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Another major concern in India is that developments are allowed on natural waterways. In 1960, there were 280 natural lakes in the city of Bangalore. Today only 93 remain, all of which are either dry or in the process of being sold for development. This type of development has greatly affected the groundwater table. In some areas the groundwater used to be at 300 feet, but has now dipped below 1,000 feet. Furthermore, these developments are being recognized as the greenest buildings in India. This anomaly is mainly due to a misinformed public.



adjacent neighbors when it comes to sunlight and fresh air. The main difference is that in Australia, and likely in most Western countries, the regulatory authority intervenes. In India, the regulatory system is weak, giving rise to buildings that ignore a community’s basic rights to nature.

in many Eastern cultures, it will take the will and determination of the entire society to achieve the Equity Petal as described in the Living Building Challenge. It will require every individual to change his or her current mindset about and attitude toward the built environment. This attitude adjustment would eventually lead to pressure on the government to create a better monitoring policy to implement current laws, and to enact stronger ones. It will also require a shift in every architect’s thinking. It is up to the architect to educate the client on equity and the benefits that it can reap within society. Designing socially and environmentally responsive buildings that are an integral part of a community is every architect’s duty.

After studying both Eastern and Western attitudes about the built environment, I finally found the answer Within the Ambassador network the goal of the Col- to my question about the responsibility of an architect: laboratives is to educate, advocate and collaborate to create beautiful buildings, yes, but more imporwithin the local community, spreading the restorative tantly to support the beautiful communities that will principles of the Living Building Challenge. The Ban- use them. galore Collaborative is tackling the issue of a misinformed public by holding educational events focused on the Petals and Imperatives within the Challenge, and is gaining steam every day. In many Western cultures, including Australia, the issues relating to equity are addressed by a strong regulatory framework, which makes change easier to implement within the built environment. In India and

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SYED SARMAD is Co-founder and Director at Engaging Spaces with a Masters Degree in Sustainable Design and Building from the University of Sydney, Australia.


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