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Built to Last? Documentary Premier Heralds Role of ‘Resilient-Smart Consumer’ in the Age of Disasters

Film premier event held at London School of Economics in advance of public broadcasting

At the London School of Economics the one-hour independent documentary ‘BUILT TO LAST? – Saving our Homes in the Age of Disasters’ held its European Premier Event. Produced by U.K.-based award-winning Rockhopper Media, it is inspired by the book ‘Resilience: The Ultimate Sustainability – Lessons from Failing to Develop a Stronger and Safer Built Environment’, authored by building industry veteran and 9-11 survivor Aris Papadopoulos. A parallel US Premier Event was held on May 30 at Florida International University in Miami. The documentary was funded by the nonprofit Resilience Action Fund, with support from the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. It was filmed in the Philippines, Britain and the U.S.

Departing from conventional ‘blame-the-weather’ and ‘government-will-solve’ scripts, the documentary centers on the importance of public awareness and education for creating ‘resilient-smart consumers’ to face the emerging ‘Age of Disasters’. This draws parallels from historic consumer shifts in favor of safer cars, green products and organic foods.

BUILT TO LAST? focuses on homes being the most vulnerable segment of communities, while property interests and local officials generally keep homebuyers ‘in the dark’ when it comes to hazard vulnerability.

The film primarily connects to viewers through the experiences and actions of ordinary homeowners, with a sprinkle of experts in-between. Key themes are: a) Take hazards more seriously, b) Don’t wait for government, and c) Learn from practical things people are already doing to protect their families and homes.

Mr. Papadopoulos, who only makes a brief cameo appearance in the film, noted: “Hazard resilience is a consumer choice we all make, even under a fixed budget, if we’re willing to trade off home size and cosmetics. It’s a matter of priorities. Escalating disasters losses indicate we need to rethink historic preferences, even if today’s market offers us limited choices. If informed consumers demand safer homes, builders will supply them.”

The documentary begins airing on the PBS network starting in California on August 8. International distributor agreements are being concluded. Broadcast and other information can be found at www.built2last.org

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