The Lived World of Place and Urban Design — a talk with David Seamon, editor of the journal Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology, about relational dynamics between humans and their built environment; also featuring Mindy Fullilove, author of Root Shock and Urban Alchemy about the destructive effects of post-war urban renewal projects on African-American communities and about how we can restore joy to “our fragmented cities.
After I give each week's lecture (which will take from one to three classes), I will post my lecture notes. Most of the required reading material is online, except of course the two textbooks, which distance students need to find and read.
It is my hope that most architecture schools can eventually adopt this course as a regular requirement, although that depends upon if there is already a faculty member there who wants to teach it in this manner. An instructor is essential to lead the in-class discussions, to direct the two projects, and to evaluate the student's work. But even without an instructor, I believe that interested students can get something out of this framework by working on their own. The important thing is the synthesi…
Book: Energy and the Wealth of Nations. Understanding the Biophysical Economy. By Charles A.S. Hall and Kent Klitgaard.
Here is the summary on this important necessary change in our view of economics:
For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this “perpetual motion” of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, and as energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption become major issues on the world stage, this exemption appears illusory at best.
Letting a corporation handle all the complexity for us at the grocery store and the electric generating plant doesn't reduce overall complexity in society; it merely shifts it to someone else and makes us more subject to the other person's or organization's agenda and weaknesses. - Kurt Cobb
This paper examines Christopher Alexander's Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Living Structures, and their relationship to the design of communication through website development. The Fifteen Properties are found to describe and provide solutions to a number of common quality problems in websites. In the spirit of design patterns, originated by Alexander, each Property is presented as part of a pattern describing a design problem in the website context, and its resolution through appropriate application of the Property.
Buy the article here.
Our P2P Foundation partner in Argentina, Franco Iacomella, has collaborated to this important documentary which reviews the whole field of alternative education. The YouTube version rapidly gained half a million viewers and is still climbing.
Watch the trailer here (Press cc for English subtitles):
Here’s the summary:
“The Forbidden Education (original title “La Educación Prohibida”) is an independent documentary released on 2012. The film documents diverse alternative education practices and non convencional schools in Latin America and Spain that includes ideas from Popular Education, Montessori, Progressive education, Waldorf, Homeschooling and other references.
It became the first released movie in Spanish to be funded under a crowdfunding methodology. It was also hightlightened by it’s distributed screening proposal that enabled a synchronized release in 130 cities of 13 countries with a total ammount of 18.000 viewers in a single day.
I don't know if I ever will finish Ross Wolf's essay on The Truth of Liberalism, as both the text and its English is quite heavy to read. But if I (or you) someday get through it, I'm sure it's worth the read:
Selv elsker jeg kjernedesign, dvs. at ethvert systems behov imøtekommes så nært selve kjernen som mulig, da dette også er kjernen i permakultur.
When the needs of a system cannot be met from within itself, we pay the price in energy and pollution. - Bill Mollison
Dessverre har jordskipsbevegelsen bommet stygt på det overordnede målet for bærekraftig arkitektur, dette er skjønnhet.
The book is about how to make money as sacred as everything else in the universe. Some people think, well, everything’s sacred, and it should be, but if there’s one thing that isn’t today it’s money, and we experience that in our daily lives just making personal decisions. Like for me at least, my impulse is for generosity or to follow my passion, or to do something right even though it takes much longer. Money seems to block these impulses and to reward the things I really don’t want to do, the things that are really hurting the planet, that might be convenient, or the things that my rational mind calculates will be better for my self-interest. - Charles Eisenstein- An interview with Charles Eisenstein: “Something in your heart knows that this is what life is supposed to be about”
Skrevet av Øyvind Holmstad, 2012-08-21 07:59:18
Personlig har jeg intet ønske om å bo i fremtidens byer, hva jeg ønsker er å bo i fortidens byer, fulle av skjønnhet og interaksjon (Eller "A Pattern Language" & "The Nature of Order").
Men kanskje kan vi igjen en dag se noe som minner om fortidens byer, da jeg håper flere kan få øynene opp for "Village Towns"-bevegelsen:
Our biggest problem in the world, the absence of living structure, the chocked difficulty of finding true freedom, true art, all comes from this: That people do not know – emotionally – how to please themselves, by their inner thought police.
Creating living structure is to be attained, in the end, by the greatest and most subline process which can happen: that each person lives, works, exists, in such a fashion that they truly please themselves.
Then we may say, if we wish, that we are close to God. – Christopher Alexander, The Luminous Ground, page 299
In Bottleneck Catton explains that the late 19th century French sociologist Emile Durkheim believed that the division of labor in society which resulted in heightened interdependence among humans also led inevitably to greater solidarity. Catton counters with the views of American sociologist E. A. Ross who believed that that same interdependence was leading to far more vulnerability among humans to predatory behavior from other humans. Catton leans toward Ross's view for a very important reason: Humans now labor in narrow occupational niches within our highly complex society in the same way that species occupy ecological niches in nature. This specialization leads to competition within each niche for the limited number of positions available.
Catton believes, however, that the competition among individuals in occupational niches in modern industrial society cannot be eliminated. The division of labor which has made the growth in population and the power of modern civilization po…
"The new aerogels are up to 500 times stronger than their silica counterparts," Meador said. "A thick piece actually can support the weight of a car. And they can be produced in a thin form, a film so flexible that a wide variety of commercial and industrial uses are possible."
Flexible aerogels, for instance, could be used in a new genre of super-insulating clothing that keeps people warm in the cold with less bulk than traditional "thermal" garments. Tents and sleeping bags would have the same advantages. Home refrigerator and freezer walls insulated with other forms of the material would shrink in thickness, increasing storage capacity. Meador said that the aerogel is 5-10 times more efficient than existing insulation, with a quarter-inch-thick sheet providing as much insulation as 3 inches of fiberglass. And there could be multiple applications in thin-but-high-efficiency insulation for buildings, pipes, water heater tanks and other devices. - Scienc…
Amen to this article! As I heard it said once, our only true frontiers are into the past. I'm going to keep trying, through my painting, printmaking and sculpture, to work for the honor and joy of humans and the rest of God's creation - like so many of our ancestors did. - Jim Manos
We have millions, too, whose livelihoods, amusements, and comforts are all destructive, who nevertheless wish to live in a healthy environment; they want to run their recreational engines in clean, fresh air. – Wendell Berry: The Agricultural Crisis, a Crisis of Culture, p.15, 16.
Among elites—who have enormous amounts of wealth, power, and privilege at stake—the former tendency has carried the day. And since elites largely shape the rules, regulations, and information flows within society as a whole, this means we’re all caught up in a hyper-competitive and fearful moment as we wait for the penny to drop. Elites can deliberately nurture an “us-versus-them” mentality (via jingoistic patriotism, wedge issues, and racial resentments) to keep ordinary people from cooperating more to further their common interests. Revolution, after all, is in many respects a cooperative undertaking, and in order to forestall it rulers sometimes harness the cooperative spirit of the masses in going to war against a common foreign enemy. - Richard Heinberg
Postmodernism was all about deconstructing oppressive mental structures that we inherited from modernity. Amongst other things the Cartesian subject/object split and the alienating effects of Kantian’s impossibility of knowing true reality; it was a necessary destructive passage, a cleaning out process, but it didn’t, as its names “post”- indicate, construct anything. So in my view, if modernity was about constructing the individual (along subject/object divisions), and postmodernity about deconstructing this, then this new era, which I’ld like to call the era of participation, is about constructing relationality or participation. We are not going back to the premodern wholistic era and feelings, but just as modernity was about rigorously individualising everything, eventually reaching the current dead-end of hyper-individualism, we are now just as rigorously ‘relationising’ everything. If in premodernity we thought, we are parts of a whole that is one and above us, and in modernity …
Permaculture was first a contraction of the words permanent agriculture, later being widened to include all permanent culture. The problem is, however, that culture is seen as opposed to nature, its contradiction. Ross Wolf writes:
The concept usually opposed to “culture” is “nature,” as structuralist anthropology taught us long ago. Permaculture could thus be seen to signify a state of permanent unnature. – Ross Wolf
I guess you are all a little chocked now. Does permaculture really mean a state of permanent unnature? I don’t think this was the intention of our founding father Bill Mollison. Do we have to build a new brand?
That the world sees culture as opposed to nature gives us huge marketing and communication problems. Peoples mind become confused when we claim that permaculture is living in symbiosis with nature, as this in the world’s understanding of the word culture is a self contradiction. People don’t believe in self-contradicting people.
I would again stress that the oppo…
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Dette gir en forklaring på hvorfor stress- og depresjoner er så utbredt i dag, da moderne mennesker blir utsatt for et konstant stress fra sine omgivelser. Arkitekter, utbyggere og byplanleggere har et stort ansvar for sædkvaliteten til kongerikets menn, håper de er seg dette bevisst.
Modernismen forsøker bevisst å stresse våre sanser ved å produsere anti-fraktale overflater, bygg som bryter med gravitasjons- og kompresjonskreftene, fraværet av de 15 transformasjonene for helhet som naturen utfolder seg gjennom, uorganiske gatenettverk etc.
«Unified Architectural Theory’ is not theory at all. It is evidence. It lets us see how until recently we have always designed and built. We’ve built buildings and spaces and towns that reflect the order in our genes, in the biological world we’re part of. We’ve felt at home in them because their order makes space for our body and our soul. Now we rediscover how to bui…