Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Relational Shift – Part 2:Relational Dynamics between Humans and their Built Environment

Source: PRN.FM

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.

Humans Seems to Need External Energy

Very interesting article by Gail Tverberg on the relationship between humans and external energy. A question to think about: How much does quality of life depend upon external energy input?

Humans seems to need external energy

Can quality of life be measured in energy consumption?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Follow Nikos A. Salingaros' Course on Architectural Theory Online

I'm starting next week to teach an architectural theory course for the Architecture School here. I have planned it so that students can follow much of it online from wherever they are located.

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 synthesis of ideas represented here.

Best wishes,

New book: Energy and the Wealth of Nations – Understanding the Biophysical Economy

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.

In Energy and the Wealth of Nations, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our “petroleum economy.” Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the EROI for finding and exploiting new oil fields, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run our society as we know it. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors’ own, on the role of energy in society.

Keep Complexity in Your Hands

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Christopher Alexander's Fifteen Properties Applied to the Design of Communication

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.

The Forbidden Education: Documentary on Alternatives

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.

The film was released under a Copyleft open content license. Subtitles in English, Portuguese, Italian and other languages are available.

The documentary is divided in 10 thematic episodes. Each of them present a different aspect of education in the school context and outside of it. Topics like history of school system; authority and power in schools; evaluation and segregation of students; social function of educative institutions; role of teachers and families and others are covered by the film’s script.

The movie also includes almost 30 minutes of animation and a fiction history that is glues all the episodes.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Truth of Liberalism (?)

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:

The Truth of Liberalism

Related reading:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jordskip, kjernedesign hvor selveste kjernen mangler

James Alexander Arnfinsen har nylig laget et interessant intervju med Mehdi Nodehi, lederen for Earthship Biotecture Sweden:

- Episode 44: Earthship – å leve i samklang med naturens egne prinsipper

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.

De aller fleste jordskipene er like stygge som dette eksemplaret, +/- 1. Foto: Biodiesel33

Jordskipene i Michael Reynolds ånd er skapt ut fra et mekanistisk verdensbilde, ikke et spirituelt verdensbilde. De femten livsverdiene som naturen benytter seg av når den skaper helhet, når den transformerer materie til animert struktur, er like fraværende som i modernistiske kirkebygg!

I intervjuet forteller Nodehi at de ikke har fokuset på teori. Dette er utrolig synd, fordi de burde absolutt tatt seg tid til å lese Christopher Alexanders bøker. Ikke bare det at flere fundamentale "pattern" er fraværende i jordskip etter jordskip, selve skjønnhetens struktur, dokumentert i The Nature of Order, glimrer med sitt fravær. Som Salingaros ville ha sagt det: "They have boxed themselves into a prison of images".

Nok et mislykket jordskip, et postmodernistisk rølperi hvor de femten livsverdiene er like fraværende som i "moderne" kirkebygg

Et kjerneprinsipp for jordskipsbyggingen er å resirkulere brukte materialer, et godt prinsipp. Det synes allikevel som om de tror at flasker kan erstatte våre nedarvede biofiliske behov for ornamentering, noe de selvsagt ikke kan.

Her er et vellykket eksempel på gjenbruk av glassflasker som dekor. Foto: Inspiration Green

De seks designprinsippene til et jordskip kan jeg imidlertid slutte helhjertet opp om. Men jordskipsbevegelsen må skjerpe seg og begynne å lese Christopher Alexander. Kan vi få til en symbiose av Reynolds og Alexander vil dette være et stort skritt for menneskeheten!


Sacred Money? An Interview With Charles Eisenstein

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”

Beauty is the Manifestation of Secret Natural Laws

Beauty is the manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever. — Goethe
Photo: Derek Ramsey

Fortidens byer

Min kommentar til dagens artikkel hos Hvordan støtte grønne entusiaster?

Fortidens byer
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:

Min venn Tracy Gayton har et flott "Village Town"-prosjekt i startgropa i Main, USA. THE PISCATAQUIS VILLAGE PROJECT:

Her snakker vi om ekte urbanisme med dype røtter i historien!

"Village Towns", i likhet med "Transition Towns", "New Urbanism", "Pocket Neighborhoods", "P2P-Urbanism", "The Not so Big House" etc., har alle sitt utspring i arbeidene til Christopher Alexander, og alle grunnleggerne av disse bevegelsene peker mot Alexander som en av sine største inspirasjonskilder, og da ikke minst mot klassikeren "A Pattern Language", et mesterverk om urban interaksjon. Ignoreringen av denne boka innen akademia er en absolutt tragedie for menneskeheten! Fremdeles kun ei kultbok, selv om den trolig er verdens mest solgte bok om arkitektur, og ligger på salgstoppen hos Amazon år etter år.

Alexander kommer forresten med ei ny bok i høst!

Here is the description of The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle between Two World-Systems, the new book to be published in October by Christopher Alexander:

"The purpose of all architecture, writes Christopher Alexander, is to encourage and support life-giving activity, dreams, and playfulness. But in recent decades, while our buildings are technically better--more sturdy, more waterproof, more energy efficient-- they have also became progressively more sterile, rarely providing the kind of environment in which people are emotionally nourished, genuinely happy, and deeply contented.

Using the example of his building of the Eishin Campus in Japan, Christopher Alexander and his collaborators reveal an ongoing dispute between two fundamentally different ways of shaping our world. One system places emphasis on subtleties, on finesse, on the structure of adaptation that makes each tiny part fit into the larger context. The other system is concerned with efficiency, with money, power and control, stressing the more gross aspects of size, speed, and profit. This second, "business-as-usual" system, Alexander argues, is incapable of creating the kind of environment that is able to genuinely support the emotional, whole-making side of human life. To confront this sterile system, the book presents a new architecture that we--both as a world-wide civilization, and as individual people and cultures--can create, using new processes that allow us to build places of human energy and beauty. The book outlines nine ways of working, each one fully dedicated to wholeness, and able to support day-to-day activities that will make planning, design and construction possible in an entirely new way, and in more humane ways."

Monday, August 20, 2012

America is Not a Democracy - Noam Chomsky

The World's Biggest Problem

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
Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway, from northeast. Photography from 1857.

The Bridge to Heaven and a Bridge to Hell

This must be the bridge to Heaven! There are so many bridges going to Hell these days, as we have become afraid of Heaven. Thank you Reza Haji-pour for making this shot! (Si-o-se Pol, also called the Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge, in Isfahan, Iran. It is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design).     

This is a bridge of my town Gjøvik, surely one of too many bridges of Hell these days, a bridge made up of pure ugliness. The bridge literally brings you to Hell, as the side where you can glimpse a McDonald is filled up with ugliness, like a gas station and horrible industrial structures. The bridge is the last one crossing Hunnselva River before it enters Lake Mjøsa. Very disrespectful, as this river made the establishing of the town possible, with industries along its banks.

Is solidarity a thing of the past?

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 possible will also be its undoing. He believes the division of labor will continue to increase alienation and predation among and between humans. And, that will make it difficult to gain consensus to act decisively in the face of the urgent challenges of climate change, resource depletion, pollution, soil degradation and the myriad problems which threaten humankind. - Kurt Cobb
Read the whole article here.

Sorry, this was the best picture I could find to illustrate the text. But do our society models empower humans anti-solidarity instincts only?

New Space-Age Insulating Material for Homes, Clothing and Other Everyday Uses

"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. - Science Daily
Read the whole article here.

Courbusier Nouveau

Nathan Lewis is always worth the read. Full Article here.

I nye hus bor du i realiteten i en plastpose

I nye hus bor du i realiteten i en plastpose. Om 20 år er dette kanskje like forbudt som eternittplater er i dag. Fredrik Jensen

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mitt bilde av brunskogsnegler i Rana Blad

Alltid artig når et bilde man har lagt ut på Wikimedia blir benyttet, denne gang i Rana Blad. Interessant artikkel også, du kan lese den her.

Sensommer-blomster i motlys

Syklet gjennom Gjøvik Gård i dag, og syntes disse blomstene var så vakre i motlyset. Men jeg aner ikke hva slags blomster det er. Noen som kan hjelpe meg? Full oppløsning her.

Our Only True Frontiers are Into the Past

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 
Before the order of nature was broken, while people still were living in a spiritual universe, not in today's dead mechanical universe, where the tyranny of artistic modernism threatens to suffocate us all. Winter Landscape: Joos de Momper the Younger (1564–1635)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Want to Run Their Recreational Engines in Clean, Fresh Air

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.
Motor boats on Lake Mjøsa

The Elites Fear of Cooperation

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
Photo: Martin Ehrenhauser

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two Beautiful and One Ugly Bridge

The image is a beautiful shot of Godavari Bridge on the left and Godavari Arch Bridge on the right. The bridge is a decommissioned bridge that spans the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo: Ramesh Ramaiah

An ugly bridge crossing Göta River in Sweden

Toby Hemenway - How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but Not Civilization

Michel Bauwens on the Great Cosmic Mash-Up

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 we thought we are separate and unified individuals, a world onto ourselves, and in postmodernity saw ourselves fragmenting, and pretty much lamented this, then this is the mash-up era. We now know that all this fragments can be reconstructed with the zillions of fragment of the others, into zillions of commonalities, into temporary wholes that are so many new creative projects, but all united in a ever-moving Commons that is open to all of us..

So the fragmentation of postmodernity is a given for us now, but we are no longer lamenting, we are discovering the technologies (infrastructural, collaborative-software-ish, political, but above all the mental and epistemological) that allow us to use this fragmentation to create the Great Cosmic Mash-Up. That is the historical task of the emerging Peer to Peer Era. Michel Bauwens

Bill McKibben's Thought Bubble: The Fight of Our Time

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cisterciensermunker som forløpere til protestantisk arbeidsmoral

Interessant artikkel i dagens Munkeorden bak vestlig velstand?

Den store forskjellen ligger i at Cisterciensermunkene (engelske Wikimedia) brukte "fritiden" til å be, mens vi benytter den til å konsumere!

Maleri av Jörg Breu the Elder (ca. 1475–1537) 

Videre skapte de stor skjønnhet, mens vår sivilisasjon ikke er i stand til annet enn å produsere ekstrem heslighet!

Tintern Abbey i Wales. Maleri av J. M. W. Turner (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Moderne arkitektur ødelegger menns sædkvalitet og gir oss stressede og deprimerte barn

Les artikkelen hos her.

Min kommentar:

9682010  for 17 minutter siden

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 build a world that does not alienate us from who we are, a world that gives us joy, a world that brings us home.» – Dr. Ir. Jaap Dawson, Technical University Delft
Nettopp derfor føler man seg så forfrisket på steder som Gamla Stan i Stockholm:
Disse omgivelsene gir friske barn!

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