that uplift and provide well-being
to the entire community. Strictly
in terms of creating widespread
well-being across urban communities, even smart cities acquire new
meaning. Renewed cities are smart
not only because they rely on the
latest technology, but also because
the people who inhabit them are
given the opportunity to try unique
experiences, so in this way they are
smart. Smart cities therefore breed
collective happiness.
What vision should inspire the
renovation of existing buildings?
In addition to energy and environmental efficiency, it is necessary to
consider the context within which
the building is set. Until now, the
focus has been primarily limited to
the building itself, removed from its
context, and to guaranteeing high
standards of functional efficiency
and architectural aesthetics. Today,
we need to move in a different direction: we must start from the context
and centre the renovation around
the specific needs of the inhabitants
and the environment.
Which projects are you particularly inspired by right now?
Those that actually respond to current demand. Starting with a radical perspective of energetic retrofit
of obsolete residential buildings. In
Italy, for example, the truth is that
we have settled on a more or less
generalized Class E. We should start
thinking seriously about migrating to
Class A, which would offer major advantages in terms of energy savings
and employment opportunities. Our
obsolete public buildings could realistically become Class B. I also think
that in the context of significant urban renewal, we should propose new
solutions for managing building sites
and logistics. I suggest, for example,
using unsold property during the
renovation to house the displaced
occupants. Abandoned industrial
areas could thus undergo a complete overhaul. All of this, again, at
zero land consumption. In the back
of my mind I always have my idea of
a 100k House: a real, low-cost house
built for 100 thousand Euro that is
able to satisfy any desire and is ecofriendly. Sooner or later I’ll bring this
idea to life. The pre-fabs tried out in
earthquake-stricken areas and built
using modern materials and building
solutions also inspire me, especially
when compared to obsolete public
buildings. s
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
out of the box
Vision, culture and
passion in construction:
Italcementi believes in
women in architecture
Architects play a key role in solving social challenges – one that goes
beyond their roles as creators of forms or iconic architecture. Improving the quality of our cities, striving toward urban sustainability, promoting education and offering lifestyle solutions for the rational use
of resources and land are only some of the areas in which architects
offer their talents. Women can offer a valuable contribution in this
direction. For this reason, Italcementi Group has launched arcVision
Prize - Women and Architecture, an international prize that honours
women in architecture.
Pavillon Humanidade, Rio de Janeiro, by Carla Juaçaba,
winner of 2013 arcVision Prize edition
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
out of the box
n 2013, Italcementi Group
launched arcVision Prize –
an international award for
women in architecture, to be
given to the designers who
best interpret the role of the
architect through significant
civil, residential and service
construction projects, particularly in the social, environmental,
cultural and educational spheres. As
Italcementi CEO Carlo Pesenti said,
“In recent years, the Group has paid
growing attention to the empowerment of women in the corporate
and social environment, a focus that
we want to match now with our
long-standing commitment to the
building community. With arcVision
sustainability and the social and
cultural impact of design, in keeping with the needs and expectations
of the people who will occupy the
architectural spaces. Women in architecture are valued as interpreters
aware of and sensitive to change, to
the needs of the urban community,
and to the re-design of a sustainable
urban environment.
Prize Italcementi Group intends to
generate ‘positive discrimination’
toward women in the architectural
The Award philosophy
More generally, the Italcementi
initiative seeks to stimulate radical
thinking in architecture and make
innovation and modernity the pillar of the new design of sustainable
habitats. Through arcVision Prize,
Italcementi Group invites the building community to think out of the
box and value the role of women in
architecture. The Prize is expressly
intended to acknowledge achievements in research and design that,
together with qualitative excellence,
focus on technological innovation,
Carlo Pesenti and
Martha Thorne,
arcVision PrizeWomen and
Architecture 2013
and Architecture
helps develop
and consolidate
the core values
of Italcementi
Group: respect
for the
social impact
of the
and quality of
the materials.
2013 jury
An all-women jury of excellence for
the first 2013 edition of arcVision
Prize. Serving on the jury: Shaikha
Al Maskari, Board Member of the
Arab International Women’s Forum,
Vera Baboun, Mayor of the city of
Bethlehem, Odile Decq, architect (a
key member of the Prize Committee, together with Stefano Casciani,
Scientific Director), Victoire de Margerie, Chairperson of Rondol Technology, Yvonne Farrell, architect,
Samia Nkrumah, President of the
Kwame Nkrumah Panafrican Center,
Kazuyo Sejima, architect, Benedetta
Tagliabue, architect, and Martha
Thorne, Executive Director of the
Pritzker Prize.
Projects awarded
According to the rules of the Prize,
the professionals selected must
have designed at least one building
(completed or under construction)
in the field of social infrastructures
and incorporated innovative functional and technical solutions and
values, with a particular focus on
sustainable construction. For the
2013 edition, 19 architects operating in 15 countries worldwide were
deemed eligible. The monetary prize
of € 50,000, which the winner will
donate, in whole or in part, to social
architecture projects of her choice,
and a two-week research workshop
at i.lab, Italcementi Research & Innovation Centre, was awarded this
year to Carla Juaçaba, a 37-year-old
Brazilian architect, for her enormous sensitivity to the cultural and
environmental context, in addition
Benedetta Tagliabue
Samia Nkrumah
Victoire de Margerie
to her creativity in seeking unconventional solutions.
The jury chose her for her Pavillon Humanidade 2012 built for the
Rio+20 World Summit and designed
with easily dismantled and recyclable materials with a low impact
on the environment. The jury also
awarded three Special Mentions to
Izaskun Chinchilla from Spain for
her unconventional approach, Anupama Kundoo from India for her
skill in researching materials, and
Siiri Vallner from Estonia for her
thoughtful interpretation of spaces
and places.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
out of the box
EMERGING PROJECTS arcVision Prize-Women and Architecture
Volontariat Homes,
Pondicherry, India
a social housing
project which consists
of baking the mud
bricks and mud mortar
on-site and using
various other recovery
materials, conceived
by Anupama
Kundoo, an Indian
architect, mention of
honour arcVision Prize
Alveole 14, Saint
Nazaire, France a
spectacular conversion
of a dismissed area
(German submarine
base constructed
during World War II),
designed by Giulia
Andi, an Italian
architect, selected for
arcVision Prize 2013
Pinnacle @
Duxton, Singapore
Continuous Sky
Gardens terrace, a
50-storey building that
displays sensitivity
to the relationship
between high-rise
high-density living
and the human scale,
designed by Belinda
Huang, a Singaporean
architect, selected for
arcVision Prize 2013
Smart cities to promote development
Interview with Vera Baboun
“Smart city
strategies must
fully understand
the social needs
of the local
Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, is
the first woman in the city’s history
to hold this office. An Arab Christian,
Mayor Baboun studied African-American literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was once teacher
at the primary local school and is now
lecturer at the University of Bethlehem. She is mother to five children.
An emblematic personality that represents women’s emancipation and
the ability to close the gap through
dialogue, Vera Baboun is the ideal embodiment of what it means to think
out of the box. She served on the jury
of the 2013 edition of arcVision PrizeWomen and Architecture. She discusses with sdVision the prospects of
sustainable development and the use
of information and communication
technologies in an urban context.
How do you interpret the role of
women in the shift toward a new
model of sustainable development in urban areas?
Women are creative; they have a
profound ability to transform; they
have the vision of change and unique
ways of starting the process. Their
role must therefore be acknowledged. The award that Italcementi
Group has dedicated to women
committed to the world of archi-
tecture is a clear expression of acknowledgement. It is also important
that the award underscores just how
important modern architecture is in
improving the quality of life of people
in cities while respecting the environment. But the true key to change
is men and women, together, working alongside one another to create
a fairer and more sustainable development model. This process must
be rooted in a deep transformation
that embraces all individuals: people should be aware of their power
to affect change. Every individual
should feel that he/she has an active
part in change. As a woman living in
a patriarchal society, I believe in my
decision-making abilities and I got to
where I am today because I have always believed in these abilities.
Can smart city strategies be fertile ground for sustainable development?
Of course, especially if these strategies are founded on Information
and Communication Technologies
for Development (ICT4D) models in
which new technologies are aimed
at socio-economic development and
the protection of human rights. Better information and communication
can nurture the development of urban communities that are more sensitive to people’s needs. Smart city
strategies rely on technological innovation, but must also include and
envision social needs, poverty, agriculture, health and basic education.
In the urban areas of emerging countries these strategies can guarantee
goods and services for those who
have been “excluded” and help eradicate poverty. My idea is to promote
a Smart City for Development.s
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
Urban regeneration
for good
sustainable living
Careful to limit and contain their carbon footprint, designed on
a human scale, wired, accessible, enabling, attractive to visitors
worldwide and talented men and women, competitive on a global
scale. These are the characteristics of cities that are poised for
the future. Cities around the globe are undergoing change and implementing innovative urban regeneration strategies to give life
to incubators of innovation and production activities and create
urban living models that are in step with new emerging needs.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
n the last twenty years, urban
regeneration has emerged as
one of the main pillars of urban planning and building activity across the world. Today,
as we face increasingly rapid
and significant social and economic changes, it is the key to
guaranteeing the quality of the
urban habitat. As illustrated in
this issue, leading global trends are
seeing sustainable urban development as a path to making urban renewal strategies more efficient overall. The prospects of today, gained
from experiences in various parts of
the world and particularly sensitive
to needs that have, over time, become real environmental and social
emergencies, can and must express
radical thinking that is able to bring
about cultural change that encourages innovation, modernity and
social integration. Thus leaving forever behind useless prejudices that
do nothing but breed near-sighted,
negative reactions that express
the “no to everything syndrome”.
Urban regeneration strategies trigger
a permanent process of redevelopment and renovation, giving a voice
to the need for change implicit in
Architecture for
a better urban life
the dynamics of urban development.
A clear example is Tokyo, which in
early 2000 confirmed the “urban renaissance” policy previously launched
by the government in the beginning
of the Eighties. Continuing along a
path started more than twenty years
ago, the policy has progressively
transformed the living conditions
and aesthetics of one of the world
most important metropolitan areas.
Copenhagen, the northern European
city that for years has been working
to create traffic-free neighbourhoods,
safe bicycle paths and pedestrian
areas, energy-efficient schools and
has been tirelessly experimenting in
new housing solutions, has become
a model for quality design in innovative architecture.
How to re-construct
sustainable cities
Urban regeneration is a practice
geared toward the renewal of buildings and infrastructures, but also toward demolishing and reconstructing buildings that have reached the
end of their life cycle or that underuse the income potential of the land
which they occupy. Sustainable urban regeneration is not just about
Interview with Odile Decq
seum in Rome, opened in 2010. She is
actively involved in teaching, in particular Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture
in Paris, which she headed until 2012.
She is also visiting professor at a
number of international universities,
including Columbia University in
New York. sdVision asked Odile Decq
to express her point of view on the
concept of sustainable and smart city,
as well as on the role of architecture
in the process of urban regeneration.
“The architecture
of today will
shape the world
in which we live in
the coming years”.
strategies give
a voice to the
need for change
implicit in the
dynamics of urban
Odile Decq is a leading exponent of
the avant-garde architecture community. She founded Studio Odile
Decq with Benoit Cornette, working
with him until his premature death
in 1998. In 1990 Decq and Cornette
became internationally famous with
the design of the Banque Populaire
de l’Ouest in Rennes. After several
awards, their work was crowned with
the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 1996. Odile Decq
has consolidated her international
profile with the successful project for
the MACRO Contemporary Art Mu-
What is the role of the architect
in the process of urban regeneration and renewal?
Throughout time, architecture has
persisted as one of the most profoundly important reflections of human culture. Architects have always
played a role in the process of urban
renewal. They are asked to help politicians, urban planners and developers to conceive cities of the future.
And today the active role of architects in urban development is becoming more and more important
due to the urban population boom
in mature and emerging countries.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
The focus of urban planning and innovation must be shifted from the
central city areas to the surrounding
areas, mostly to suburbs. Today the
needs that are waiting to be satisfied
are not those of citizens living in the
city centres, but those of people living in the suburbs. It is therefore important to start thinking in terms of
metropolitan area: if we keep talking
only about the “city”, we risk channelling most of our creative and innovative efforts only into the central
areas. In this respect, the role of the
architect is even more important
than in the past. Of course the architect is not going to work alone, but,
as I said, together with politicians,
sociologists, urban planners and
developers. We need to rethink the
urban environment: this is our challenge today. Therefore the question
is certainly not to add new buildings,
but rather to create a good environment for new people coming to the
cities. And I would say more: our
challenge today is not the beauty of
city buildings, but a good organization of the metropolitan area based
on efficient buildings and infrastructures, where people can easily live
and move according to their specific
urban planning, but encompasses a
wider strategy of sustainable urban
development that softens the impact of the built area on the environment, limits urban sprawl, stops the
consumption of new land and aims
to revitalize suburbs as the starting
point for changing the urban building and environmental structure. As
every sustainability strategy, sustainable urban regeneration also centres around three pillars: economic
growth, environmental protection
and social development.
Renovating the existing building
stock means finding a point of balance between the needs of the com30
What’s your vision for sustainable and smart cities?
I’m fed up with talking about sustainability, because when we talk about
sustainable cities we mostly talk
about energy efficiency, so we make
the question purely technical. But a
city is not a technical question. It is
first of all a matter of human beings.
From this point of view, I do prefer to
talk about environmental protection
in urban areas. As far as the “smart”
concept is concerned, once again it
cannot be only a matter of energy efficiency. In my opinion, a smart city
is a place where people are socially
connected, where they can circulate
and travel, where they can have everything they need at home. In other
words, it’s a complete organization
that integrates the local and the global dimension and enables people to
live a better life.
Do you think architects should
give special attention to the
needs of the people, to places,
and to how we interact with the
urban environment as a whole?
Yes, architects are not dealing only
with buildings. They have to think
about how to put people in a good
environment, first and foremost. I
feel that today’s architects are still
too concerned with design. But the
new generations are thinking differently. Our real goal is to think about
human beings. We must go back
to the past, when architects were
entrusted to provide a better life to
people. I hope this approach will prevail in the future.
“The challenge
of modern
is not the
beauty of city
but a good
of the
Today a good architect has to
come to terms with the past.
What does this mean in the perspective of urban regeneration?
We have to come to terms with the
past because the past is still among
us, it is our context. We need to
adapt to the past and turn it into a
better solution. We need to reuse
that which exists for the benefit of
new life. Our starting point will never
be, and cannot be, a tabula rasa.
Do you think that diversity should
be a key aspect of the new sustainable and smart city?
Diversity in architecture, in population, in programmes and strategies
is what we need. We are not all the
same, we are all different, we have
different ways of living and different
lifestyles. A mono-cultural society is
simply nonsense. It leads to death.
We already live in a multi-cultural society and this is our most appropriate dimension. We should develop
the ability to mix different identities
and cultures to provide the best results for people. Urban areas are
certainly the right place to test and
implement this perspective.
Do you think that new sustainable
and smart cities in mature countries have something to learn
from cities developing in emerging countries? Which countries
and cities should look to for inspiration?
I think that it is mostly a question of
attitude. We must first of all think that
the future is possible. This means
that we shouldn’t remain anchored
to our history, but that we should
look toward the future to build a new
future for the younger generations.
We should not repeat the past, but
think in a new way. We need to think
something different. It is difficult to
say where we should look for inspiration because everything is changing so fast. Good examples today
are Balkan cities, on one hand, for
their use of ICTs and Chinese cities,
on the other, for the development of
new buildings.s
munity at large and those of the
market. It means creating a vision
in which urban and environmental
quality, innovation, mobility, and
social and cultural offerings become
necessary paradigms. With a regulatory framework in place, now is the
right time for meaningful change.
The construction market’s development model has already changed:
sector analyses reveal a future in
which more and more existing architecture is renovated, safety standards are progressively followed and
the move toward energy and environmental efficiency is widespread.
Essentially, expansion is giving way
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Hamburg, HafenCity
city as project incubator
to recovery, upgrading and renewal,
and creating new growth opportunities for territories and countries.
Sustainable urban regeneration creates new economy and employment
and involves upgrading, maintaining
and taking measures for the safety
of the existing building stock, rehabilitating abandoned areas (including production, tertiary, military,
government areas) and enhancing
the value of public spaces. It is also
functional to smart city strategies.
For change to come about, everyone
must overcome the taboo of demolition and reconstruction. Often times,
for example, the cost of renovating
a building that is prone to seismic
risk is higher than rebuilding. In Europe, examples abound of unsightly
suburban areas that have been demolished and rebuilt anew as integrated urban neighbourhoods. In
answer to the revolts in 2005 in the
Banlieues (literally, “non-places”),
France enacted a national law and
instituted the Agence Nationale pour
la Rénovation Urbaine (ANRU) for urban renovation at national level. As a
result, many suburban areas built after WWII were demolished to make
room for new constructions. In the
1990s, on the occasion of large-scale,
worldwide events that took place at
the time, the city of Barcelona developed a comprehensive urban renewal plan that first found expression in the “100 projects” by Oriol
Bohigas. Subsequently, the plan led
to the renovation of the city’s sports
arenas, a new seafront, the distribution of works and infrastructures,
and the recovery and refurbishment
of various neighbourhoods in and
outside of the city.
Nearly zero-energy
buildings for Europe
applied to existing buildings as well.
A nearly zero-energy building is
one that has a very high energy
performance or requires a very
low amount of energy covered to
a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources. EU
Member States will have to draw up a
plan for nearly zero-energy buildings
in which they offer their interpretation of the definition of a nearly zeroenergy building on the basis of the
country’s climate and establish an
action plan to increase the number
of these buildings by 1 January 2021,
the date on which the requirement
will apply to all new buildings. Member States will also be required to
stimulate the transformation of existing buildings that are refurbished
into nearly zero-energy buildings.
onstruction accounts for 40%
of total energy consumption
in the European Union. Cutting energy consumption in
this sector is therefore a priority of the “20-20-20” package.
Directive 2012/27/EU on energy
efficiency is moving in this direction and confirms the requirements
provided in Directive 2010/31/EU
on the energy performance of buildings. By the end of 2020, all new
buildings in Europe – for those occupied and owned by public authorities the deadline is the end of 2018
– must be nearly zero-energy and
the process of transformation to
nearly zero energy will have to be
Existing buildings
on an environmental scale
A key step in sustainable urban regeneration strategies is the application of adequate environmental
standards, already in place for new
buildings, also for existing buildings. Revitalizing existing buildings
based on innovative standards in
energy, technical and environmental fields is a priority for ensuring
quality of living and safety for citi-
new economy
and employment
and is functional
to smart city
initiatives include
upgrading and
taking measures
for the safety
of the existing
building stock,
abandoned areas
and enhancing
the value of
public spaces.
zens, in addition to cost-efficiency.
To be effective, plans to bring existing buildings into line with energy
and environmental efficiency standards should not be limited to single
buildings or portions of areas considered separate from the city as a
whole. The plans should encompass
entire “portions of city” and neighbourhoods, as they relate to the
overall urban system, so that the
renewal of one part can serve as a
driving force for other “portions” of
the urban area. In these very neighbourhoods renovation and construction initiatives can be applied
to buildings, but also to communities, to outreach services and, more
in general, to sustainable urban life
Halting land consumption
Secondly, sustainable urban regeneration strategies make it possible to
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
halt the consumption of new land,
thereby freeing up urbanized areas
and transforming them into public spaces that may even increase
the social capital of the suburban
area. Opportunities to create new
green infrastructures or revitalize
existing ones are also a possibility.
This process has already started in
various cities worldwide. Upgrading public spaces affects the quality
of life of the inhabitants and their
sense of connection to the spaces.
In this way, it can also be a solution
to bridging the gap between affluent
and poor neighbourhoods, encouraging social cohesion and therefore
achieving one of the key objectives
of urban sustainability strategies.
A successful example is Barcelona.
Public spaces have been a promi-
nent feature of the Spanish city’s
urban renewal strategy, leading to
the creation of hundreds of new
squares, parks and gardens since the
early 1990s. Hamburg has also made
a strong commitment to becoming
a green city (in 2011 it earned the title Green Capital of Europe), putting
special focus on climate change.
Today, 20% of the city is covered in
park and woodland, making the city
a model for eco-sustainable urban
renewal in Europe.
New life for
dismissed areas
A third very important step is the
conversion and use of dismissed
industrial areas, which provides
a further great opportunity for experimenting with sustainable urban
For change
to come about,
we must
the taboo
of demolition and
costs are much
more profitable.
development. For example, in Barcelona thousands of illegal housing
units have been modernized and the
authorities have promoted, within
abandoned industrial areas, the construction of new subsidized residential buildings as well as hotels and
short-term let apartments for corporate use.
Also in Spain, Bilbao is another
case that stands out – not only for
the Guggenheim Museum, that giant sculpture by Frank Gehry, and
its unquestioned success. But also,
and most importantly, for the way
its urban planners have been able
to transform a city suffocated by
steel mills and containers piling up
in the river and industrial port into
an urban area with a new tourist
and cultural appeal and a changed
relationship with its river. In the
strategy adopted in Bilbao, the focus
is on the identification and reclamation of potential dismissed areas, as
well as on a progressive, far-sighted
development of adequate mobility
Also, the renovated Bilbao can boast
its fair share of works by the brightest names in world architecture. In
addition to Gehry, architects who
worked in Bilbao include Santiago
Calatrava, who designed the Zubizuri bridge and the new airport; Arata
Isozaki, who created two residential
towers; Cesar Pelli, who completed
the Iberdrola tower (whose 165 metres height has changed the Basque
city’s skyline); Philippe Starck and
Ricardo Bastida.
Another city that distinguishes it-
path toward true renewal.
Joining forces with Harvard will be a
valuable asset in terms of designing
physical and social spaces suited to
tackling the challenges of the future,
in terms of both technology and
socio-cultural change. This with a
view toward sustainable growth in
harmony with the needs and specific features of the local community.
It is an important contribution that
Italcementi Group intends to offer,
through this Project, for the growth
of the city and territory of Bergamo,
where the company began its operations 150 years ago.
The goal, and a lofty one at that, is
to identify a model for a smart community that encourages interaction
among the population, institutions
and traditional and modern infrastructures in order to produce sustainable economic growth and a
high quality of life through the participatory and smart management
of natural resources and the capacity for learning and innovation. The
model will be tailored to the future of
the city of Bergamo. The project will
entail the involvement of the entire
University of Bergamo, with contributions from every Department on
the basis of an inter-disciplinary approach.
The contents of the research will address four themes: environment
and ecology, to ensure environmental and social sustainability;
mobility and infrastructures, to
improve the long-term development
of the territory with the support of
the opportunities offered through
technological advancements; economic structure and business
networks, to promote the social
well-being of the community; social
capital and knowledge networks,
to ensure diffused and distributed
excellence in an innovative and
proactive environment. s
Bergamo 2.(035):
urban ideas
for a changing world
To make Bergamo a true laboratory
of ideas, proposals and solutions
that can serve as a benchmark for
other European cities, in keeping
with the European Union’s research
programmes for smart cities and
smart communities. This is the goal
of Progetto Bergamo 2.(035),
a project developed as part of the
Smart[er] Citizens research and
teaching programme created from
the partnership between University of Bergamo, Harvard Graduate
School of Design and Fondazione
Italcementi Cav. Lav. Carlo Pesenti. With an inclusive spirit, Bergamo 2.(035) strives to offer institutions and the urban community an
idea of how the city will develop over
the next twenty years: a vision of the
future city, from infrastructures to
the economic texture, from mobility
to social well-being. The vision will
be applied to the city of Bergamo in
an effort to lay the groundwork for a
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
Innovation and responsibility for the new connected city
Interview with Martha Thorne
Known worldwide as the Executive
Director of the Pritzker Prize (the
Nobel Prize of architecture), Martha
Thorne is also active in the area of
communication and education. After graduating in Urban Planning
from the University of Pennsylvania and in Economics from the London School of Economics, Martha
Thorne worked as curator of the Chicago Art Institute’s Department of
Architecture from 1996 to 2005, when
she was designated as Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize. She also
holds a position with the IE School
of Architecture of Madrid, where she
coordinates a global network of architecture schools and universities. sdVision asked Martha Thorne her view
of urban development.
In your opinion, what are the key
features of a sustainable city?
The features that make a city sustainable are numerous, ranging from
minor actions to large-scale strategies. A city that aspires to be sustain-
self for the successful conversion of
abandoned areas is Hamburg, where
the old port warehouses of HafenCity have been cleverly restored as
residential buildings, supported by
an efficient infrastructure and service system. The transformation has
resulted in an interesting combination of different uses. In HafenCity,
industrial archaeology meets design
and state-of-the-art technology in
what is effectively an experimental
laboratory on the redevelopment of
abandoned areas, where works by
Chipperfield, Meier, Koolhaas, Citterio and Fuksas integrate in a wellorganized system marked by widespread high quality.
Among others, one of the most
interesting projects is a primary
able should be well balanced in many
respects, including environmental
sustainability, but also economic
and social sustainability. The objective should include a rational, efficient use of resources, contributing
to the quality of life of all residents,
as well as the ability to develop short
and long-term action plans with positive results.
Do we need to rethink the concept of city?
In the past, we sometimes thought
“In sustainable
cities, individuals,
the community
and the city
as a whole
should share
objectives and
This process
starts from
an awareness
of what needs
to be done and
of how everyone
can play a role”.
of cities as independent settlements, not connected with the region, the Country or other cities. We
should rethink the city in light of the
many changes that have taken place
in our society – in terms of technology, commerce, transports, and
the new global dimension – and of
the rapid urbanization process currently experienced by many parts
of the world. Above all, we must
become aware of the existing connections. Simply put, we should remember that we are all connected.
Today, our analyses of cities should
include quantitative and qualitative
parameters. We cannot imagine that
a city’s success is simply the result
of economic growth and a positive
budget. We should reconsider our
idea of progress to include sustainability and liveability.
tecture is in a unique position to determine how the main trends in our
society can be reflected in spatial
terms or in our built environment.
We should remember that societies
are undergoing rapid change, and
therefore it is essential to integrate
the concepts of flexibility and longevity within architectural projects. One
way in which architecture can support change is by converting existing
buildings to new uses. Field research
can lead to the use of new materials and recycled products and to a
reconsideration of existing manufacturing and building methods. For
example, instead of asphalting large
urban areas, the use of materials
that allow water to seep into the soil
could be a simple, direct and positive
solution for the fast improvement of
the urban environment.
How can architecture respond
to global issues like population
growth, immigration and climate
Architecture alone is unable to meet
the daunting challenges faced by our
present societies. However, archi-
How does the relationship between individuals and the community change in a sustainable
city? How can this change be
transferred to building strategies
and decisions?
In sustainable cities, individuals, the
school intended to attract young
families to the new neighbourhood.
The Katharinenschule, designed by
Spengler & Wiescholek, is a five storey building with a capacity of 450
pupils, with features also suitable
for extracurricular activities: on the
roof, a pergola-covered area takes the
colours of the fruits of the season.
After years of immobility, an unprecedented ten-year process has
changed the face of Marseille (European Capital of Culture in 2013). With
the sea and the mountains limiting
its expansion, the French city has
grown from within, starting from a
complete makeover of its waterfront
with museums and public spaces obtained from the refurbishing of unused old buildings.
At the service
of smart city strategies
The multiple actions that can produce urban regeneration are combined most effectively in the smart
city and smart community strategies. Apart from the many experiments being conducted worldwide,
a number of definitions of smart
cities exist, all of which ultimately
imply a coordinated set of interventions aimed at making cities more
sustainable. This is pursued, in the
first place, from an energy and the
environment perspective, through
choices and technologies that help
to save energy and to use renewable
sources in homes and in the streets.
Secondly, from a functional perspective, by ensuring urban service qualsdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
city as project incubator
community and the city as a whole
should share objectives and responsibilities. This process starts from
an awareness of what needs to be
done and of how everyone – from
individuals to groups, companies,
communities and institutions – can
play a role. Education is important
if we want sustainability to become
our reference framework and not
an expensive add-on like it is today.
Technology has been a catalyst of
many changes in society. If we could
use technology to help all the city’s
stakeholders – individuals, groups
and networks – to be more efficient
and make rational and environmentally compatible decisions, we would
be using technology to make a real
step forward.
How should today’s architects
work to contribute to the creation of sustainable urban areas?
Architecture can contribute to a city’s
sustainability in many ways, firstly
the specific attitude to architecture
and the built environment. Many describe the full construction cycle of a
building as “cradle to cradle”. When
ity and flexibility with respect to
users’ needs. The sustainability of a
smart city is also measured in terms
of quality of life, starting from the
development of social participation,
which underpins the sense of community and a potential new smart
community. Lastly, sustainability is
also defined as the city’s ability to
plan a coherent growth, maintain a
correct relationship with green spaces, provide a coordinated and flexible
response to environmental emergencies and to situations caused by human activities, and ensure safety in
every respect. In other words, even
in order to take off, smart city strategies must be backed by renovated
and upgraded urban structures and
infrastructures, or at the very least
all the parties who participate in the
construction of a building share the
objective of “cradle to cradle” design,
rather than fast, cheap solutions independent of any assessment of
possible long-term impact, that will
be a step towards sustainability. This
change in attitude has begun, but we
must do more.
Today, the urbanization process
involves simultaneously both
mature and emerging countries.
What are the main needs that
should be met in this process? Is
it possible to outline a common
vision for the urban areas of the
world, or are different strategies
I think that, while common urban
sustainability objectives can be identified, each city should build its own
strategy, shaped for the specific
context. The individual strategies will
then be developed on the basis of
general factors (available resources,
the political situation, the cultural
context, the population’s needs, and
so on), and of many other aspects
that make a city a local phenomenon
Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum
and at the same time part of the global community.
In your opinion, should urbanization advance in step with local
needs and cultures?
Undoubtedly. The urbanization
process should also provide services accessible to all citizens. Cities
are centres of innovation, science,
culture and education. Often, however, these areas of opportunity
also bring overcrowding, pollution,
inequalities, and may suffer from a
lack of basic services for a part of
the population. Urbanization should
be a source of opportunity for individuals in their material and immaterial needs. The soul of the city is the
product of its people and its culture,
its history and its vision of the future.
Moreover, each city must identify
an appropriate process to strike a
balance between past and present.
Cities are not static, and change will
be constant. However, an accurate
evaluation of the heritage, culture
and history of a place contributes
to the city’s identity and often to the
quality of life of its residents. Current
demand should be met as much as
possible, provided that – if something has to be lost along the innovation process – the short and longterm benefits must be substantial,
sustainable and superior. Progress
for progress’ sake does not work,
nor does preserving something only
because it is old.
Can cement be considered an innovative product that supports
the urban regeneration process?
Like most materials, cement in itself
is neither innovative nor traditional.
Cement has the advantage of being a
durable material, and this is positive
from the point of view of sustainability. On the other hand, when its life cycle ends it has been mostly disposed
of in waste sites, at least so far, as recycling possibilities are limited. There
is great potential for new uses of cement. Recent developments have
shown great opportunities for new
uses and new products. However, innovation in this sector must proceed
in parallel with demolition waste reduction and greater efficiency of current processes and uses. s
by support urban regeneration programmes. Smart city strategies in
themselves offer the opportunity to
transform cities into extraordinary
project sites: this is where it is possible to develop and test processes
and methodologies for urban and
sensory regeneration, the Internet
of Things, new materials for the construction of buildings, next-generation digital architectures, new mobility systems for people and goods,
new logistics systems, innovative
energy efficiency solutions, urban
vegetable gardens and hothouses.
Only if these conditions are met will
the use of IC technologies, and more
importantly of “smart” and systematic planning ability, be able to act
as a bonding agent. s
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
and development:
mission possible
Today, the construction industry faces a major challenge: to
deploy the ability to respond to an urban growth that is unprecedented also in terms of new trends and new emerging needs.
There is a strong and widespread demand for a change in the direction of the building cycle, shifting it towards a regeneration
of the urban texture, a reduction in land take, and improvements
that will make existing buildings resource and energy efficient.
Through this process, the sector will probably be able to emerge
from the serious crisis it is currently experiencing. Italcementi
Group can provide solutions to support the ongoing change process. Thanks to its industrial strategy, firmly based on the pillars
of innovation and sustainability, today Italcementi is able to offer
to the building community a range of product performance and
applications suitable for use in sustainable building at all phases
of the life cycle of buildings and infrastructures.
i.lab, Italcementi Group Research and Innovation Centre, Bergamo
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
he values of sustainabil- er commitment to driving environity are the foundation mentally and socially responsible
on which is based Ital- economic development.
cementi Group’s strate- By leveraging its innovation capagic growth. Sustainabili- bilities and its diverse internal comty has been a priority for petencies, the Group is currently
Italcementi since 2000, engaged in developing products and
company solutions for sustainable building,
joined the World Busi- throughout the entire life cycle of a
ness Council for Sustain- building or infrastructure.
able Development (WBCSD) and the Italcementi demonstrated its strong
Cement Sustainable Initiative (CSI), motivation to promote sustainabilof which Carlo Pesenti, Chief Execu- ity in construction already in 2008,
tive Officer of the Group, is current- with the decision to be a foundly co-chairman.
ing member of the Green Building
Since then, the Annual Sustainabil- Council Italia Association, estabity Report has helped to measure, at lished to introduce the Italian margroup level, the environmental and ket to building innovation processes
social performance of the different based on the LEED (Leadership in
activities, progressively setting goals Energy and Environmental Design)
and monitoring policy implementa- certification system.
tion over time.
Putting this motivation into pracToday, the Sustainability Report tice, the company set up the new
is prepared in accordance with the i.lab Research and Innovation CenGlobal Reporting Initiative Guide- tre, where Richard Meier’s creative
lines, and from 2011 it is published and rigorous design maximized the
together with the Annual Financial
Report, enhancing the disclosure NEW MARKET APPROACHES
and transparency of environmental
and social impact data to the wider i.nova: 11 Performance
circle of stakeholders. In general Families for
terms, to Italcementi Group sustainability means responsible efficiency city regeneration
aimed at the creation of widespread
and lasting value.
In this perspective, the continuous Italcementi Group’s new product
search for cost effective solutions organization launches 11 Performand the use of low environmental ance Families in the cement, conimpact, socially responsible resourc- crete, lime and mortar market.
es is a strategic business priority. In Each Family represents a product
Italcementi’s view, the commitment performance. The creation of the
to sustainability extends across i.nova system is the result of an
the entire scope of the Group’s op- industrial strategy based on inerations, from supplier relations to novation and on the values of
internal processes and market rela- sustainability.
The functionality of Italcementi
Indeed, it is in its relationship with products for sustainable constructhe market that Italcementi Group tion is a common feature across
has recently taken an important the 11 Families of the i.nova system.
step forward towards an even great-
As part
of a sustainable
building culture,
organized into
the i.nova system,
are offered
as technologically
advanced and
efficient materials
able to add
high aesthetic
quality to the
urban and
landscape., the ornamental
cultivated field around
the i.lab
The i.nova
system is
to the
of new ecosustainable
buildings. It is
also the
ideal tool to
to the current
demand for
urban textures
and improved
and seismic
efficiency of
existing assets.
levels of environmental efficiency
that can be achieved by today’s construction techniques.
Set within the Kilometro Rosso Scientific and Technological Park in Bergamo, i.lab is an
icon of sustainable construction
with the Italcementi quality seal.
This year, Italcementi Group’s commitment to innovation for sustainable building has been rationalized
and organized into i.nova, a new
product offer system based on the
principle of responsible efficiency
throughout a building’s entire life
Each Family offers guarantees for
sustainable building. Some Families
also include products whose performance is intended specifically
for sustainability in construction.
Here is a short description of the 11
1 – includes all the classic
products with Italcementi Group
quality standards and know-how.
1 – products for professional
use, designed to facilitate the user’s work.
1 – hi-tech products able to
ensure ultra-high durability and
safety performance.
1 i.speed – quick-setting products
to speed up work time.
1 i.flow – self-compacting or selflevelling products designed to re-
cycle. In this system, the concept of
product performance is adapted to
a segmentation of the different applications, helping to achieve the
maximum value for the industries
downstream of cement, and particularly for concrete.
With i.nova, Italcementi radically
transforms its market strategy, confirming the central role of research,
innovation and sustainability in its
industrial strategy. In effect, i.nova
is the summary result of years of
research that have led to the development of many unique and inno-
duce labour requirements.
i.clime – a range of thermal insulation products for effective energy
1 i.sound – a range of sound-proofing products designed to improve
living comfort.
1 i.idro – products featuring waterspecific performance (draining
and underwater applications).
1 – products specifically
developed to provide high aesthetic value (from an architectural,
artistic or design standpoint).
1 – products based on the
TX Active photocatalytic principle,
with self-cleaning and de-polluting
1 i.light – all products able to provide a transparent effect.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
vative products, like photocatalytic
cement and transparent cement (the
latter used for the Italian Pavilion at
EXPO 2010 in Shanghai).
Going beyond mere product supply,
the i.nova offer system is based on
the ability to offer solutions that
meet the building community’s diverse needs.
With i.nova, Italcementi Group intends to anticipate market trends
and demands, promoting an innovative culture of sustainable building.
Towards a new
building culture
Within the framework of this new
building culture, cement and concrete become technologically advanced, highly sustainable materials,
able to add high aesthetic quality to
the urban and infrastructural landscape.
The i.nova system is a portfolio of
performance and applications perfectly functional for the construction of efficient new buildings and
infrastructures according to sustainable building criteria.
Moreover, it is the ideal tool to respond to the current demand for
regenerated urban textures and improved energy and seismic efficiency of existing assets. The new season
of urban transformation – already
started in many cities of the world,
or at any rate announced at global
level – is leading and will continue
to lead to significant reclamation of
existing structures and redesign of
the urban space based on a reduction in land take.
With a view, among others, to address the increase in urban population, it is essential to adopt new
approaches, identifying potential
inefficiencies in terms of resources,
energy and use of land.
Italcementi Group is ready to meet
the challenge with innovative, efficient solutions for sustainable and
responsible building, serviceable for
the redevelopment and regeneration of urban textures.
From quantity to quality:
cement at the service
of sustainable building
Interview with
Enrico Borgarello
Research and Innovation
Italcementi Group
is a priority for
growth. The
Group intends
to play a
proactive role
in generating
at all stages
of a building’s
life cycle.
What are the key challenges that
the construction industry faces
The first challenge is sustainable
manufacturing of materials, which
must meet requirements like lower
CO2 emissions during production,
as well as an efficient use of water
resources, energy sources and raw
materials. This is an important aspect that needs to be improved, also
with respect to Italcementi Group’s
product offering. Our first goal then is
to produce cement in the same way
as we always have done, but making
it even more environmentally sustainable and maintaining or improving product performance. These are
the trends that are directing the fu-
ture of materials. Secondly, we need
to consider the product in relation to
its applications. In this perspective,
the materials must be designed to
have diverse performance, enabling
us to address the market in a more
selective, targeted way, also according to application. This is the effort
made by Italcementi’s new i.nova
system, which rationalizes product
offer on the basis of specific performance. So this is the part that
concerns the materials. But it’s not
all. We also need to take care of implementation, and this requires improving construction sites, shipping
and logistics. Here again, the quality
of materials is certainly a major factor because, if the product has good
flow properties, is fast to apply, and
in general has application-specific
characteristics, site conditions can
be greatly improved and work areas
will become increasingly tidier and
cleaner. Attention should also be
paid to actual recycling possibilities
once a building has reached the end
of its service life. It is essential to produce materials that can be managed,
i.e. recycled, when the building is demolished. A critical issue today is the
enormous complexity of recycling a
torn down structure, as it normally
contains a great number of hard-toseparate components, which make
the cost of recycling demolition materials too high. Instead, it would be
important to reuse the products of
Is Italcementi Group committed
to providing products and solutions for sustainable construction throughout the building’s
entire life cycle? Of course. Sustainability is the value underlying our
Group’s strategic growth. To us, this
means feeling responsible for creating cost effective as well as environmentally and socially efficient solutions across the entire scope of the
Group’s operations. As stakeholders
in the building community, we therefore intend to play a proactive role in
generating sustainable conditions at
all stages of the sustainable building
life cycle. Focus on the entire life cycle of the construction process is an
integral part of our industrial strategy
aimed at the creation of widespread
and lasting value.
How can cement contribute today to the new processes for the
redevelopment and redesign of
the urban space?
We should always look at the material and its application as one. Materials can be constantly improved, but
what really matters is application.
For us, it is important to concentrate
more and more on the application
aspect – as the i.nova system does
– and therefore on the market, in order to leverage all the benefits of cement potentially becoming a specialized product. We should never forget
that our materials have to be applied: this is why we need to become
active also in the application phase.
This is the real cultural change that
lies ahead. Our vision encompassing
the entire life cycle and our accountability on the value of sustainability in
building leads us in this direction. For
example, if I offer a seismic material
I must then concern myself with the
construction phase, and therefore
with the material’s performance at
the time of application, making sure
that it is applied correctly.
This is exactly what the i.nova system does: it gets into the logic of
building construction. If we take
this direction, then cement can really play a crucial role in the ongoing
urban renovation and regeneration
process. If I simply improve cement,
reduce its environmental impact,
I will not succeed in starting a real
change. I also have to suggest how
to use it in a way that is appropri-
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
ate for the local characteristics, the
environment and the needs of the
relevant communities. This is the
point of view of Italcementi Group’s
Research. I must be involved in all
phases of building life cycle. In other
words, I have to make every possible
effort to make the entire life cycle of
buildings more attentive to the environment and to the community. To
achieve this, I must necessarily concern myself with the method used to
apply the cement.
So does Italcementi Group’s industrial strategy contribute to
reshape the role of cement as a
material that is functional to the
new eco-sustainable cities?
Building in a more efficient and
cost effective manner to create durable infrastructures and buildings
able to use less energy both during
construction and during operation:
this is the objective of innovation in
the cement and concrete industry.
An industry that increasingly aims
to develop products and solutions
for improved thermal insulation
and soundproofing and for more
durable infrastructures. These
product and process innovations will
make buildings more sustainable
and more comfortable for those
who will work or live in them, and will
ensure that structures like bridges,
roads, tunnels, dams and airports
require less maintenance.
Buildings and infrastructures’ safety is another aspect that requires
innovation. In particular, we need to
improve resistance to fire, seismic
events, radiation and natural disasters. Within this context, the use of
innovative cement products and appropriate construction techniques
can greatly reduce the risks related
to these hazards.
Another innovation aspect which is
becoming increasingly important is
the aesthetic quality of buildings.
Cement and concrete materials are
expected to be suitable for building
architectural works that are increasingly distinctive in shape and size,
with extremely accurate surface finishes, customized surfaces, and new
material performance such as photocatalytic or reflecting properties.
Innovation in the cement sector must
pay increasing attention to the territory, both by using fewer natural raw
materials and through a more rational use of space. The new materials’
performance must ensure the possibility of building structures that rise
high or reach deep into the ground,
non-invasive and increasingly integrated with the natural environment.
Within this general context, the drivers that will influence the development of Italcementi’s new products
and solutions are the new market
needs and the challenges that the
construction industry is posing to
material manufacturers and builders. In mature countries, the market
now demands more renovations of
existing buildings or infrastructures
than new buildings. This creates new
challenges on the regeneration of
major infrastructures and urban areas. Renovations and upgrades will
also go in the direction of better thermal insulation and soundproofing
and greater comfort for buildings,
and greater durability and safety
for infrastructures. In the emerging
countries, product innovation will be
strongly sustainability-oriented, particularly for new buildings.
Which low environmental impact
cements and concretes are there
in the i.nova system?
Among the products, there is sulfoaluminate clinker. Among the
applications, i.clime for thermal insulation and i.sound for thermal and
sound insulation. Also, all
products help to reduce air pollutants at the application stage. s
i.lab, Italcementi Group’s
Sustainable Home
are designed
to minimize
the use of raw
materials and
The objective
is to make
a more targeted
use of cement
while getting
the best
out of its
i.lab, Italcementi’s Research and
Innovation Centre designed by Richard Meier and opened in 2012, is
a tangible testimony to the Group’s
commitment to sustainable building.
Built in line with Italcementi’s view of
innovation, sustainability and architectural excellence, i.lab is a synthesis of all the most advanced technology in terms of quality of materials
and green construction. Set within
the Kilometro Rosso campus, a Scientific and Technological Park along
the Milan-Bergamo motorway, it has
obtained the LEED Platinum certification as best Italian building for
energy efficiency and environmental
sustainability. The products used for
the project are highly sophisticated,
ultra-high fluidity self-compacting
concretes with prolonged workabil-
ity, which can be
applied without intervention by personnel. Concrete
containing recycled
from construction
and demolition or
blast furnace slag,
recovered within
400 km from the
project site, was
used to build the
floor screeds, the
foundations and
the outer walls.
Other portions of
the structure were
built using recycled
concrete as well
as other materials
obtained entirely
i.lab meets high
energy efficiency requirements,
providing energy saving in excess
of 60% compared to a traditional
building of the same size and intended use.
All of this is the result of the methods
adopted, the materials used for the
cladding, and the use of renewable
energy sources with the installation
of photovoltaic and solar panels and
of a geothermal system. To complete the project, the i.lab building is
surrounded by, an ornamental
cultivated field intended to combine
Meier’s architecture with the local
culture and geography: a tribute to
the landscape and farming culture
of the Bergamo area, for a constant
and constructive dialogue with the
relevant community and with the
wider circle of stakeholders.
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
New prospects for concrete
in eco-smart cities
Interview with Giuseppe Marchese
General Manager Calcestruzzi
What benefits can the new smart,
eco-sustainable cities obtain
from the use of concrete?
Concrete is an essential material for
the human habitat. After water, it is
the most widely used substance in
the world. We are talking about approximately 5 billion cubic metres
per year. So it is difficult today to imagine a world without concrete, and
all the more so it is hard to envision
innovative urban and infrastructural
development without a new way to
use this material. Indeed, whenever
there is a need to build an infrastructure able to remain serviceable for a
long period of time – an infrastructure that is also sustainable throughout its entire life cycle (from the use
of resources to durability and the
need for maintenance) – concrete
is the most efficient and sustainable solution. One reason is that in
recent years concrete has under-
gone a dramatic evolution. Today,
building chemistry and construction
technology studies on new materials allow the development of products with a workability that meets
all casting needs, mechanical properties enabling advanced performance solutions, and unmatched aesthetic solutions compared to other
materials and systems. Calcestruzzi
and Italcementi Group have boosted
the innovative potential of concrete,
with special focus on eco-sustainability. In the perspective opened by
our Group, there are endless opportunities for this product to offer
smart use solutions to the world of
construction. We should think of
concrete as a new product, able to
provide not only durability and light
weight but also all the other characteristics typical of other materials.
Today it is possible to design concrete properties according to the
customer’s, designer’s or end user’s
specifications. All of us in the building community need to overcome
a cultural gap – we need to understand that what we can now expect
from concrete a lot more than just
durability: thermal and sound insulation, fire resistance, conductivity,
aesthetic quality, and so on. The
dissemination during the next few
years of an awareness and therefore
of the use of these characteristics,
so closely related to energy saving,
the use of renewable sources, social
housing, and more in general to urban regeneration and improvement
will allow the creation of value for all
the players in the supply chain. In
this completely new perspective, it
should also be considered that con-
concrete is
a new product,
able to ensure
not only
and light
weight, but
also thermal
and sound
fire resistance,
and aesthetic
New building of the
Lombardy Region
Government, Milan
crete is produced locally, with virtually no shipping costs. With life cycle
considerations in mind, and to ensure the building’s sustainability at
the construction site stage, it is essential to be able to apply a material
that does not have to travel long distances but is produced locally, using
the raw materials and by-products
available on site. This characteristic
is typical of concrete. The challenge
for our Group is to guarantee equal
performance of our concretes in all
the local realities where we operate,
regardless of the diversity of the raw
materials used. By transferring our
view of sustainability to the industrial
level, we aim at achieving performance of excellence. For example, the
use of different plastic materials in
the production of concrete can lead
to different characteristics in terms
of sound absorption, and therefore
to special performance for which
applications can be found. Aware
of the fact that eco-innovation is a
positive source of competitive advantage, Calcestruzzi’s strategy is
to increase the use of alternative
resources and materials, minimizing environmental impacts and developing innovative products with
excellent performance thanks to the
use of by-products. Only the concrete technology, the know-how,
can help to go in this direction. We
have this know-how.
Can you give us some examples
of concrete designed and used
for specific construction requirements?
For the Museum of Contemporary
Arts of Rome – MAXXI, we developed self-compacting, self-levelling
castings with shrinkage characteristics that allow the construction of
jointless structures. We also created
ultra-resistant next-generation concretes to build the Ponte della Musica, also in Rome, respecting the
designer’s aesthetic requirements.
We applied high-durability concretes
(over 200 years in extremely aggressive environments like marine
atmospheres) for the MOSE, the
mobile gate system under construction in the lagoon of Venice.
What about eco-friendly uses?
Our most significant project from this
point of view is undoubtedly i.lab,
Italcementi Group’s Research and
Innovation Centre, built in Bergamo
within the Kilometro Rosso Scientific and Technological Park. i.lab was
designed and built in accordance
with the LEED standard and has obtained the prestigious PLATINUM
certification, the highest recognition
of buildings’ energy efficiency and
environmental sustainability. This
construction choice required the development of an efficient plan for the
use of alternative, recycled and/or
locally produced materials (see page
47, Editor’s note). i.lab is the tangible demonstration of Italcementi’s
ability to operate for high-quality
sustainable building in terms of technical efficiency and architectural
aesthetics. We have also developed
eco-compatible floor screeds with
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
care and attention we give to these
issues. But we have done more. We
want to be an active part in a new
urban and infrastructural development firmly based on the values of
eco-sustainability. We can achieve
this significant objective by leveraging the many synergy opportunities
existing within our Group. From this
point of view, Italcementi Group is a
truly unique reality in the industry,
and we will make all efforts to take
full advantage of it. Another important aspect to point out is the fact
that, with the i.nova system, Italcementi presents its offering globally guaranteeing identical product
performance in all its subsidiaries.
high thermal and sound performance, particularly suitable for social
housing solutions. Calcestruzzi used
them for the Library and Auditorium of Bernareggio near Monza,
and for the property units within the
Camuzzi Towers in Pescara.
The principle proposed in today’s
debate is disconnecting urban
growth from land take. To reshape
the city, then, the direction to take
is vertical. Is concrete the right solution for vertical expansion?
Concrete is certainly the ideal product for vertical expansion because of
its inherent characteristics. Firstly,
flexibility and fire resistance: two vital
requirements that steel, for example, does not possess. Secondly, its
strength index. In a word, concrete
offers significant advantages over
other materials. In fact, today’s tallest buildings in the world – over 1,000
metres in height – are made of concrete. To quote an example, the Dubai Towers are reinforced concrete.
In Italy, the tallest structure – the new
Lombardy Region Government’s
building in Milan Porta Nuova –
was built using our concrete.
Can the i.nova system be considered Italcementi’s response to
the current demand for sustainable building as part of urban regeneration?
The i.nova system expresses a
deep cultural change. What distinguishes cement is performance;
concrete goes beyond this, it turns
this performance into application.
This means that concrete addresses
construction site issues, compliance
with regulations and final application. This is why Italcementi Group
no longer provides simply the standard supply of a commodity, but rather solutions and applications. This
approach is deeply innovative in the
world of construction. So, i.nova is
important because it changes the
strategy, the mindset itself of the
cement and concrete industry. Another reason why it is important is
its clear environmental orientation.
Or rather, the fact that it implicitly
addresses the new demand for ecosustainable building. Sustainability
is the principle underlying the i.nova
system. There are green products in
each of the 11 i.nova families. What
characterizes the different products
Museum of
Arts, Rome
Camuzzi Towers,
is their inherent green properties or
their having green performance at
the application stage: for example,
they help reduce energy consumption. But it is the vision itself within
the i.nova system that makes our
current offer system perfectly functional to and consistent with sustainable building. In the case of concrete,
this is true from the product and its
performance down to its applications. This means that if we take, for
example, the i.sound Family, today
we are able not only to offer a product that is suitable for sound insulation, but also to design and supply
the application, i.e. the soundproof
floor or wall. Therefore, through
the application, we can guarantee
a specific environmental efficiency
performance of the building. In this
respect, the i.nova system makes
the Group an environmentally and
socially responsible player throughout the different stages of an ecosustainable building’s life cycle. This
is the way we see it today. Of course,
we need to continue to measure the
environmental and social impacts
of our manufacturing, and our Sustainability Report demonstrates the
What examples of green excellence does the i.nova system offer?
All the i.nova Families can be employed for eco-sustainable building. With a focus on applications I
would like to mention, in particular,
the i.clime, i.sound and also
Families. The i.idro Family is also
outstanding from this point of view,
if the issue is the use and management of water. The concrete products of the i.clime Family contribute
not only as far as applications are
concerned but also as products, as
they contain plastic materials which
would otherwise be disposed of in
waste facilities. Examples of this
are i.clime products like Fonisocal and Fonisocal Plus, which are
used in residential and commercial construction to make light floor
screeds. These products contain
the fraction of plastic materials that
cannot be further recycled and that
would otherwise be disposed of
in landfills. Being lightweight, they
ensure good thermal insulation.
Additionally, because of the presence of different types of plastic in
the design mix, they provide high
soundproofing performance. s
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
Towards compact cities
Emanuela Casti
Professor of Geography, Manager of the Diathesis
Cartography Laboratory, Università degli Studi, Bergamo
oday, an area of land can no
longer be viewed as the material platform on which to build
structures. It is much more
than this. It is the outcome of
the actions through which a society modifies the natural space and
makes it suitable to meet its needs
– practical needs, primarily, but
also symbolic needs, expressing
its values and culture. The building process takes place over time
and results in a consistency between the needs expressed by society and the artefacts created to fulfil
them. However, there may be time
gaps between the emergence of
new needs and the changes implemented to fulfil them. What we are
experiencing today is precisely one
of these gaps, and it manifests itself
as a qualitative inadequacy brought
about by the fact that built structures – houses, schools, streets
and public spaces – no longer meet
contemporary social needs. If this
were not enough, these structures
require high maintenance costs, in
energy and environmental terms.
Additionally, they are unable to respond to the communities’ new demands: safety in the first place, but
also mobility, inclusion and quality
of daily life.
This is all the more evident in urban
spaces, as the city is expected to
meet a great number of individual
and collective needs in a limited
amount of space; needs, I should
add, that are still confined within an
economically oriented perspective
conceived for competitiveness, and
therefore anachronistic. Indeed,
cities face a series of diverse and
growing challenges: urban expansion, population growth, environmental and energy challenges, the
pressure on infrastructures and
transport modes, and so on. For example, according to estimates, 60%
of the world population will live in
cities by 2030; cities use 80% of the
total energy consumption; by 2025
the number of cities with more than
10 million inhabitants will grow from
21 to 29; more than 500 of currently
existing cities will exceed one million
inhabitants (83 in 1950). In brief, cities are likely to be the testing ground
to start an epiphanic transformation
process that will not only adapt the
space to the new needs but also regenerate it from a social and environmental point of view.
Regenerating cities
It is no longer sufficient to control
land take through the legislation and
the use of monitoring tools to limit
Today we
need to take
action for
a better
use of land
spaces, starting
from the
cities, must
be made to
be once again
part of the
The use
of cement
allows the
design of
of living
from land
take, with
a view to
it, or through the timely recording of
expansion processes, as the public
and private entities responsible for
these issues are currently doing.
We need to do more. Action must
be taken not only to control land
take, but also to reduce through
regeneration programmes. Initiatives are required to restore the
used land: the cities should be
the starting point of this process.
Thinking of the expansion of inhabited spaces not as an evenly distributed phenomenon, but rather as a
network scattered with urban hubs
of different functional importance
may provide a more realistic picture
of the situation on which we have to
act, and of how to conceive of urban
In fact, regulatory evolution and the
growing number of institutional authorities overseeing urban planning
have already announced a change
in this direction. In Italy, for example, urban planning in the 1940s to
the 1960s was based on building
constraints and was implemented
through central Government legislation; from the 1970s to the 1990s,
the matter was regulated by integrated plans that took into account
landscape and environmental considerations; since the 2000s and
the joining of the European Union,
these regulations are based on participation and sharing with the local
communities, whose desire or perhaps dream is the restoration of the
used land and the reinstatement of
the landscape.
There are essentially three aspects
on which we should focus to achieve
such a goal, ambitious from a cultural even more than from a technical
- shifting the focus from the city as
a territorial structure to the city as
an expression of ecological living;
- regenerating obsolete areas by
planning recreational spaces and
allowing the communities to participate in the planning;
- keeping in mind that living needs
are subject to certain ecological and environmental principles,
which are expressed in the attention we pay to resources and contact with nature.
From horizontal to vertical
This is the scenario in terms of policies and culture. Conversely, if we
move on to consider “how” to go
about restoring land from a technical and engineering perspective, the
new construction technologies and
material innovations – among which
cement is on the cutting edge – provide a means to meet the challenge
by implementing unconventional
solutions. Cement can play a major
role in what could be a real cultural
revolution: from invasive and polluting material, as it is perceived today,
it can become – through research
advances and experiment results
– the material of ecological regeneration that helps to restore
land. The use of cement allows for
the planning of forms of living that
radically move away from the idea
that building necessarily involves using up land, but rather aim to restore
land. In recent years, two opposite
schools of thought have emerged in
urban planning: those who advocate
sprawled cities versus those who are
in favour of compact cities. It would
be pointless to discuss here the
costs and benefits of each, although
urban planners tend to recognize
the latter’s superiority in terms of
environmental protection and energy efficiency. Rather, it is worthwhile
to concentrate on urban renewal
free from the excesses of conservation at all costs, with the courage
to assess existing structures and
act radically on the obsolete ones
which, being commingled with historic or artistic buildings, may di-
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Italcementi for sustainable building
The smartness
of a city is
by its ability
to understand
the needs
of its
A really
smart city must
be based
on the
of all the
minish their value. Cement allows us
to envisage new structures, already
tested in other parts of the world like
Japan, that could provide inspiration for an innovative form of Italian
land restoration: I am referring to
the renovation of obsolete residential buildings using the underground
for all facilities that are not strictly
residential (car parks, shops, gyms,
supermarkets). This would achieve
a dual result in terms of land and
landscape restoration: the first one
can be described as “vertical”, in
that it reduces the visible height of
the building while maintaining the
same volume; the second, “horizontal” result is the freeing of areas that
are currently covered or used as
parking spaces, making them available for other uses such as green or
recreational spaces, with considerable benefits both for the landscape
and for the residents’ quality of life.
To sum up, the urban form of living
can influence the city’s environmen-
tal impact significantly, but it is not
enough to take this into account: it
is the people, their behaviours and
lifestyles, that ultimately makes the
environmental impact of urban areas a positive or a negative one.
From smart cities to urban smartness
Also in this respect, the times are now
ripe and the issue of urban communities is at the heart of the concerns
of modern societies where the challenge to be met is known as “smart
city”. The concept of smart city is
based on the very simple (perhaps
too simple) assumption that technological infrastructures (e.g. networks,
sensors, receptors) are essential
components of 21st century cities.
This perspective deeply modifies the
way we conceive of and manage not
only urban infrastructures, but also
political, social, economic and environmental governance. It should be
noted, however, that the smartness of
Over time,
in terms of
and energy
The vertical
of existing
assets can
free land for
new uses, more
with collective
a city is measured largely by its ability
to understand the needs of its inhabitants, i.e. to identify (where, when,
for whom and how the public authorities should take action), analyse, give
meaning in context and provide adequate responses (ideally within times
compatible with the need or event, in
real time if necessary). However, for
this goal to be achievable in real life,
a digital infrastructure – no matter
how well-performing – is not enough.
Urban smartness must be based on
the engagement of all the stakeholders, and in particular of associations
and individual citizens not only as
users of the urban spaces, but also
as sources of ideas. Participation is
strategic; it underlies the concept of
spatial capital, i.e. the combination
of the social and cultural domain and
of individuals’ self-organizing abilities. The concept of spatial capital
provides the opportunity to consider
the role of individuals as players who,
while pursuing their personal goals,
offer skills for the production of public assets as an interface for interacting with the smart city.
Aspects like environmental protection, health, pollution and energy
efficiency have a more prominent
place in each resident’s everyday
life and in the political and administrative sphere.
This leads to consider spatial capital
as an absolutely strategic factor in
plans, policies and projects aimed at
greater sustainability. It is therefore
necessary to investigate the diverse
dynamics of local communities and
the ability of individuals to organize
themselves for the creation of identity defining spaces, using analytical
methods able to identify the cultural
values that are at stake in the ongoing dialogue with the urban communities. At the same time, there is an
urgency to provide communication
tools that facilitate governance and
participation in city management. s
Green Building
Council Italia
and synergy
with Italcementi
Green Building Council Italia (GBC
Italia) is a non-profit association that
belongs to the international GBC network present in many other countries. It is a member of the World
GBC and a partner of USGBC. The
objectives it shares with these associations are to:
- promote and accelerate the dissemination of a sustainable building
culture, steering the market in this
- raise awareness in the public opinion and the authorities on the impact of building design and construction methods on the citizens’
quality of life;
- provide clear reference parameters
to the businesses operating in this
- stimulate discussion among industry professionals by creating a sustainable building community.
Through a partnership agreement
with USGBC, GBC Italia adapts to the
Italian market and promotes LEED®
– Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an independent
certification system based on specific
criteria for the design and construction of healthy, energy efficient and
low environmental impact buildings.
Italcementi is one of the founding members of GBC Italia. On the
basis of its constantly evolving sustainable product portfolio, the Group
provides integrated design solutions measurable according to
rating systems, and in particular by
application of the LEED system. Italcementi is also promoting environmental product declarations according to ISO 14025 requirements
(type III environmental declarations).
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Sustainable Development
Magazine 2013/2014 no. 1
A project by the
Communication and Image
Department of Italcementi Group
Published by Italcementi SpA
Via Camozzi 124
24121 Bergamo - Italy
Editorial Project
Global Trends srl, Milan - Italy
Graphic Design
Tram 19, San Gimignano - Italy
Photo credits pages 3, 40-41 and 47
Daniele Domenicali
Photo credits page 43
Luca Merisio
Photo credits page 50
Simone Cecchetti,
Courtesy of MAXXI Foundation
Ciments Français
Ciments Calcia
Devnya Cement
Suez Cement
Tourah Cement
Helwan Cement
Halyps Cement
Et Beton
Zuari Cement
Hilal Cement
Al Mahaliya
Ciments du Maroc
Essroc Canada
Essroc Ready Mix
Asia Cement
Jalaprathan Cement
sdVision Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
Sustainable Development Magazine 2013/2014
cement for development
Italcementi Group