• Infrastructure
  • Structure
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Guide Topics

Cities for humans

 

“Climate change and global warming present an existential threat to humanity and will require a unified global response at all levels of society. Scientists estimate that we are currently on a trajectory that will increase average global temperatures by two degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100. If these emissions are not appropriately addressed, cities will become increasingly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.” (From the Mayors’ Foreword, Regulations for the Expression of Interest – Reinventing Cities).

As architects and engineers, our task is to rethink urban spaces with an attentive, pragmatic eye on sustainability. We’re aware that the works we design change the world and leave a tangible sign on our planet. We’ve chosen to be guided daily by the principles launched by C40 through Reinventing Cities: energy efficiency, assessment of the life-cycle of construction materials, durability and climatic adaptation, sustainable management of water resources, urban reforestation, social inclusion, innovative architecture and urban design, and low emission mobility.

We collect research, projects, interviews and analyses in NETHighlights that form the basis of the development of a design approach that makes sustainability its driving force.

Earth Care

For several years, NET Engineering has been wondering about the contribution that engineering and architecture can make to leave future generations a better land than the one they inherited. This is a key topic and can now no longer be put off.

Europe has adopted the Green Deal strategy to improve the well-being of citizens, reduce its climatic impact to zero by 2050, and protect and preserve its natural environment. In detail, the EU classifies the risks linked to climate starting from the effects generated in four areas: temperature, wind, water and solid mass. NETHighlights indicates questions and possible engineering, architectural and urban planning answers to the ongoing changes, also considering the support that technicians can give to the policy and definition of the strategic choices within this topic area. In addition, also be concerned with the circular economy and the recovery of highly polluting materials with NETHighlights, offering a perspective prompted by the knowledge and disciplines at the centre of our core business.

Data-driven design

 

Today, digital platforms, tools for indicating solutions, are the environments where phenomena are interpreted. They allow the construction of multi-variable scenarios to simulate their effects. Construction site management and the related resilience and network vulnerability analyses, the analysis of spaces from the viewpoint of gender equity and social inclusion or the distribution of the green in urban contexts, just to give some examples, can only be implemented with advanced GIS planning ability. A tool which cuts across the disciplines and is able to improve performance in the hydraulic, environmental, urban planning, geological, transport and BIM spheres. Then the possibility of integration between GIS and BIM, and BIM and micro-simulation tools, with enormous analysis, assessment and forecasting potential in the infrastructure, architectural and urban planning fields, should be added to this.

However, the digitalisation process cannot and must not stop here. NETHighlights is the place where comparisons on the potential of Artificial Intelligence in engineering and architecture design and, more generally, Project Management can be made.

 

I’m still standing

Approaching an existing work means understanding its peculiarities, grasping the functional and structural features without, in many cases, being able to read the project. Before the summer of 2018, NET Engineering had already begun to develop both specific and pioneering skill in this area in Italy. To date, NET has provided services of seismic vulnerability assessment and static resistance to operational loads in accordance with the new regulatory framework to various Italian road and rail infrastructure operators for a total of more than 200 works analysed.

However, to guarantee the efficiency and safety of the infrastructure heritage with resolution and professionalism, questions must be asked, search work followed up, and innovative technical solutions found which can improve the checking, repair, monitoring and maintenance work. Today, ‘conservation’ has acquired a new cultural, more substantial, meaning it’s no longer linked just to the maintenance of mankind’s home, the environment affected by human activity, but aimed at making full use of the energy already used, which shouldn’t be wasted, but better aimed, if necessary with supplements.

The same approach, the same perspective should be applied to the design of new works so that they are lasting, sustainable for the environment and the communities. There must be life-cycle assessment, choice of materials able to respond to climate changes, reduction of the frequency of maintenance, of the environmental and energy impact, attention to the history of places and the cultural and social environment and its evolution over time.

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