EFI key partner for Reconstructing the future for people and planet

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EFI’s Director Marc Palahí met the President of the European Commission, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen at the conference “Reconstructing the future for people and planet” held on 9-10 June at the Vatican City.

The conference was attended by a selected group of scientists, architects, policy makers and NGO representatives, and discussed the need for a radical transformation in the ways we organize, construct, and inhabit our buildings and cities. President von der Leyen, in her speech, reflected on the role of the New European Bauhaus “not just in finding inspiring solutions to climate change, but also in helping to improve people's lives in the way we design and build our homes and cities”. She also remarked on the importance of bringing back nature to cities as well as on the benefits of using wood in building construction.

Prof. John Schellnhuber who delivered the opening scientific presentation of the Conference centred his intervention around the importance of forests and timber as the greatest single solution to mitigate climate change and transform our build environment. Prof. Schellnhuber emphasized “we need to reforest our planet and re-timber our cities”. He has recently led a new Charter* to rethink the way we build and live in cities: Toward Re-Entanglement: A Charter for the City and the Earth.

Marc reflected during his conference speech on the transformative potential of forests, forest management and forest-based solutions as basis for reimagining our cities and our economic model. EFI’s new Biocities Facility was also presented in the event as a visionary initiative to implement the new Charter as well as the New European Bauhaus. Marc Palahí said: “We need to rethink our relationship with nature when building cities. It requires a new and holistic approach to reimagine cities as living socio-biological systems - ‘biocities’, inspired and powered by nature, prospering in harmony with nature. EFI’s new Biocities Facility will work across scientific disciplines and actors to connect knowledge to action to transform the way we create and live in cities.”

The EFI Scientific Seminar "Biocities: placing nature and people at the centre of the urban environment" on 6 October in Barcelona was acknowledged by the participants in the concluding session as a great opportunity to continue the discussion started by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.  

More information

*The Charter for the City and the Earth initiated by Bauhaus Earth and authored by 17 scientists, architects, spatial planners, including EFI Director and two EFI member organizations can be found here:

Download the Charter


Photo: Gabriella Clare Marino/PAS