News and reports from around the world
Near the top of the world — Repairing a critical airfield
Reconstructing an airfield is far from simple, even when logistics are normal. On a small island at the end of the Aleutian chain, the challenges become even steeper — adding harsh weather, a narrow window for construction, a complete lack of available supplies and equipment, and a runway that had to remain in service to the list of challenges.
AECOM overcame all of these obstacles as the team worked to reconstruct the runway at the U.S. Air Force’s Eareckson Air Station, a project that AECOM, as general contractor, successfully completed over the course of two, five-month construction periods in 2010.
“Conditions on the island could have resulted in work stoppages, but careful planning enabled us to deliver the project ahead of schedule and under budget,” says AECOM’s Rod Staponski, senior vice president, Air Force Programs. “The project team had a passion for excellence and provided the Air Force with a runway that will serve them well into the future.”
Originally built during World War II, Eareckson Air Station is located on the remote Shemya Island at the end of the 300-island Aleutian chain in Alaska, United States, about 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) from Anchorage. The station is an essential location for U.S. military aircraft between North America and Far East Asia, and is required to remain open to aircraft throughout the year. The runway is a commercial emergency landing site for aircraft flying the North Pacific route.
“Eareckson’s 10,000-foot-long (3,048-meter-long) runway had been repaved several times over its nearly 70-year existence,” says AECOM’s Tim Green, project manager. “By 2009, it had severely deteriorated and was in desperate need of reconstruction. The airfield lighting system also required replacement as the island’s harsh environment and snow removal operations had resulted in a number of hazards, including exposed wiring.”
The island’s harsh weather conditions limited the construction periods to May through September and there were no on-island materials or equipment — with only lodging and meal accommodations supporting the mission at Eareckson. The solution was to barge all materials and equipment — from paving equipment to dump trucks and even a laboratory for quality control — to the island.
“We painstakingly developed a plan and outlined the equipment and materials delivery down to the last cubic yard of concrete so that we would be able to mobilize exactly what was needed to complete the work,” says Green.
AECOM also worked closely with the Air Force, phasing field construction work to accommodate severe weather and airfield operational requirements, including the emergency landing of a Boeing 777 commercial aircraft.
“The work earned AECOM the Air Force’s highest contractor performance rating for two years in a row, setting AECOM apart from all competitors holding similar worldwide design-build contracts,” says Staponski. “Our project performance also resulted in a contract for additional work at the Eareckson site.”Read more
The project proved to have sustainable features. “When asphalt milling resulted in large quantities of material requiring disposal, we put the extra asphalt material to use as road base, delivering repairs around the island at no extra cost,” says Green.
New era for mining accommodation
Confronted with a boom in the resources industry and an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers, mining companies often face the challenge of attracting and retaining workers in remote work locations. The industry was in dire need of a solution — and AECOM’s experts came to the rescue. A new style of accommodations is being created for resource sector workers in Australia that’s never been seen before — mining villages.
“We are creating climate-responsive, innovative, sumptuous environments to accommodate workers flying in from major cities,” says AECOM’s James Dorrat, practice director of design, Planning, Design + Development. “Offering workers a high-quality living environment is a paradigm shift in the industry. The way that these accommodation villages are designed and planned is increasingly critical for clients to attract skilled workers, particularly to remote areas, but it also aids in improving employee performance and general wellbeing.”
With three villages currently in the developmental approval stage, AECOM has masterplanned various mining villages — ranging from remote locations to areas that are neighboring regional hot spots. In Australia, AECOM’s specialists are masterplanning and designing a new village that includes:
- aesthetically pleasing buildings;
- green space corridors;
- landscape zones;
- high-end hotel room accommodation;
- jogging, walking and cycling trails;
- sports facilities for activities such as swimming, beach volleyball and indoor cricket;
- water-sensitive urban design principles to maximize water use; and
- feed vegetation to reduce dust.
AECOM’s designs also include features that improve site usability — such as placing laundry and waste disposal facilities close to central amenities to reduce traffic and noise into the site, and positioning housing units together to provide easy access to service corridors, which improves safety.
“Rather than provide an arrival experience akin to a shopping center with a car park as the dominant element, we disperse these various innovative and meaningful elements throughout the village,” says AECOM’s Ben Howard, senior architect. “For example, we incorporate lots of green space so residents feel as open as possible to explore, and we also embrace new ideas such as food courts and grab-and-go food stalls.”
AECOM is also differentiating its approach to village planning and design by incorporating sustainability — evaluating the environmental, social and economic factors and further providing specialist guidance on the design and operation.
“No one has ever done this in the detail that we are,” says Dorrat. “We look at not only the capital expenditure, but also the operational expenditure — and that’s where we’re making big headway. Clients see that rather than just focusing on bricks and mortar. We’re also looking beyond the commissioning to the costs they will encounter when managing and operating the villages. Our philosophy is that you need aesthetic and form, but it should be driven by efficient function.”
AECOM has strong future plans for this sector of the resources industry, including a desire to become the leading designer of transportable buildings used for village living quarters.
Renewable energy — The future is now
AECOM is helping solve the energy challenge today through its global renewable energy project portfolio — in perfect keeping with its mission to create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.
With more than seven-billion people, our planet’s population faces one of its greatest challenges ever — finding and sustaining the energy our communities need for a place to live and work.
“The best way to meet this vast challenge is with renewable energy,” states AECOM’s Luc Benoit, chief executive, Global Energy, “and it’s within our reach to do so.” According to a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could be met with renewables by 2050. Mostly untapped renewable sources could provide energy security for the planet, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one-third, mitigate climate change, support sustainable development and boost economic growth, according to the report. And AECOM is helping to provide and develop these wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, waste-to-energy/biofuel and marine — tidal, wave and thermal — renewable energy resources around the world.
“We work across the spectrum of renewable energy projects all around the world,” says AECOM’s Marie-Helene Briand, vice president, Energy, based in Montreal, Canada. “Making use of abundant renewable resources, is just one area of renewables for example, we’re planning, designing and engineering major new hydroelectric projects in Canada, Guatemala, Africa, India and Pakistan.” AECOM is also involved in power plant and dam refurbishment to increase energy generation efficiency and improve dam safety, an important part of the energy solution.
Marine energy resources are global, and the technology to capture the ocean’s power includes hydrokinetic devices (tidal and wave) and ocean thermal energy conversion. “Development of marine resources is in the early stages,” adds AECOM’s Russell Dmytriw, senior project manager, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. “To make marine renewable projects a reality, you need advanced technical capabilities, strong industry and regulatory partnerships, and innovative solutions.” AECOM’s environmental planning, design and engineering professionals have completed innovative marine renewable energy projects in Europe, the United States and Canada, and are currently working on opportunities in Australia and Asia in an industry rapidly transitioning from pilot scale projects to large commercial arrays.
According to AECOM’s Alexander Quinn, director, Sustainable Economics, based in San Francisco, California, United States, “The United Nations Energy Program reported that global investment in green energy rose 32 percent last year. This is only the beginning as annual renewable energy activity is projected to grow from US$139 billion to US$326 billion by 2019. Technology improvements, intense global competition, and economies of scale are driving down the costs, and powering growth and solutions.”
In the solar industry, residential solar has grown substantially as government incentives encourage more dispersed and ecologically-friendly solutions. Quinn estimates one-million homes in California, United States, will have solar rooftop systems by 2020. For large scale projects, AECOM has already worked on 25 large-scale solar energy facilities, including one of the world’s largest in California.
Working on the largest wind farm in Europe (Whitelee Wind Farm, Scotland — 539 megawatts), AECOM’s Sam Mackilligin, director, Renewable Energy, states, “The key to making wind farm projects work is to align the interests of the owners and stakeholders — a best practice we’ve perfected on more than 80 windfarm projects in Europe. We achieved alignment working for the Scotland Forestry Commission by fully understanding the environmental context of the wind farm before engineering the infrastructure to minimize its impact. Communicating this integrated strategy early in the development process helps reach consensus and advances the project. We were able to permit and build the wind farm and its infrastructure much more quickly, saving significant construction costs.”Read more
Indonesia — Reliable, cleaner renewable energy
“In Indonesia, we’re taking a different tack on renewables,” states AECOM’s John Toomey, director, Energy, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. “We are working with local communities and the Asia Development Bank on multiple smaller geothermal and hydroelectric projects in remote areas of the country. These renewable energy projects displace expensive, unreliable and more polluting diesel power generation in isolated areas and energy networks, and provide immediate benefits to the local communities they serve with reliable, cleaner and sustainable energy. In this way, the projects also contribute to rural economic development.” Five projects have been completed already and five more are under construction.
Waste-to-energy: Capturing renewable biofuels from municipal waste
As a first of its kind for clean technology in Hong Kong, an AECOM project will help create renewable energy from the vast municipal solid waste (MSWR) stream and at the same time reduce use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. Working with the Environmental Protection Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government, AECOM is developing a large-scale organic waste treatment facility that will recover useful materials and generate energy (compost, heat and electricity) from organic wastes that are currently being disposed of in landfills.
According to AECOM’s Matthew Ko, director, Waste Management and Emerging Technologies, based in Asia, “This exciting project of converting organic wastes (the largest component of the MSW stream) into renewable biofuels is part of the sustainable solution to the world’s energy challenge."
AECOM helps island nation embrace renewable energy
The Polynesian island of Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world. Only 13 feet (4 meters) above sea level at its highest point, the low-lying archipelago is vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by global warming. AECOM is helping to convert Tuvalu’s power supply to 100 percent renewable solar and wind energy by 2020 for sustainable economic growth, improved living standards, reduced vulnerability and enhanced natural environment.
Funded by New Zealand’s Aid Program, AECOM is providing program planning, community engagement, technology installation, capacity building and technical/financial performance monitoring. Tuvalu could become a model for other environments as direct conversion from sunshine into electric power is a more sustainable economic alternative to fossil fuels. Equipment and materials that perform well in Tuvalu’s harsh marine environment are likely to perform well in other areas.
Leading Turkey’s economic and scientific revolution
Located approximately 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from central Istanbul, Turkey, Bio Istanbul represents a number of firsts for the country — its first biomedical science park, its first advanced children’s hospital and the country’s first residential community designed to meet internationally recognized sustainability standards.
AECOM’s healthcare cost and program managers have worked closely with the international developer, Bio City Development Company BV (BCDco), throughout the initial feasibility studies and financial due diligence stages of the Bio Istanbul project, which will see construction begin in the summer of 2012.
Bio Istanbul is set to become home to 15,000 permanent residents with accommodation for a further 35,000 working commuters. By providing a catalyst for new investment in healthcare, this ambitious and exceptional project will transform pediatric healthcare and biomedical research and development in Turkey.
“The Turkish pharmaceutical industry today spends approximately US$40 million per year on research and development,” says Drew Carr-Ellison, BCDco’s chief operating officer. “When compared with the more than US$10 billion spent in each of the major western economies, the importance of the project to Turkey’s transition to a knowledge-based economy becomes clear. Bio Istanbul is the future home for the industry in Turkey, providing unique tax and infrastructure incentives for research and development companies.”
In addition to AECOM’s cost and program manager specialists, its local engineering team is currently working with a leading technology company to develop information technology infrastructure for the area. This will incorporate a number of smart city initiatives to ensure efficient use of energy and utilities, an integrated transport network with an intra-site public tramway and a comprehensive site security system.
Harnessing AECOM’s global expertise is vital for the success of the project, according to BCDco Chief Executive Tobias Levey, who comments, “There are great construction companies in Turkey, but they’re not used to the goals in terms of quality that we’re talking about. That’s why we’ve engaged amazing international consultants to bring it up to that level.”
“Bio Istanbul represents the best of what AECOM stands for — innovative design and collaborative effort while simultaneously improving the community in which we work,” according to Phil Hynard, who’s leading the project for AECOM from London, United Kingdom. “By creating a scheme that transcends the conventional boundaries of the healthcare industry, we are helping to establish a new benchmark for quality across the globe.”
“The project is creating excitement in Turkey, both within AECOM as well as the broader community,” says AECOM’s Doğan Tahsin Biber, head of Program and Construction Managment, based in Turkey. “Bio Istanbul will serve as a Copernican revolution for healthcare in Turkey, as well as being the first great step on its journey to achieving European healthcare standards.”
“Projects such as Bio Istanbul provide long-term benefits to the greater community as they not only advance healthcare and research, but kick-start many other programs of innovation both in country and regionally,” adds AECOM’s David Whitehouse, managing director, Commonwealth of Independent States and Turkey.
Improving water hygiene and sanitation for Romanians
The Romanian government recorded in 2004 that only 52 percent of the population was connected to the drinking water and sewerage system, 71 percent of wastewater was insufficiently treated and two-thirds of the rural population had no access to a centralized water supply system. With obligations to comply fully with the European Water Framework Directive, which states that every settlement with a population of more than 2,000 in Europe must have a system for collecting urban wastewater by the end of 2018, the Romanian government needed to act fast.
Funding was essential for the country’s public health — and for its development as a whole. So, financial support was made available to improve water hygiene and sanitation through the accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007. And with a series of projects already underway, AECOM is playing a prominent role in expanding access to clean drinking water and sewerage for Romanians.
“The profile of AECOM’s water business is increasing significantly within the Romanian water sector,” explains AECOM’s Graham Howells, managing director, Water. “Our global water expertise combined with the investment we have made to strengthen our local presence positions us as a serious contender to provide technical expertise and guidance for Romania’s water infrastructure.”
Tapping into its global knowledge and local resources, AECOM is working on multimillion-dollar projects funded by the EU in five separate areas of the country. Recently, two contracts have been signed: one with SC Aquabis SA, which provides water infrastructure in Bistrita-Nasaud county, and another with SC Apa-Canal SA Sibiu, a water utility company serving the counties of Sibiu and part of Brasov. Targeting a population of approximately 1.5-million inhabitants, the objective for both projects is to develop and improve the infrastructure necessary for providing clean drinking water and sewage services.
“AECOM will be responsible for providing services that include project management, design and technical assistance during the execution of works, development of a hydraulic modeling system, stakeholder management, and creation of a Geographic Information System asset database,” says AECOM’s Gheorghe Pana, executive director, Romania. “This work is important as it provides people with safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater systems, and assures compliance with EU legislation and standards.”
A third contract in Mures and part of Harghita was also awarded by SC Compania Aquaserv SA to a joint venture led by AECOM. The scope of work includes design, project management, supervision activities and quality control during and after construction of the drinking and wastewater systems.
Additionally, AECOM’s existing water portfolio includes ongoing management and supervision of works for a network and water supply system project in Brasov, and for extension and rehabilitation of water and wastewater systems in Olt, southern Romania. In the east of the country, AECOM has already delivered projects such as management and supervision of works in Braila for an Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) contract, which provides EU funding for environmental projects in pre-accession countries, as well as International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) supervision and technical assistance services for ISPA phase II works contracts in Piatra Neamţ.
“This growing experience in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure has proved to be important not only for building relationships with clients and potential joint venture partners in Romania, but also for developing the expertise to deal with and provide informed advice on often complex procurement regulations,” says Pana. “This is proving invaluable in opening up opportunities in new markets and funding streams, such as the industrial water sector.”Read more
AECOM in Romania
Beyond water infrastructure projects, AECOM’s growing business in Romania spans across various sectors. AECOM’s design, project and cost management services include:
- Large-scale residential projects — Maresal Averescu and Natura Residence complexes in Bucharest;
- Shopping malls — City Mall in Bucharest and Galleria Arad;
- Logistics facilities — Cefin Logistics Park in Arad, Warehouse 10 in Bucharest and Bamesa Factory in Argeş county;
- Offices — Hewlett-Packard and Baneasa Business and Technology Park, both in Bucharest; and
- Advisory assistance for the public sector/hospitals authority — Gomoiu and Colentina Hospitals in Bucharest.
AECOM’s transportation work in Romania
AECOM’s transportation business in Europe has a long history of working with the Romanian National Company of Motorways and National Roads.
AECOM provided supervision of construction works services for this client for DN1C and DN17 roads in 2002, and Lugoj bypass in 2008. Now, AECOM is working on several commissions related to Pan-European Corridor IV — one of Europe’s largest highway projects. In Romania, the corridor will link Nadlac, on the Hungarian border in the northwest of the country, with Costanta, on the Black Sea coast. One of these projects is a joint commission with local engineering company Consitrans for project management and design review/supervision works for the 30-kilometer Deva-Orastie bypass in Hunedoara county.
Recently, AECOM was awarded another three design and construction contracts for the design scope of new highways, including the Lugoj to Deva motorway (lot 1) and Orastie to Sibiu motorway (lots 1 and 2).
According to AECOM’s Carlos Galvez Leon, country manager, Romania: “We are delighted that we have the opportunity to design what I think will be the most important highways in Romania. It is a privilege and, at the same time, a great responsibility. We are confident that our extensive experience in road design and our excellent team of transportation design professionals will produce exceptional results.”
AECOM’s environmental work in Romania
Currently, AECOM is undertaking projects for large oil and gas companies in Romania, including remediation services, waste infrastructure construction and environmental consulting services.
Selected by OMV Petrom, the largest oil and gas producer in Southeastern Europe, AECOM is providing remedial services — bioremediation of Suseni and Dambovnic Lakes in Pitesti — as well as construction services for the Ticleni bioremediation plant, landfill and access road in Gorj county, and the Barasti bioremediation plant in Giurgiu county.
AECOM also completed the construction of Videle biological treatment plant and access roads in Ploieşti for OMV Petrom in September 2011.
Verdict on P3 courthouse: Success!
At a moment when United States infrastructure is in dire need of improvement and replacement, and while public budgets are under severe constraint, public-private partnerships (P3) have proved a promising option for delivering civil infrastructure such as roads. California’s Long Beach Superior Courthouse represents the first significant public building, or social infrastructure, being delivered through P3 in the United States. As such, it provides an alluring model for cities and states across the country.
The private-sector consortium carrying responsibility for the building’s design, delivery and performance over the course of a 35-year contract includes AECOM as architect, Meridiam for financing, Clark for construction, and Johnson Controls for operations and maintenance.
“P3 provides an opportunity for governors and mayors to deliver the assets they need on time and on budget,” says AECOM’s Samara Barend, strategic development director, P3, North America. “P3 relieves the public sector of risk and the hurdle of up-front financing and gives them a road, a building, a water treatment plant or whatever the case may be at higher value for money.”
P3 is being used extensively outside the United States for various infrastructure needs and has been used inside the country for an increasing number of transportation projects. AECOM has been involved in many of these projects in a design and engineering capacity. AECOM’s P3 strategic advisory team exists to facilitate projects from both the public and private sector sides.
As the first piece of social infrastructure delivered in the United States through P3, the Long Beach project introduces the challenges of civic architecture to an arena previously concerned primarily with civil engineering. Issues such as how a building fosters human comfort and productivity and how it inspires people have now entered the P3 process.
Andy Cupples, who leads AECOM’s justice practice, explains, “With a project such as this, we have to consider how the building will be experienced by the thousands of people who will pass through it every day on various sides of the law. It is a difficult experience for many of them, whether they are judge, security personnel, someone accused of a crime, someone who has been the victim of a crime or the family members on either side.”
Cupples goes on to say, “The value of including long-term maintenance in the project agreement is that it not only improves design decision making, but more important, builds preventive maintenance and responsiveness into the contract. Even when governmental owners can obtain initial capital financing, maintenance funds, especially preventive maintenance funds, are always a struggle, and in most instances maintenance does not occur until something actually breaks down.”
AECOM’s design maximizes the site to address not only the needs of the justice system and to create an awe-inspiring, flexible and efficient building, but to provide a public amenity to the community through park-like spaces incorporated into the building grounds.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in the Long Beach project as other cities consider how to address their needs,” says Barend. “P3 allows the public sector to do more with less, and as a company that can pair P3 facilitation with design expertise for both civil and social infrastructure, AECOM is eager to work with any mayor or governor who wants to discern whether P3 is right for their project.”
Q&A with David Glover
David Glover: A leader in resource efficiency
Renowned for his leadership in tackling today’s big challenges in the built environment, David Glover joined AECOM at the end of 2011 as global head of building engineering.
A structural engineer by training, David considers himself a building designer and his experience is in leading high-performing teams that blur the boundaries between design, construction and operation to deliver the next generation of adaptable and retrofitted buildings worldwide. Among his exemplar projects are resource-efficient masterplans across Europe and construction projects that range from innovative tall buildings to the next generation of small-scale residential schemes.
How do you describe your approach to sustainability in buildings?
It might surprise some people to learn that I try to avoid using the word sustainability. Instead, I prefer the precision of the phrase “resource efficient.” That’s what my job is about, ensuring we use the world’s resources as carefully as possible while we also improve the quality of life for as many people as possible. AECOM’s phrase “creating, enhancing and sustaining” resonates well with me. These three words encapsulate how we approach the issues of climate change and work with clients to employ innovative and appropriate solutions. Only by working this way will we deliver the reductions in emissions required to halt and reverse global warming.
What do you see as the main challenges facing the construction industry?
The central challenge is to help make the transition from our industry being a place where concrete is delivered in a wheelbarrow to a place where we are delivering results through smart technology and manufacturing. The aim is to turn the construction site into an assembly line delivering projects in less time while lowering cost, and with improved quality. The good news is that AECOM and its collaborators are uniquely positioned to deliver this goal.
Describe how you would improve the resource efficiency of new buildings?
All built environment professionals, from urban designers to developers, need to think more broadly about how we use resources. For example, we must start by planning cities in a way that reduces the distances traveled between home and work or play and provide the social networks for communities to be self-sustaining. Increasing urban density is a key challenge and an opportunity, particularly while infrastructure costs increase, so the creation of self-sustaining, mixed-use, high-rise buildings becomes very interesting.
Nature provides a rich source of answers for us too. In the natural environment, waste simply doesn’t exist and maximum efficiency is achieved in remarkable cycles of reuse. As planners, designers and engineers, taking our cue from this, the next generation of buildings must be more self-sustaining, relying less on external infrastructure and optimizing the use of resources. The issues are much wider than simply being about energy and carbon.
Whether we are working on high-rise or low-rise structures, we need to reach a point where all buildings are self-sustaining. It is possible to design systems where waste and water can be recycled continuously. This avoids that profligate scenario where resources are simply used once then discarded. The reuse of so-called “black water“ may seem a distasteful idea, but it has long been reality in our cities.
And energy efficiency as part of this mix?
Once again, we need to think and design in a more joined-up way. For example, it is possible to link food production with multi-fuel combined heat and power plants. Growing food can be an efficient carbon-capture process and at the same time, it is a way of providing fresh food locally.
We could use cloud computing to remove servers from our buildings and enable the next generation of data centers to be located adjacent to carbon-free energy plants. I predict that it won’t be long before we see data centers being located in the world’s sun belts and powered by the next generation of solar arrays.
Of course, the other great overlooked opportunity in this whole story is retrofitting existing stock. The vast majority of the buildings around us will be here for generations to come, so it makes sense to devise the best possible ways to improve their efficiency. It may be less glamorous than creating shiny, new buildings, but ultimately the reinvigoration of our building stock is where we will have to make the greatest improvements. We are working hard on that.
So who is getting it right?
While established Western economies continue to debate the issues, it is the emerging economies, including China and India, that are implementing the policies to tackle the challenges we all face. Emerging economies are not just open to all ideas, they are also quick to grasp innovation and are making rapid progress. It is very refreshing.
There is much to learn from this open approach. Multidisciplinary global companies such as AECOM can help in the speedy exchange of ideas. Our capacity to draw together global solutions with local knowledge means that we are able to provide interventions and design solutions that are affordable and deliverable to all. I can see that this will lead away from regional standards towards establishing global standards, which has to be a good thing. Ultimately, we must all agree to operate within environmental limits.
What are your predictions for cities of the future?
High-density urban living is the way forward. The impact of transport and moving goods around the world is a major source of carbon production and that’s what we need to reduce. Low-carbon cities of the future will be based on models such as Hong Kong where car ownership is not commonplace and where high-density living with integrated transport systems enable people to live close to mass transit options and life/work amenities.
It is important to avoid importing the wholesale Western vision of cities and buildings into emerging economies. Until fairly recently, China and India were perceived as being the next big problems, but interestingly, they are leading the way, facing up to the challenges and committing to a low-carbon future. They are already moving toward minimizing the use of personalized transport and increasing high-density living. Meanwhile, we need to find more answers in the West, especially for American cities where lifestyles and car use are interlinked. I’d suggest a dual approach starting with improving the efficiency of personal transportation through cleaner, synthetic fuels and efficient vehicles. At the same time, work can start on the longer term public transportation plans until the conditions are right to make the transition away from cars. Meanwhile, retrofitting the existing built environment, particularly buildings, to improve their performance will be a significant contribution to global resource efficiency.