Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Hotel Real Estate

The hotel real estate sector has its work cut out to fully decarbonize until 2050 and nature is part of the Solution

Willy  Legrand
By Willy Legrand
Professor of Hospitality Management at the IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany
22 June 2021

Following the Dasgupta report on the Economics of Biodiversity earlier this year and the recent IPBES/IPCC report, it is clear that climate change and biodiversity collapse are two sides of the same coin.

Following the recent World Panel on Sustainability in Hospitality on The solutions nature provides: how can hotels contribute and benefit? (https://www.hospitalitynet.org/panel/125000113.html), we argue that hotels are uniquely positioned to tackle both climate and biodiversity via their facilities. And, under the cloud of large-scale stranding of assets, optimizing hotel buildings is also a matter of transition risk. The twist here is to consider both the added value of nature in urban centers from an environmental and financial point of view as well as the physiological and psychological well-being of inhabitants, staff and guests. The research on the topic is unequivocal: benefits (direct and indirect) outweigh the costs.

The IGNITION Project, which is quoted in the paper, provides some valuable outcomes in terms of Nature-based Solutions in urban setting (See: https://www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Nature-based-solutions-to-the-climate-emergency.pdf).

So what does this mean? Well, it is no longer enough to craft a beautiful building or space that people will enjoy; today’s hospitality concepts should focus on people’s reaction to the natural surroundings, while tackling climate and biodiversity challenges at the same time.

To quote Bill Bensley, Founder of BENSLEY: ‘Just because a project is in the heart of the city does not mean it needs to be devoid of nature - if anything that is all the more reason to weave it in!'

A special thank you to Dimitra Theochari, Architect and Project Manager at MeRa, Landschaftsarchitektur für Mensch und Raum for providing the drawing shown in Figure 1. Three scales of NBS implementation in the built environment: green building materials, systems for the greening of buildings, and green urban sites. The original figure can be found in a paper by Pearlmutter, Theochari et al., available here: https://doi.org/10.2166/bgs.2019.928 .

This is the second paper (within the White Paper Series on Sustainable Hospitality ) based on a cooperation between Prof. Dr. Willy Legrand and Berkeley Capital Group. The first paper is available at: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4104665.html

Willy Legrand
Prof, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management
+49 (0) 2224 9605 209
IU International University of Applied Sciences

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