Credit: Vatican News

“Sustainability is linked to the beauty of places and the quality of relationships,” Pope Francis said in an address he gave Thursday, January 20, to delegates of the National Association of Italian Builders.

Taking Laudato Si’ as a reference, in addition to the Gospel, he mentioned that “Never before have we heard so much about sustainability: it calls into question the regenerative power of every ecosystem.”

In his speech, the Pontiff proposed to make a Christian reading of the values of competence and transparency, responsibility and sustainability, ethics, legality and security.

Francis denounced the excess of victims at work and invited entrepreneurs to use competition as an incentive to do better, not as a desire for domination and exclusion.

“In the construction sector, the use of materials that provide security to people is fundamental. At the same time, we must avoid exploiting the environment by cooperating in making certain particularly exploited territories unviable. Every company can make a responsible contribution to making work sustainable,” he explained.

Taking up a reflection from the encyclical Laudato Si’ on the relationship between urban spaces and human behavior, he mentioned, “hose who design buildings, neighbourhoods, public spaces and cities ought to draw on the various disciplines which help us to understand people’s thought processes, symbolic language and ways of acting.”

Beyond the designs themselves, the Pope stressed the importance of “the service we offer to another kind of beauty: people’s quality of life, their adaptation to the environment, encounter and mutual assistance.” 

That is why, he said, “here too, we see how important it is that urban planning always take into consideration the views of those who will live in these areas” (LS 150) and that their “work help communities to strengthen bonds of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual assistance”.