Call for Papers

The overall ambition of WSBE23, the World Sustainable Built Environment conference, is to provide meaningful opportunities for active participation from in-person and virtual attendees and presenters with both scientific and non-scientific (practitioner) sessions.

Online submission opens October 5

ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE THEMATIC TRACKS

There are six Thematic Tracks each with three sub-tracks. Each sub-track has six associated scientific sessions. Each scientific session will have 4 paper-presentations.

SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION

In order to support the development of the WSBE23 conference program, the Scientific Committee is looking for contributions that address one of the conference 18 topics.

These topics are a driven by the conference’s key themes:

  • Community Resilience
  • Decarbonization
  • Novel Building Environments

SCHEDULE

Abstract submission opens Oct 05, 2022
Abstract submission closes Déc 05, 2022
Notification of abstract acceptance Jan 16, 2023
Full paper deadline Mar 03, 2023
Official acceptance and preliminary presentation schedule Mai 12, 2023
Registration deadline for presenters Juin 15, 2023
Submit camera-ready paper for publication Juin 30, 2023

Future-ready Communities

Community Resilience: Urban, Rural, Other

Vision for a more enriching, urbane, resilient lifestyle and built fabric.

Facing the delible effects of globalization, urbanity has changed irreversibly. Currently, the inequalities that bisect communities continue to grow, and our climate stability continues to deteriorate; however, both challenges can be seen as leveraging opportunities, where communal actions, from transparent processes to diverse partnerships, can inspire new responses, interweaving mitigations with aspirations.

So urgent, transformative action is required, that realigns people, nature, with a renewed approach to shared equity, and its resultant co-existence. We need to envision a significant increase in the quality and quantity of public realm. If mitigation is achievable, it can only be found and developed collectively.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What examples illustrate an architecture and Indigenous worldview in practice?
  • How can resources, prosperity, and stewardship be considered towards community resilience?
  • What is the role of urban revitalization towards increasing quality in the public realm?
  • How do we design for inclusive societies, promoting racial equity & inclusion in the built environment?
  • What solutions exist that offer equal opportunities and valuable urban health & well-being for all?
  • What are good practices in addressing sustainable communities that combat fuel poverty, that consider demographics across gender and age perspectives, that provide access to health care and social services, as well as job opportunities, education, and training?
  • How best do we ensure adequate and affordable housing (decent living standards) for all?

Governance, Economy, Communities

Future-ready communities require governance institutions and economies different from those of the past.

Their underlying operating systems need to become highly adaptive in the face of rapidly changing conditions and growing numbers and intensities of disasters.

The challenges represent opportunities to reimagine living and working together at community level. Many glimpses of future-fit governance and economic regimes exist, from civic futures assemblies, to bioregional networks of land regenerators, to urban commoning stewardship models and eco-district practices.

Participatory futuring and pluriversal worldviews also open up transformative pathways, such as those of Indigenous and Afrofuturism and other forms of decolonizing practice.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What alternative Urban Governance and Economies exist to support future-ready communities?
  • What is the role and contribution of the housing and real estate industry to urban development?
  • Which instruments and evaluation systems for neighborhood development offer promise?
  • What examples of community co-design practices exist and what opportunities and agency do they offer?
  • What transformative pathways may enable highly adaptive community-level operating structures?

Rurality and the New Vernacular

With the growth of global supply chains and mineral intensive building materials, there has been a conformity of contemporary architecture worldwide and an inherent loss of national identities and the vernacular.

However, with environmental and economic pressures on logistics around global supply chains as well as work-from-home scenarios arising from Covid-19, new possibilities for the use of local materials and for rural-living in response to these respective pressures has grown.

The question of scale, and the link between urbanisation and its transformation of rurality is at question in this sub-track. This track invites participants to explore what protection of rurality, its opportunities and challenges as well as what the rise of a new vernacular means.

How can a new vernacular, leveraging local resources, demonstrate sustainable building practices while creating jobs in rural communities? Can waste from agricultural by-products provide a food-stock for new bio-based building materials that enable innovative, low-carbon vernaculars to emerge. How can formally established heritage alongside unprotected buildings and structures that signify a collective cultural or societal history act as inspiration in the design and consideration of rurality and the new vernacular.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What importance do history, heritage and culture have for developing a new vernacular?
  • How can rural regeneration be aligned with heritage and participation?
  • How can a new vernacular be understood in sustainable development?
  • How can local materials and practices be rethought and reinterpreted in a new vernacular that promotes sustainable buildings?

Retreat/Adaptation

Retreat

Record-breaking temperatures are increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires and their associated risks to human and environmental health.

Simultaneously, thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the relentless degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Climate change is leading to unreversible biodiversity loss and posing continuous risk. Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.

New approaches are needed to assure proper land use patterns, reverse the loss of biodiversity and assure a sustainable use of land management with a focus on forests, land, plant morphology, and soils.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What examples exist of climate-induced retreat and can design be an agent of change in these cases?
  • How do we design with the uncertainty of climate change and its unpredictable consequences in mind?
  • How can design address the risk, injustice, and instability brought about by climate change?
  • For particular climate-induced scenarios, such as coastal or wild fire retreats – what strategies have been successful?
  • How can the design of the built environment be governed by robust sustainability criteria to ensure that unsustainable practices and environmental impacts are avoided, from deforestation and land-use change to loss of biodiversity?
  • What types of conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and their services, i.e., living environments with a particular morphology, behavior, and intelligence, have been successful?
  • What are actions to reduce the degradation of natural habitats and loss of biodiversity?
  • How to mobilize significant resources and expertise at all levels to plan and finance sustainable forest management?

Adaptation and Resilience

Rampant pollution and the ongoing destruction of ecosystems require significant changes in the way we build and occupy the territory.

In times of global warming, we must increasingly protect ecosystems from human action and humans from natural hazards. Some experts argue that buildings and cities must adapt to current and future hazards, and we must increase the resilience of infrastructure and human systems.

But the ideas of adaptation and resilience are also problematic. For some, they are simply new entries in the group of contemporary “buzzwords” such as “sustainability” and “circular economy.” For others, resilience and adaptation are not only difficult to measure, but are often manipulated by political and economic elites and mask the political component of urban interventions and social struggle.

Some scholars even find that the notion of resilience (which often requires redundancies and additional systems) contradict the ideal of sustainability (which calls for a reduction of materials and increased efficiency). These ideas are so problematic that researchers have coined the term “maladaptation” to describe mistakes made in the name of resilience.

This track invites participants to explore the potential use of the ideas of adaptation and resilience, but also their limits, contradictions, and blind spots.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How useful are today the notions of adaptation and resilience?
  • What do we do when we call a person, a community, or a system “resilient”? What are the consequences of this label?
  • What are the unintended consequences and secondary effects of adaptation measures?
  • How can we adapt in a way that leads to both social and environmental justice?
  • What needs to be done to prevent disasters and destruction? How should we face common and future threats?

Built Environment and Climate Change

Exacerbated by growing urbanization, climate change effects are leading to extreme weather phenomena.

Estimates indicate that the impact of a global warming temperature increase of 2ºC temperature by 2055 would worsen extreme weather, rising sea-levels, and loss of ecosystems among other impacts. A 1.5ºC temperature increase target is possible according to recent IPCC reports, however, even with global warming of 1.5ºC there would be increased risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth.

Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5ºC require rapid and far-reaching transitions in, among other factors, energy and urban infrastructure including buildings. This forecast makes considering the reduction of GHG emissions in the design of our built environment ever more pressing.

The need for fast and intelligent climate mitigation and adaptation measures is urgent to meet the 1.5ºC global warming target set forth in the Paris Agreement.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What are the key priorities for the built environment in different regions worldwide to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation?
  • What case studies exist of successful adaptation and mitigation innovations/ designs for a low carbon-built environment? What is their potential for scale up or adaptability to other regions?
  • What is the role of temporary and more permanent settlements in planning for the aftermath of extreme threats and disasters?
  • How do designers consider resilience when designing and planning for a low-carbon built environment – what best practices exist in considering both new construction as well as adaptation of existing urban fabric?
  • What indigenous forestry practices exist that can help lead a sustainable transition in terms of land-use patterns and sustainable forestry management?
  • How can climate modeling, understanding of biophysical processes and ecological modeling contribute to climate mitigation design strategies and decision-making?

Flows: Energy, Material, Resource

Energetic Flows

Optimizing the energy flows within the built environment is mandatory to realise the energy transition.

Prioritizing high energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and recovering thermal waste are key. This at the scale of a building, but also at the community scale where it becomes essential to create ecosystems with infrastructures presenting complementary needs.

The energy transition also sees a growing number of individual or community prosumers which complicates energy exchanges and brings challenges in terms of planning and operating of electrical and thermal networks.

Nevertheless, the evaluation of the energy flows of the built environment should not be limited to its phase of exploitation. Aside from the operation energy, the establishment of a sustainable design will also minimise the energy required from cradle to grave.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How to identify possible urban energy symbiosis?
  • How to coordinate multi-energy flows?
  • What could be viable urban and rural models in terms of transactive energy?
  • What metrics could be used to address operation energy and the “embodied” energy in a single indicator?

Work of the Geo-biosphere and Construction Ecologies

Ecosystem functions provided by the geo-biosphere are threatened by global change drivers’ direct and indirect effects such as climate warming, land-use change, biological invasions, and shifting natural disturbance regimes.

Architects, designers, and builders are critical change agents of ecosystem structures through the specification and use of materials in construction and stand to make a positive impact if we view them as inextricably connected as they are in the world.

While our ecosystems’ responses to these change drivers remain uncertain—the sourcing, design, and deployment of materials throughout the built environment remain in our control.

This sub-track calls for projects, research and analysis that exemplify how the geo-biosphere can be engaged (or not) to clear a path for more resilient and adaptable construction ecologies.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How do we best relate—and measure—the dynamics of the geo-biosphere and the built environment?
  • What are the impacts (positive or negative) of construction on the work of the geo-biosphere, ecosystem resilience, and global climate change?
  • How are the impacts distributed within the social, economic and ecological communities that the geo-biosphere support?
  • How can building practices be adapted to support the resilience and adaptability of the geo-biosphere?

Urban Metabolism

The built environment is known as a large contributor to global resource consumption and a producer of construction, renovation, and demolition waste.

Urban metabolism methodologies allow for the tracking, mapping, and analysis of resource (materials, water, energy, waste) flows within cities. Such knowledge is critical to support and enable circular economy strategies which aim to promote resource efficiencies, recovery, and reuse. New production and consumption patterns will be necessary to use our natural resources more carefully.

Contributions on the use of urban metabolism, industrial symbiosis, industrial ecology, material flow analysis, carbon footprint analysis or other such methodologies are encouraged for this sub-track.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How can an urban metabolism approach support circularity in the built environment?
  • What are good practices to reduce urban waste especially that related to the built environment process?
  • What drives the urban metabolism of urban cores?
  • How can an urban metabolism understanding allow us to understand the environmental impact of cities at the rural, regional, or terrestrial scale?
  • What is the role of ecosystem services?
  • What are the drivers and pathways to reduction in terms of resource production and consumption?

Decarbonization Pathways

Nexus: Cross-Sectoral Strategies

The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to limit global warming is not only an essential goal of sustainable development, but also a prerequisite for the preservation of the natural basis of life.

Science-based targets can be derived from the planetary boundaries. These can form the basis for determining the remaining budget of GHGs. It is currently being discussed how this budget can and should be allocated to the various countries and then to the respective sectors and fields of action.

Currently, the construction, use and maintenance of buildings, including the manufacture of building products, accounts for up to 40% of anthropogenic GHG emissions worldwide, with large variations between countries. The reduction of these GHG emissions is now an essential task for achieving the climate protection goals. In order to achieve this, strategies for the decarbonisation of the construction and building sector are being formulated and implemented.

They are the subject of this sub-track. A cross-sectoral approach should be pursued for the decarbonisation of the construction and building sector. Not only the construction and real estate industry, but also the energy industry, the building materials industry, the waste management industry and other industries and sectors must make their contribution in a division of labour approach.

Contributions are invited that consider the complex interactions between these different sectors and present cross-sectoral strategies for GHG reduction and/or specific decarbonisation strategies for individual actor groups or sectors.

We also welcome contributions which consider the role of the academic community in the provision of evidence and as agents of change.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What is the role of construction and real estate as a sector in decarbonizing the built environment?
  • What role does the state and municipalities play in promoting the decarbonisation of the construction and building sector?
  • What best practices exist towards decarbonisation of the real estate industry?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges in decarbonising the life cycle of buildings & infrastructure?
  • What new methods, tools, and case studies highlight successful pathways towards decarbonising the construction product industry?
  • What is the role of society (experts, organisations and the public) in decarbonising our built environment?

Up and downstream, Circular Economies

The built environment process (BEP) from material extraction to building end-of-life, is known for its contribution to global resource consumption and its production of construction waste.

A circular economy can be achieved through regenerative and resilient design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and upcycling. Circular design aims to design out waste and see materials as untapped resources rather than waste.

New production and consumption patterns will be necessary to rethink how the BEP operates towards sustainable use of our natural resources.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How to achieve circularity in the built environment?
  • What are good practices to reduce construction waste?
  • What drives the BEP of cities?
  • How can a systems-thinking approach enable regenerative design?
  • What is the role of big data and digitalization in the shift towards circularity in the built environment?

Mass Building Climate Retrofit

Mass building energy retrofit initiatives are complex socio-technical systems that provide a compelling opportunity to simultaneously tackle urgent climate change mitigation, clean energy transition, affordable housing, and economic imperatives.

Equally important in the upgrading of existing building stock is to address inevitable adaptation and resiliency ultimatums as climate change marches on at an alarming pace. Despite widespread agreement of this systemic leverage point in addressing climate change, structured building energy retrofit platforms, effective business and legislative mechanisms, and overall capacity does not exist in many regions.

This track seeks to offer solutions to overcome barriers in implementing mass climate retrofits.

Guiding questions and sub-track topics but not limited to:
  • What are exemplary models and innovation pathways for mass retrofit implementation? (Best Practices)
  • What are the key enabling factors, interactions, and barriers in mounting a successful mass retrofit program? (Capacity Building)
  • How does one make a holistic value-case beyond energy-based economics? (Community Well-being & Resilience)
  • What are the key technical and implementation needs to mitigate risk for industry adoption? (Technical)

Processes and Tools

Built Environment Assessment & Design Tools

The built environment on its own is an ecosystem of systems that is multi-scalar, multidimensional, dynamic, and temporal.

The ability to assess results provides wide-ranging practical feedback to expand the awareness of the future consequences of design decisions. More precise assessments, analyses, and measurements allow for more efficiency in the built environment, a goal driven by the desire to curb waste and lessen its negative impacts.

We look for contributions that demonstrate novel Assessment approaches, design tools, and workflows focusing on exploring, visualizing, and measuring the built environment.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How can the act of measuring continue to empower the built environment?
  • How to account for the built environment embodied carbon?
  • How can Life Cycle Assessment (social, environmental, cost) influence the design of the built environment?
  • How can digital twins help us develop responsive cities?
  • How do we reduce energy and material consumption to meet climate change challenges?
  • How do we integrate assessment tools into the design workflows?

Computation

The 21st century has seen unparalleled technological advances and an explosion of data about the built environment and its inhabitants.

Data from various sources can be used to understand behavior, assess performance, improve scenarios, allocate resources, and design sustainably.

However, the massive raw data sets that could be collected must be aggregated and visualized to be usable, which presents significant data handling, information visualization, and interaction challenges.

We look for contributions that investigate the use of computational tools to understand, visualize, and measure the built environment.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How can we tackle built environment induced climate change with AI and machine learning?
  • How to increase the reliability of built environment data?
  • How can we utilize big data for insightful analysis towards sustainable built environment?”

Special session

More information coming soon

Novel Tectonics

Buildings as Carbon Sinks

Biomaterials and their performance characteristics offer new opportunities for climate-responsive, passive-built environmental design.

Many vernacular architectural precedents exist that demonstrate the use of locally sourced bio-based materials – which are typically in plentiful supply – for reducing energy demand and the embodied carbon of buildings, as well as promoting the thermal comfort of occupants through enhanced temperature and humidity control. This is possible as many biomaterials have material properties which respond and adapt to the climatic conditions in which they are located.

For example, what works in a hot humid tropically region may not work in a hot dry arid climate, hence the importance of thinking local and specifying materials that are climate specific.

Biomaterials are typically low in embodied carbon with the potential to sequester carbon during their life span, and they are renewable compared to extractive energy intensive mineral-based materials which are fossil-based.

Participants are encouraged to propose papers that explore, from an environmental standpoint, the significant opportunities offered by biomaterials in reducing carbon emissions across the building life cycle.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • What are the multiple environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits which biomaterials can offer?
  • For biomaterials to compete strongly in the construction materials marketplace, what social, cultural, economic, and regulatory limitations need to be overcome?
  • How can biomaterials offer low-carbon passive heating and cooling strategies while also performing as carbon sinks?
  • What performance characteristics and new opportunities for climate-responsive design do bio-based materials offer?
  • What materials constitute bio-based materials and how can new enterprises that connect forestry practices and agricultural (waste) practices foster industrial symbiosis approaches in producing new low-carbon building materials?
  • What examples exist that highlight advances in mass timber and its potential, alongside its limitations and challenges?

Tectonic experimentation within passive/active systems

More than a neutral system to be optimized, the built environment is infused with a strong cultural component.

Embodying both this cultural load and the constructive solutions that materialize it, the notion of tectonics is at the heart of the work of designers, who are constantly experimenting with the limits and possibilities of materials in order to push further the expressive potential of their personal contributions to the global built environment.

This research effort leads to experimentation on assemblages, systems, and sometimes even materials. However, these innovations do not always align with sustainable goals. As ethical imperatives call for a more responsible approach, this experimental effort towards novel tectonics must go beyond aesthetics and participate responsibly in the effort to balance passive strategies and active systems.

This sub-track calls for papers that study the space of recent and current innovations in materiality within the efforts towards a more sustainable built environment.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How do tectonic experimentation and innovation impact and inform the balance between passive strategies and active systems?
  • What is the place of novel tectonics within larger sustainable passive strategies? Are they simply integrated to known strategies or do they usher in new and innovative ones?
  • What type of tectonic innovation originate directly from passive strategies or active systems?
  • How do efforts towards sustainability influence tectonic innovation? Do they favor a rediscovery of the potentials of known materials or the enhancement of some of their qualities, or do they motivate the invention of new materials?

Fabrication and Assembly

As climate change begins to reconfigure the construction industry, it is useful to remember that building is both a noun and a verb: an orchestration of materials, processes and events that unfold in space and time.

To understand the ways in which design engages with flows of material, labor and energy, we must look beyond the discourse of form and use to confront the ways in which buildings are linked to broad networks of people, places, economies and ecosystems.

This session calls for projects, research, and analysis on the ways in which fabrication and assembly intersect with the material, structural and social dimensions of architectural practice.

Participants are encouraged to consider the role of standardized, modular and prefabricated construction as well as design-for-disassembly, adaptive re-use, and emerging technologies of construction/fabrication. Papers may focus on contemporary experiments or research that considers historical developments in this area of inquiry.

Guiding questions but not limited to:
  • How might technologies of sensing, scanning, and tracking building materials change processes of construction?
  • How are practices of automation embedded in the process of design, production, and assembly?
  • How does the transition from ‘stick’ frames to ‘mass’ assemblies alter the framework of wood building?
  • How has the relationship between standardization and mass customization evolved in recent building construction?
  • How might bio-based and renewable materials be deployed at scale in new modes of building?
  • How can new materials and ways of building promote human health and prosperity?
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