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RSA Replay: Professions and the Value of Virtue

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Streamed live on Feb 4, 2016

Paul Morrell OBE explores a range of challenges facing the built environment professions and the need for adaptability at a time of marked institutional, technological and social evolution.

Many of our institutions, including most of the built environment professions, were constituted in Victorian times, and those founded since then have followed the same principles.

Today’s world is, however, very different with changes in business practice, the impact of information technology, the blurring of lines between the professions and “trade”, and an educated and discriminating public increasingly questioning the trust that can be placed in all institutions - and, too often, with good cause.

Paul Morrell, chair of the Edge Commission on Collaboration for Change in the built environment professions asks whether institutions can find something in their past that can be updated to differentiate them in a way that is relevant and valuable in the future.

We are demanding more and more from our buildings. The built environment will be relied upon to support better health for residents and occupiers, as well as being a key element of transitioning to a low carbon economy. However, there is a performance gap and an aspiration gap – between what buildings promise to deliver, and the health, well-being and environmental footprint evident after they open their doors. There is a systematic failure of the professions to account for this gap.

Paul will argue that the built environment professions need to break the habits of a lifetime and collaborate on reforms in sector structure, education, policy and accountability to improve efficiency as well as the offer to clients and society.

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