Futurebuild exhibition: The Future, what’s it like?

3 mins read

Last week I went to Futurebuild at the Excel centre. I confess I had never heard of it and was in two minds but it was a chance to meet with my fellow COP26ClimateActionPlan team in person so I went.

Frankly I wasn’t expecting much of interest but when I go there I was blown away by the sheer amount of sustainability solutions being worked on.

I attended lectures, which I hope will be online to look at again. I sadly only caught the end of ‘levelling up’ with experts seriously and earnestly trying to solve a problem rather than politicians yah-booing each other, how refreshing! They had one common thread running through, which was to vote for sustainable policies, whichever party you think best in that department vote for them. It was a serious Panel discussion. Each panelist had a theme:

  • What are the social equality strategies that we need to ‘level up’?
  • What are the economic strategies that we need to ‘level up’?
  • How can regional and local government respond to the challenge?
  • What does ‘levelling up’ mean for planning?

The exhibition itself was split into sections:

Resources and materials, Interiors, Offsite, Critical infrastructure, Buildings and Energy.

Each was fascinating and I tried to get a bit of a flavour of each.

People running businesses trying to make the world a better place. Any business or industry that does not get on board the sustainability train is going nowhere and will not survive, this exhibition shows how to make it better, down to the last bolt. The ideas on show are way ahead of where politics is. There were solutions and part solutions to all sorts of deep problems and this is an accepted part of problem solving. People prepared to listen and prepared to go into depth about the issues. Where to start!

I wandered round in a haze of mazy excitement. On one side there was the oft ignored by councils, SUDS, over there electric engines cutting emissions by 50% with no rare earth metals, I spoke to a man who had biodiversity cycle sheds, there were ecobricks, sustainability consultants, urban tree experts, hempcrete, low carbon cement.

The role of the urban tree

The pulse of my inner nerd was racing! I walked round chatting to too many to mention, but one favourite was the 540 world stand. This takes Circularity to a whole new level, working out how to use modular everything and working out how to dismantle everything as part of construction. When everything has a value it changes the economics and there was an exciting new innovation to map this called Upcyclea have a look and see just how this could transform our world. #cradletocradle looks at every single thing and Upcyclea builds on that.

futurebuild_540This contrasts wildly with all the guff you hear out of touch paid for politicians whining on about, how a carbon net zero future is impossible, ‘we’ll all be living in caves unless we burn more fossil fuel’ etc.

The reality is quite different, at Futurebuild I glimpsed a vision of what the future might look like. It looks like the only thing stopping us is the political will to do it as I heard over and over.

Perhaps they ought to come to something like this and discover that the solutions are already here and the future could look bright.

I am working with Lava.eco which uses hydromx to cut emissions and fuel bills as part of the drive to solve problems and it is truly heartening to see others doing the same with sustainability at the heart of their enterprise in such a wide variety of subjects.
At the heart of this is the Climate and Ecological Emergency. The IPCC report leaves it very clear just how bad things are.


Solutions are all around though and start in everyday life so with this in mind I took part in a panel session focussing on planning, lots of people sharing their experiences, it was one of 10 such subjects, I wanted to learn from them all! We went from CILS, to ignorance of the climate emergency, to local plans and more.

Planning session

At the end, I would say simply this, have a look at the climate reports, this from Chatham house is an impartial but terrifying report. It is big and scary, but know what we are facing, it will happen whether we want it or not, we cannot defeat the laws of physics or chemistry.

The futurebuild exhibition was a counterpoint and demonstrates how we can start to mitigate with sustainability at the centre, how we can ultimately make the world a better place.

I’m still going through all the information and digesting it, but i’m booking my place for next year!

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  1. Maybe the author might like to put that post on LinkedIn? I found it interesting and I am very undereducated in these matters, but there are a lot of people on LinkedIn who do know a lot and would find it encouraging to read about the exhibition. Is it still on?

  2. Indeed, a very interesting exhibition apparently. Unfortunately finished, it was 01 – 03 March 2022.
    You can also relay the article on your LinkedIn account, I am sure it will be appreciated 🙂

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