BEYOND2020 will guide to sustainable built environment

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Gothenburg skyline

​How should the global building sector act to contribute to the UN's goals for sustainable development? This is the burning topic for Beyond 2020, this year's most important global conference on sustainable built environment.

"We have ten years to achieve the goals in the UN's Agenda 2030 – and the clock is ticking", says conference host Holger Wallbaum, Professor in Sustainable building, Chalmers University of Technology.
​Of the world's population, 55 percent live in cities. In 30 years, that figure is estimated to have risen to 68 percent, according to the UN. This makes the sustainability perspective the biggest challenge for everyone who contributes to the development of urban environments. The rapid and large influx into cities places new demands that need to be met in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way.

The "Transformational Plan for the Built Environment" roadmap will be presented during the closing day of the conference. It will link the built environment with 11 of the UN's 17 sustainability goals and lay the foundation for global and regional development strategies.

The roadmap will guide the entire sector

The basis for the plan is a framework that is based, among other things, on 25 years of research on sustainable building at Chalmers University of Technology. Based on the latest findings and new ideas, presented during the conference, the roadmap will be developed into a powerful tool to guide the entire sector in the work towards sustainable cities and communities.

The conference is divided into three sections:
Climate change and sustainability, Digitalisation and innovation, and Sustainable economy, policy and finance. Researchers from 45 countries on all continents contribute with over 300 scientific articles.

Speakers include Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director for the UN housing agency UN-Habitat, Thai landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom, Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau and Marcene Mitchell from the World Bank IFC.

– The conference will show how far we have come in a number of different areas that affect the built environment. With the help of the roadmap, we create an opportunity to quickly spread the accumulated knowledge to builders, property owners and city planners around the world, says Holger Wallbaum, the host of Beyond 2020.

About the conference Beyond 2020, 2-4 November

Beyond 2020 is arranged digitally by Chalmers University of Technology in collaboration with Rise, The Research Institute of Sweden, Johanneberg Science Park and the city of Gothenburg. The conference moderator for Beyond 2020 is the British BBC profile Angela Lamont.

Originally, the conference was to be held in Gothenburg in June with up to 2,000 participants, but due to the current world situation with the corona pandemic, it is now conducted over the internet instead. Which means that all speakers, participants and visitors can attend without leaving home or the office.

– Carrying out the conference in the traditional way would have made it possible for us to showcase Gothenburg, which has been named the world's most sustainable city in the last four years. But the digital format contains many advantages, not least from a sustainability point of view. And now we can receive many more visitors from, for example, developing countries, who may not have had the financial opportunities to travel here, says Holger Wallbaum.

In addition, Beyond 2020 has the status of a World Sustainable Built Environment Conference (WSBE). Host cities are appointed by iiSBE, a worldwide non-profit organization whose overall goal is to actively work for initiatives that can contribute to building more sustainable communities. This year's conference is the eighth since the start in 2000.

Read allt about the conference on the Beyond2020 Conference Website

For more information

Holger Wallbaum
  • Assistant Head of Department, Architecture and Civil Engineering


Catharina Björk