As I argue in my book The Icon Project, today, the culture-ideology of consumerism seems to rule supreme all over the world with disastrous ecological consequences.
Many architects are active in the green, sustainable building arena, but here the Jevons effect kicks in. As each skyscraper becomes ‘greener and more sustainable’, the more they build, so while unit carbon footprint declines, aggregate carbon footprint increases all the time. 21st century Shanghai is an excellent example of that and in Paris, up until now a city not dominated by skyscrapers, more high towers are planned to attract the City of London financiers to come to Paris when Brexit happens.
However, as I say at the end of my book, architects and urban designers will surely work to enhance our built environment on the way to a better, more sustainable future: "All types of architecture, including reimagined iconic buildings, would find a place in the new global society." An encouraging sign is that there seems to be a growing awareness in and around architecture that we are now in the Age of the Anthropocene (human behavior acting as a decisive force on the Earth system) and working out the consequences of this for architecture and building in general.
For more on this, read Leslie Sklair’s interview on World-Architects at www.world-architects.com