18:26 30 June 2016
Concrete and steel, which are currently being used to build our cities, are responsible for a tenth of carbon emissions worldwide. In order to keep carbon dioxide emission under control while supporting the ever-expanding population, scientists have said that developers may someday consider using artificial bone which is designed to self-heal.
Dr Michelle Oyen, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, said: ‘Just because we can make all of our buildings out of concrete and steel doesn’t mean we should.
‘Engineers tend to throw energy at problems, whereas nature throws information at problems – they fundamentally do things differently.
‘All of our existing building standards have been designed with concrete and steel in mind.
‘Constructing buildings out of entirely new materials would mean completely rethinking the whole industry.
‘If we’re going to make a real change, a major rethink is what has to happen.’
Dr Michael Ramage from the university’s Department of Architecture also advocates the use of natural materials in buildings.
He said: ‘If London is going to survive an increasing population, it needs to densify.
‘One way is taller buildings. We believe people have a greater affinity for taller buildings in natural materials rather than steel and concrete towers.
‘The fundamental premise is that timber and other natural materials are vastly underused and we don’t give them nearly enough credit.
‘Nearly every historic building, from King’s College Chapel to Westminster Hall, has made extensive use of timber.’