Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar
Aerial view of a city.

COP28 Day 2 Recap: Leading the Way to Smarter, Greener Cities

Editor’s Note: Gensler attended COP28 in Dubai in early December 2023 to work with our partners toward sustainable solutions for the built environment. This post is the second in a series of daily recaps about our time at the event.

For the first time in history, over half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will be closer to 70%. Improving the sustainability of urban areas is vital to the wellbeing of our world. We must reimagine our cities and embrace new technologies to make urban life more resilient, vibrant, and equitable for all.

Today, at the Sustainable Innovation Forum panel “Smarter, Cleaner Cities for the Future,” we joined Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer of General Motors, and Rogier van den Berg, who leads the World Resources Institute’s sustainable urban development work, for a discussion on the sustainable future of cities and mobility. (Watch the video below.)

Achievable sustainability was the theme of two other panel conversations hosted by the University of Pennsylvania and Heidelberg Materials. Achievability requires affordability, and at Gensler, we are designing resilience into everything we do. Our industry must continue to push the pace of innovation to deliver affordable solutions for today’s challenges, and governments must incentivize the repurposing and repositioning of existing building stock. Calgary, Alberta, offers a case study for successful collaboration between government and industry. The Calgary Downtown Development Incentive Program provided grants to help convert vacant offices into residential buildings, adding much-needed housing to the city while also taking the sustainable path of adaptive reuse.

We also spoke with journalists from Reuters Projects, Khaleej Times, and MEED.

The value of the public and private sectors coming together to advance climate solutions cannot be overstated, and gatherings like COP28 are essential for coalescing key stakeholders. Everyone has a role to play, and the real estate and building industry in particular has a tremendous opportunity to take leadership, today.

Explore all of our events and representatives attending COP28.

Follow our co-CEOs on the ground in Dubai for more updates. Follow Andy Cohen here and Diane Hoskins here.

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Andy Cohen

Andy is co-CEO of Gensler, the world’s most influential architecture and design firm. Since 2005, he and Co-CEO Diane Hoskins have exemplified collaborative leadership, overseeing both the long-term strategy and day-to-day operations of the global practice known for its award-winning design innovation and research. Under their guidance, Gensler has organically grown to become the largest and most admired firm in the field, with some 6,000 people networked across 53 offices around the world, serving more than 3,500 clients in over 100 countries. A registered architect in 41 states and 3 Canadian provinces, Andy is a champion of the power of design to enhance and enrich the human experience. In 2021, he was named to Business Insider’s list of “100 People Transforming Business.”

Diane Hoskins

Diane is one of two co-CEOs of Gensler. For her innovative leadership, Diane, along with Co-CEO Andy Cohen, ranks on Business Insider’s elite “Creators” list, a who’s who of the world’s 100 top creative visionaries. As a hands-on leader, Diane oversees Gensler’s global platform and its day-to-day operations, with 6,000+ people networked across 53 offices, serving more than 3,500 clients in over 100 countries. Diane is focused on Gensler’s global talent strategies, performance, and organizational development to ensure that we serve our clients with the world’s top talent.