Human civilisation’s destruction is inevitable especially with the onset of climate change and the simultaneous peaking of global oil supply; both of which have always been considered and discussed in isolation. The International Union of Architects (UIA) Sustainability by Design Conference that will be taking place from 29 – 30 November 2011 in Durban will be addressing these pertinent issues and discussing other factors which need to be taken into consideration when it comes to sustainable designs for the future.

Four different scenarios based on the interrelationship between climate change and the peaking global oil supply as put forward by David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept, will form the framework for the structure of the UIA Sustainability by Design Conference.

Each scenario presents an internally steady consistent and convincing look into the four futures that are highly credible and possible; each materialising very different kinds of energy mixes and strategies, including settlement form and patterns, mobility patterns, urban/rural and formal/informal dynamics, economics, governance, politics, culture and spirituality. The scenarios look at various intersections between benign to severe climate changes as well as slow to rapid energy decent.

In order to foster an all-encompassing debate, a workshop with a group of speakers drawn from various disciplines ranging from urban design, transportation, biodiversity, financing, sustainability, to African culture and philosophy will generate a truly multi-disciplinary approach.

The conference will primarily adopt participatory charrette and interactive formats, with speaker-panelists introducing their positions, problematic and points of perspectives in four-minute sound bites opposed to formal presentations, followed by professionally facilitated debates where the audience will be invited to interact with the process and the various points discussed

Lloyd Macfarlane, Director at alive2green says, “One of the intentions of the conference is to sketch the beginnings of the broad outlines of a built environment sector response to climate change that may serve to equip Conference of the Parties (COP) negotiators at next year’s COP18 in Seoul.”

For further information on the UIA Sustainability by Design Conference visit