James Stuckey, former NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Dean, says that as the world’s population increases, so does our use of natural resources. Stuckey says it’s up to world leaders to plan effectively.
In this exclusive one-on-one with James Stuckey, the real estate developer answers questions about the rapid population increases seen globally and how green and sustainable building practices can help preserve what resources are left.
Presentation Solutions: Good evening, James Stuckey. We appreciate your time today.
James Stuckey: I am certainly glad to be here.
Presentation Solutions: Let’s begin, shall we? How fast is the world’s population growing?
James Stuckey: Right now we’re seeing an increase of about 1 billion people every 13 years. By 2025, the earth is expected to have a population that exceeds over 8 billion people; currently, there are about 6 billion people across the globe.
Presentation Solutions: Why is this information of interest to developers like yourself?
James Stuckey: Think about it: these people will need homes, jobs, schools, hospitals, libraries…
Presentation Solutions: Yes, that’s true. But what impact will building all of these new structures have on the environment?
James Stuckey: Unless it is done responsibly, it will have a huge negative impact. That is why there has been such a push lately for green and sustainable development.
Presentation Solutions: Like reusing materials, utilizing natural heating and cooling cycles, and improving indoor air quality, correct?
James Stuckey: Yes, that’s right, but there are also many other components such as increasing energy efficiency and building in a way that works with the land instead of against it.
Presentation Solutions: What impact does an increasing population have on the Earth?
James Stuckey: First, humankind is using our resources at an alarming rate.
Presentation Solutions: But aren’t certain resources like water infinite?
James Stuckey: Most people mistakenly believe so but there actually is a limited amount of freshwater available. Clean water is a very serious problem in many nations around the world. Using green building practices can help slow our consumption rate.
Presentation Solutions: What about naturally replenishing resources like trees?
James Stuckey: Demand for lumber is increasing more quickly than newly planted trees can grow into maturity. Types of trees are a significant factor. For example, bamboo replenishes quickly.
Presentation Solutions: Do the buildings and infrastructure that we create affect wildlife?
James Stuckey: Absolutely.
Presentation Solutions: How so?
James Stuckey: The more land we develop for human use, the less that is available for other species.
Presentation Solutions: Is that really a big issue?
James Stuckey: Yes, it is. Having proper biodiversity – that is, varied plant and animal life – is important to humans because we use these resources in agriculture and even medicine.
Presentation Solutions: What effect does an increasing population have on food supply?
James Stuckey: That is a whole other issue but as far as real estate development goes, there becomes a shortage of agriculture areas when cities overbuild residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Fortunately, there are advances in greenhouse technologies, hydroponics, and urban farming.
Presentation Solutions: Changing topics for a bit here: What can a real estate developer do to help ease issues of public health associated with a growing country?
James Stuckey: If you look at the global picture, we can start by creating developments in undeveloped countries that would offer suitable shelter, and things that westernized society takes for granted like running water. We can also put forth efforts at creating educational facilities.
Presentation Solutions: What steps do you suggest are taken globally to help ensure that the Earth is available for these future generations to enjoy?
James Stuckey: The people responsible for the health and safety of their constituencies need to ensure that our cities are planned appropriately.
Presentation Solutions: Anything else?
James Stuckey: There are many, many things that leaders across the globe can do to help combat the impacts of overpopulation. Again, specific to real estate development, I think that the areas of the world with the best infrastructure and most accommodating overall design will have the best chance at sustaining their growing numbers.
Presentation Solutions: Well, James Stuckey, we appreciate you time and again thank you for chatting with us today.
James Stuckey: It was my pleasure.