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All around us change is happening. We can feel these changes taking place in our physical world in climate change and we see the polar icecaps transforming into water. Humans are said to account for just one quarter of the biomass but produce about ninety-nine percent of all of the earth’s pollution (Yeang 22). All around us pollution is filling the air and eating away at the ozone layer. Our natural resources have been overused and are now reaching the brinks of exhaustion. We can no longer live healthy within our current means and maintain this increasing consumption. Some people suggest that these changes are leading to the end of the world or some sort of Armageddon. On the other hand, architects and designers are not viewing these changes as the end of the world but perhaps as a new canvas that will allow for new experimentation of ecological design and practices of sustainability.

I find myself wondering how these changes will effect our built environment and human interaction. In the design world, the changing environment allows for a new sort of design to emerge that addresses issues of the natural world but can also be resilient for future changes. Furthermore, more and more studies are showing that green practices are not going to be enough to reverse problems that have come about such as pollution. Our infrastructure and built environment are in need of new systematic designs that changes the way humans live and interact with the world. Sustainable design solutions are generally to ensure society is able to satisfy its needs without diminishing chances of future generations and minimize environmental impacts (Yeang 28). In order to implement these solutions, however, whole systems such as urban centers need to be rethought in order to maximize solutions. For example, even though there are newer cars being built that are more efficient and use fewer natural resources, they are still only available to certain classes of people who can afford them. By viewing systems on a larger scale and recognizing all of its connective parts that are drivers and outputs of those systems, we can more affectively create solutions. Instead of looking at green cars as a solution, it would be even more profound to re-design a city where people would no longer need cars. I’d like to think these changes in our environment would not only create new challenges for designers and architects, but also call for a new school of thought on how we think about our built environment and how it interacts with humans. More specifically, how architecture can begin to encourage positive human behavior environmentally and socially. These changes can begin to take place at the urban scale, where individuals already have a low carbon footprint but as whole cities often produce mass amounts of pollution and use large amounts of natural resources. By studying urban centers and identifying patterns within systems we can begin to find certain leverage points that allow us to integrate ecological designs and create more resiliency within out cities. Without this wider perception of systems, it will be much more difficult to fix isolated problems because we will miss their larger connections to the environment.

https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/access/content/group/698a0a88-35a9-4c5a-bf35-d9d2e8730687/Readings/Week%202%20Systems/EcoDesign.PDF

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