Ecological redirection : give up new construction ?

Should we, to land within planetary limits, give up the new construction of certain assets in Île-de-France in favor of the overall renovation of the stock of buildings ?

Is it feasible to stop new construction in Ile de France? What renunciation protocol to initiate so that this goes as well as possible? This is the theme of an ecological redirection enquiry. Alexandre Monnin, Herve Moal and Philippe Bouteyre (Praxilience) presented the results during the climate day organized by the APCC on November 3, at the Salon des Élus et Décideurs des Territoires d’Ile-de-France SELIF. The company Arp Astrance ordered this study to the Msc “Strategy & Design for the Anthropocene”. They entrusted its execution to Hervé Moal (Loma Management for Arp Astrance), Philippe Bouteyre (Praxilience) and William van Gelderen.

Ecological redirection, a path to explore:

Ecological redirection is taught by the MSc “Strategy & Design for the Anthropocene”. Alexandre Monnin, its director, described what it consists of: “Ecological redirection is an ecological strategy that has not yet been explored: an approach which acts on the ruptures required by remaining within planetary limits. It is a question of getting out from the top (as high as possible) of a tension that can be summed up as follows : more and more of us  are depending in the short term on models and infrastructures (the Technosphere) that threaten the habitability of the Earth in the medium term. The challenge is therefore to know how to inherit what we are diversely attached to and to invent technical and democratic means to land / close / disaffect-reassign unsustainable realities. ” Alexandre Monnin, Diego Landivar and Emmanuel Bonnet develop these concepts further in their essay “Heritage et Fermetures” (Editions Divergences).

New construction: a strong environmental impact

New construction has a strong impact on the environment: major in terms of artificialization and major in terms of CO2 emissions and very significant in terms of material consumption and waste generation. There is therefore an urgent need: to stop new construction.

Stopping construction is feasible to some extent

Based on this observation, is stopping new construction in Ile de France feasible? The answer is yes in commerce, yes in the office, not completely in housing. However, construction in housing can be greatly reduced by initiating urban regeneration efforts.

According to which renunciation protocol?

The study then looks at the economic and social aspects of this transformation. Indeed, ecological redirection attaches major importance to economic and societal issues. What to do with the 210,000 new construction jobs? The economy of the building sector is now split equally between construction and renovation. How can we switch it towards an economy of renovation where we would only have 20% of activity linked to new constructions and 80% of activity linked to renovation? There are three main avenues for this: the decarbonisation of energy linked to the existing stock, the energy renovation of the existing stock, the urban renewal of cities with in particular renovations linked to changes in lifestyles. **

Despite political and cosmological obstacles, there is no lack of tools and new approaches and visions of the world to promote the switch from construction to renovation. These levers are detailed in the study.

Ecological redirection

The study highlights underlying trends that have already started. It allows recommendations to be made. We must review the Grand Paris project. We must be vigilant in the face of the development of office and retail space. Certainly, approaches to sobriety and circular town planning are already being developed. However, it remains to implement support for actors towards an economy of renovation. It is also necessary to specify the modes of definition of sober needs

We are facing the climate emergency. The necessary transformations  are gigantic. It is therefore legitimate to seek to strengthen our way of acting with new ecological strategies. This example on the theme of stopping new construction shows it: ecological redirection represents an operational framework in the Anthropocene and a path to explore.

More details

Replay and slides of the presentation.

Study synthesis to come.

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