The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030” (UNDP, 2015). The 17 goals are made tangible through 169 targets and 303 indicators that attempt to focus attention on a ‘means of implementation’ to mitigate against a lack of tangible action that previous goals have been criticised for. Importantly, the SDGs aim to recognise the considerable link between social, economic and environmental outcomes. For example, ensuring that short-term improvements in wellbeing do not risk undermining long-term environmental consequences. The ability of design to engage real people and communities, understand everyday problems and implement the ‘right’ solution, not just the ‘newest technology’, enables it to act as a bridge between other disciplines. It is an important and growing voice in this field that helps to bridge the gap between the rapid advancements in science, technology and engineering with real people, challenges and contexts on an everyday level.
Ultra-energy-efficient construction, such as Passivhaus, has the potential for attaining significant positive contribution while minimising negative implications for implementing several SDGs. The goals of such implementation can be defined through a project contribution to specific targets and indicators. As such, this network seeks to develop capacity building to respond to the following SDGs positively:
- The discussion in this network will address a highlighted topic by the recent pandemic, indoor air quality. Since health and housing quality are linked, this project focuses on SDG 3 — Health & wellbeing. More specifically, we will look for solutions that positively impact Target 3.9 and Indicator 3.9.1 — Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution. In 2019, approximately 48,500 deaths were attributed to air pollution in Mexico. Those linked to household air pollution were above 10,000, surpassing the Latin America annual mean of 1,746 deaths.
- We will look at the housing industry innovation (Passivhaus) to minimise low-carbon emissions by improving energy-efficient design, construction & use. This network will discuss the most underperformed (Index: 25.1/100) SDG in Latin America: the SGD 9 —Industry, innovation and infrastructure. The network will look for solutions to promote access to affordable housing and basic services (Target 9.4), balancing the CO2-emissions and added value (Indicator 9.4.1). Mexico is among the 15th largest CO2 emitters, and its housing industry contributes around 30% of the national CO2-emissions.
Image credits UN The seventeen goals.