In the News: Cushing Terrell Proposes Land Use Changes in Response to Recent IPCC Climate Reports

Director of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, Keith Walzak, identifies opportunities to slow climate change through revised land use tactics.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report this summer on the state of the warming planet, declaring: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land.” Findings from the report — approved by 195 governments and based on more than 14,000 studies — also showed that aggressive, rapid, and widespread cuts to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, if they begin immediately, could limit warming beyond 2050. In response to the forecast, Keith Walzak, Director of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture at multidisciplinary design firm Cushing Terrell, calls for reforms to include:

  • More conscious and thoughtful land-use planning
  • Enhanced research and education regarding land-use development
  • Strengthened partnerships between design firms, city leaders, developers, and financing institutions

Walzak’s call to action: “Now, we need to go deeper than all-electric homes, solar panels, and recycled materials; we need to focus on why, where, and how to build in general. This means rethinking the entire planning, design, and construction process as well as changing local development regulations and policies that currently promote urban sprawl development patterns.”

Walzak identifies human-centered design, a defining characteristic of Cushing Terrell’s multi-phased design process, as a key solution to the problem of expedient development. He notes, “Battling climate change through design, while having obvious implications for land use, is about centering development on the users. Designing for people’s well-being tends to result in more conscious, sustainable design.”

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