Global Risks Landscape

The Global Risks Landscape 2011 paints a sobering picture of the world we live in. No Virginia, climate change is very real according to the folks at the World Economic Forum…

The report pulls out three categories of that put our civilization in peril:

  • The “macroeconomic imbalances” nexus
  • The “illegal economy” nexus
  • The “water-food-energy” nexus

Not quite as scary are the ‘risks to watch’:

  • Cyber-security
  • Demographic challenges
  • Resource security
  • Retrenchment from globalization
  • Weapons of mass destruction

So what does this scaremongering have to do with the practice of Landscape Architecture or teaching? Well….

As landscape architects, we shape the physical world and are at the forefront of risk environment mitigation. We can create cities that don’t generate urban heat islands, are healthy places to walk (where we don’t need to drive), avoid building in seismic zones and other places at high risk for ‘natural’ disasters, reduce biodiversity loss by both choosing project sites wisely and specifying materials that don’t destroy ecosystems, and maybe most important for those economists writing this report, we add economic value to any project we touch. Landscape Architecture needs to be in the center of resilience planning (but right now we’re on the periphery looking in).

Perhaps the coolest part of WEF report is there review of Davos 2011 that included my hero, Cameron Sinclair in the thick of the’ Earthquake: Public and Private Roles for Risk Mitigation and Response’ workshop.


Spotted in a post by Rob Hopkins on the Post Carbon Institute’s Energy Bulletin Blog, via TransitionUS, from the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk 2011 Report [pdf]. Full report is here:  A Vision for Managing Natural Disaster Risk

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