EXPERIENCES

The continuum of existence in which our designs find themselves. In the day, architecture instruction would implore us to consider “context” in our designs. They meant the neighboring buildings. Today I have come to expand the notion of context to mean experiences: the neighboring moments in time, though and intention.

Why Rural Tanzania?

July 16, 2012
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Three years ago I made a commitment to return to a dedicated ecological concern professionally. To that moment, my practice in other firms and within Landwave had adopted renovation and efficiency in practice through better IT as erstwhile ecological contributions. While tech driven practice efficiency does not have direct ecological impact, it is a good discipline and kept me thinking about practical applications of lofty tools. On the other hand, renovation has a significant ecological benefit in utilizing previously built structures. No forest turned parking lot. No need to excavate and dispose of soils. A fraction of the materials required-and therefore a fraction of the energy to extract, fabricate, ship and install. The list goes on and on. And while construction of any sort has an impact, renovation takes advantage of sunk energy and resources.

Though perfectly reasonable and necessary, I never felt as though these were a sufficient fit for my skills and interests. If our colleagues are half right, the issues facing us are urgent. What’s more there is a need to capture the collective imagination to reinvent our approach to material life on a massive scale. Efficiency and renovation are hardly inspirational. We need better motivations. I need better motivations.

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Valuing Ideas vs Content vs Experiences

May 27, 2012
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Jonah Lehrer points out that early copyright law created the notion that ideas are valuable. The claim of the legal world is that ideas are valuable enough to provide legal protection. But this is a tricky point. I’d like to know if the economic data bears that out.

Someone help me attribute this story.  An author is challenged that his material is not unique.  “I could have written that.” goes the challenge.  The author responds, “Perhaps you could have written this, sir. But you didn’t. I did.” In this case, our author makes an interesting point: he delivered.  His response accepts that the idea was not inherently unique. Perhaps many people had the same thought, the same idea. But it was our author who wrote, packaged and delivered the idea in a manner that others valued.  Valued enough to pay for it.

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STEAM: Between Silence & Light

November 3, 2011
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I spend a lot of time heads down in the daily work of making a living an, raising my kids and enjoying my life.  I spend a bunch of other time in the heady world of ideas.  That world takes me home, to our little island planet in the far arm of a tiny galaxy.  And what I see happening to our planet, because of us, scares me enough to hunger for action.  But the daily grind frustrates my efforts to focus my productivity.  I end up adrift.  There is a middle ground – STEAM education and industry.  Within these realms are the projects of a lifetime: creating a feedback and decision infrastructure for planetary sustainability.

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"Cities In Challenging Times"

September 30, 2009
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I just heard the On Point Radio show on how some cities are dealing with the recession. Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker and Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty both discussed their administrations approaches to problems unique to deep recessions such as this. Additionally both cities face what might be seen as “common” urban problems: crime and education gaps.

What was remarkable about the narratives that both men brought out were their refusal to let the circumstances of the day – be it economic downturns, thinly veiled corruption or entrenched bureaucracies – obstruct the outcomes of creating wonderful places to live. While I will not make this blog political by saying I do or don’t agree with their politics, I will say this: both men deserve a lot of credit for envisioning a better future and energizing members of their communities to constructively engage in the creation of great places to live.

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