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"We are going to have to rewild London and rebuild the biodiversity and the microbiome quality," says Indy Johar. One of the most eye-opening facts of Johar’s lecture was that the global mass of farm animals is now 22 times the weight of all wild animals. This speaks to the massive changes taking place on the planet. The stats are from the first global census of wild mammal biomass, conducted by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers. It reveals the extent to which our natural world is a disappearing one.

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The architect and co-founder of Dark Matter Labs examined the future of London and the huge changes the capital is going to have to deal with at the London Society’s Banister Fletcher lecture. He believes we all need to embrace the harsh realities of the structural transformations the city will undergo and London in the 21st century will have to tackle the scale of the carbon challenge and what that means for new models of building. 

Johar explained the carbon crisis of untrammelled new construction and building. London and European economies need to embrace repair and circular material flows instead. "All of Europe can afford to build 144,000 homes a year" to remain within the carbon budget of the Paris accords. How are we going to deal with the necessary increases in biodiversity, energy transitions, material scarcity and new forms of human development?

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A changing world is already creating volatility. The green belt will have to be a forest belt, believes Johar. So how does London rebuild a forest belt? By fundamentally transforming our energy supply. All of this is going to require a fundamental shift in how we approach problems, by harnessing radical new technologies and accepting that our relationship with the world around us is going to shift in a way that hasn’t happened for 400-500 years.

The video was recorded live at RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London on 24 April 2024

About Indy Johar

Indy, on behalf of Architecture 00, has co-founded multiple social ventures from Impact Hub Westminster to Impact Hub Birmingham. He was a Good Growth Commissioner for the RSA, RIBA Trustee and Advisor to Mayor of London on Good Growth. Most recently, he has founded Dark Matter - a field laboratory focused on building the institutional infrastructures for radicle civic societies, cities, regions, and towns.

Sir Banister Flight Fletcher

Sir Banister Flight Fletcher (15 February 1866, London – 17 August 1953) was an English architect and architectural historian who, with his father, wrote the first edition of A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method (for the student, craftsman and amateur) which went on to become standard reference for architects, with updated editions published throughout the 20th century.

Fletcher requested that the London Society hold an annual lecture in his name.