Monday, October 8, 2007

First, we kill all the architects...

Danny Lyon, of the New York Times, has been asked to help design a city.

Here's what he recommends.


A.L.Meloche said...

Yes, killing all the architects is an amazing and possibly workable plan,(in terms of design only). This is Utopia. Or is it that far out?? What if we reconfigured the School of Engineering, genetically altered it, splicing in some new green genes???

Why not have a more wholistic center, a new green school of Engineering, Architecture and Sustainable Design??? A new concept for a school that is futuristic in intent and aims not to be exclusive but interdisciplinary, progressive and meant to integrate arts and science, human living spaces and land, airshed and watershed use with the environment, to really minimize the human footprint,wherever possible in real ways? A center that promotes a mindset that encourages innovation and design in a fashion that currently does not exist?? A center that will factor into the equation from the beginning what desperately needs to be comtemplated if we are to make it into the next century, intact??? Every time I must protest or oppose some plan of land use, it occurs to me that there must be better visions of sustainability on the political horizon, because as Dr. David Suzuki has at one time or another said "we are speeding towards a brick wall at 100 miles an hour." So on my wish list, where are all the consumer items that are not made somewhere else at a great cost in pollution, and shipped back to us?? Items that are environmentally intelligent? Why are the Japanese making their own energy on their roofs, while we debate another Walmart?? Beyond these items, if they don't currently exist, they need to be available, affordable and local. I keep thinking our hope is in the engineering community. I am looking for a sustainability index to be applied to every action that comes before the City of Windsor for approval. There truly needs to be another hoop that is jumped through before we encourage ONE more development of any KIND. What impact does this project have on us, the planet as a whole? Is it beneficial to more than someone's pocket book. If we cannot begin to factor into the equation the real environmental price, along with the financial one, and have a true "whole planet earth" scale of weights and measures to determine the longterm benefit to short term advantage ratio, and a tally book of, for instance the carbon sink/carbon credit value among others, we are still in an urban 1950's pipedream. Unless we factor in nature, with our human nature, all else is doomed. We could create a livable city out all these compact growth plus respect for airshed/watershed ideas. Why should a city like Windsor allow diesel rigs to roll through without a particle trap?? Why doesn't some engineer invent a better one if somehow Windsor can't enforce this idea?? Other cities have forced this to occur. Arguments get made against them, and we just lie down and take it. What if there was an official body doing real research, a University School of Engineering, Architecture and Sustainable Design, a body to raise the bar and set the standard high for Windsor. Here at ground zero of pollution and urban neglect, maybe we could start to move into the direction that takes back the rights of the common person and the natural world to a clean, free and decent life. And the promise of a future. A balanced future, with a scientific, real yardstick to measure the authentic impact of our careless development as a species. This should be a priority in Windsor, of all places.
And the blame for a lackluster downtown maybe isn't totally on the fact that development moved away from the core as growth occurred. A marriage doesn't fall apart because someone had an affair. Someone has an affair because the heart of the marriage is being neglected. There are very densely populated places that don't lose the heart of their cores.

Josh Biggley said...

A.L.- that is a rather profound and complex vision that you have for Windsor. I love the vision for the engineering school that really contributes to the overall built environment in Windsor/Essex County.

Does anyone know any member of the faculty (University or College) that might be inclined along this path? Perhaps someone who, with some encouragement and support, would be willing to push for a change similar to the one proposed?