2030 Palette

Architecture 2030’s new 2030 Palette might just be the design tool I’ve been dreaming of – a built environment performance simulation tool that works across site, district, neighborhood, city, and regional scales. What isn’t shared yet, is the underlying methodology and data used the calculations.

If Palette is just another fancy case study browsing interface (there are plenty of those already), which is all that the screen shots and interactive tour feature, then I’ll be sorely disappointed as we desperately need a performance tool that transcends scale and integrates buildings into the larger landscape.

Once I have a chance to test it, I’ll post more. Really hoping Ed Mazria and crew have delivered. If they have, I’ll probably use Palette as the core in one or more of my studios next year.

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Resilience on my mind

There are days that I feel like a rubber band – being stretched in so many different directions. Then I snap back. That is resilience.

Climate resilience is such a seductive concept like regeneration that it is one of the primary topics I teach. But not sure if we actually have the political and economic means to pull it off (nor does Andrew Revkin). Check out the video [which refuses to be embeded] of Revkin’s recent appearance at Zócalo Public Square that focused on the topic.

So what am I doing to shift the status quo? Getting stretched in all sorts of ways organizing a symposium for the LA Aqueduct Centennial with folks from UCLA (including Alex Hall and Jon Christensen who are in the video), Woodbury’s Arid Lands Institute, and my mentor Lance Neckar at Pitzer. Target date winter 2014 if we line up the funding. Stay tuned!

A quick shout out to Dan Hill for a fascinating read about the ‘Urban Intelligence Industrial Complex’ aka the ‘Smart City’ movement…

Tree Torture Labs

Two visually striking experiments are attempting to find out how trees will respond to climate change:  Sevilleta LTER, and Aspen FACE at Michigan Technological University. These science experiments invoke several recent landscape architecture projects, but are purely functional.

Sevilleta LTER

But we have to kill the trees to understand how they die. Not a lot of them, just a few.”  “We need to understand the mechanistic side if we’re going to model the effects of climate on a large scale, we need to understand why and where trees die. When we can do that accurately, we’ll have a shot at knowing the broader effects.– Nate McDowell

The experiments at Sevilleta focus on Pinon-Juniper woodlands of New Mexico and are subject to several experiments by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science’s Program for Ecosystem Research).

To observe the impact of higher temperatures, 18 trees are wrapped in 15′ tall plastic cylinders with heaters that keeps the temperature about 7 degrees warmer than ambient conditions to simulate the predicted climate of 2100.

more images at NPR.org

Continue reading

Water-default swap crisis

Worse than the credit-default swap great recession that we are slowly recovering from, America is depleting our future by squandering our water resources. Once our fossil water is all flushed down the drain, it will not be coming back.

Julie Jacobson/AP

The American illusion of water abundance – latimes.com.

Aqueduct Futures Workshop – October 15th

The Owens Valley community is invited to a free public design workshop, 6-9pm on October 15th at the Methodist Center, 205 North Fowler Street, Bishop, California 93514.

This workshop will explore designing resilience and adaptation into the landscape of Owens Valley with California State Polytechic University Pomona Landscape Architecture students. The Landscape Architecture students will be visiting Owens Valley on a field trip as they learn about designing large-scale sustainable infrastructure systems as part of the Cal Poly Pomona’s Aqueduct Futures Project.

Please RSVP to help us plan the event: http://owensvalleyfutures.eventbrite.com/

Eventbrite - Owens Valley Design Workshop

If you wish to participate in the resource fair, please email: blehrman@cpp.edu


Press Release

Moral Judgement on Climate Change

I missed this important sustainability article back in march, which is
comparable to Global Warmings Six Americas Report [pdf], but Grist got 
my eyeballs on it.

Climate change and moral judgement by Ezra M. Markowitz & Azim F. Shariff
Nature Climate Change,  2, pp. 243–247 (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1378
Published online 28 March 2012

[sorry there is a paywall unless your library subscribes to this journal]

Converging evidence from the behavioural and brain sciences suggests that the human moral judgement system is not well equipped to identify climate change — a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon — as an important moral imperative. As climate change fails to generate strong moral intuitions, it does not motivate an urgent need for action in the way that other moral imperatives do. We review six reasons why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgement system and describe six strategies that communicators might use to confront these challenges. Enhancing moral intuitions about climate change may motivate greater support for ameliorative actions and policies.

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

And the solution to overcoming these biases are:

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

via Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist.