Letter to the Editor-A greener tomorrow


20-October-2008

Now is the time to act on delivering quality infrastructure – green and intelligent developments that will not only benefit the people but sustain our way of life and environment for years to come. We can all acknowledge that without an attractive and well-protected environment we will not have an economy.

S4S wishes to take the idea of green and intelligent design even further than residential and commercial buildings. Let us analyse major manmade projects, as they leave an even larger carbon footprint.

Infrastructure development is vital to Seychelles’ economic development, as it is beneficial in sustaining life on our small islands. Sewerage, water, electricity, food, roads, drainage, garbage (recycling), security, medical care, communication, imports, exports etc need to work hand in hand with all the major projects – housing development, office buildings and hotels – acting as a single system. 

A well-planned system will:

• Create a more efficient and effective infrastructure;

• Be more organised and easier to trouble-shoot;

• Use less land to build such systems, but a utility easement corridor has to be established;

• Take into account all future development;

•  Protect against Mother Nature and major disasters;

•  Complement our over-burdened existing infrastructure, especially water and electricity.

In order to meet Seychelles’ sustainable goals we have to plan Seychelles intelligently by bringing all professionals together to envisage, brainstorm, plan out all communities and towns, hold public meetings at district level to have everyone taking part, including students, workers, developers, architects, contractors etc so we can all form a global consensus on what we want to achieve as a nation.

After a global but flexible (so we can adapt to change) master plan is in place, then we can focus on individual and smart projects strictly enforced by building officials who will monitor developments and make sure they fall in with the country’s national development strategies – “to create a green and sustainable community that respects and preserves our precious environment”.

We should:

•  Build with the site rather than flattening everything out;

• Prevent erosion and falling rocks;

•  Unblock all rivers and marshes;

•  Respect setback;

•  Use natural systems as a solution rather than just concrete;

•  Create natural habitats and food gardens. 

Abiding by strict local building and zoning codes is very important or else everyone will build as they see fit and not respect their environment. 

Intelligent building then comes in play whereby architects and designers should design based on sustainable principles – using rainwater storage, solar power systems, cross-ventilation, natural lighting, long overhangs or natural shading devices, natural materials, solar cooking systems, compost toilets or simply rainwater to flush toilets, outdoor spaces, trellis systems, green roofs.

Sustainability should not just be a cliché but a way of life. Please let us consider and put forth all the facts before we jump into major projects. S4S totally supports all the developments going on in the country, but if they are not planned responsibly we will run into major infrastructural conflicts in the future.

Sustainable development focuses on a 50-100 year timeline while being maintained by green jobs, therefore balancing our way of life and economic development.

Paul Lesperance
Arkitek
Seychelles 4 Sustainability

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