Architects Challenged to Look at the Bigger Picture

The annual conference of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was held this year in Chicago June 26‒28.  Shaunacy Ferro, writer for fastcodesign.com, wrote an article about what was discussed on the second day of the conference during a panel discussion moderated by KCRW producer Frances Anderton. Panelists included Majora Carter, an urban revitalization strategist; Ellen Dunham-Jones, chair of the Congress for New Urbanism; Robin Guenther, principal at Perkins+Will; and Rachel Minnery, a disaster resiliency activist.  Frances Anderton initiated the panel discussion asking: “What do we mean by resilience, and how do we actually explain this notion to the public?”

Shaunacy highlighted in her article what the panelists thought were some of the greatest challenges facing today’s cities and suburbs:

Majora Carter, who founded an organization called Sustainable South Bronx in 2001, had an important message for architects: “It’s not just about the building. It is about the context that building is in… How is this going to fit in the larger picture of how a city lives and breathes and loves and works? Those are the things we need you to be saying.”  

Rachel Minnery’s words were directed to our society and necessary cultural and behavioral shift, “Inherently in the U.S., we have our boxes–We have our property lines, we’re individual property owners. We need to shift that from a culture of ‘I’ to a culture of ‘we.'”

Read More.

Advertisements

“quantified community”: Hudson Yards

This large scale development starting with undeveloped land is estimated to have “65,000 people daily who pass through the Hudson Yards’ office towers, residences, shops, restaurants, hotel, public school, and public open space will contribute to a massive stream of data intended to help answer the big questions about how cities of the future should be managed.”  For example, how to manage the trash, recycling, and composting system or other onsite technologies such as a cogeneration plant. 

According to  Constantine Kontokosta, deputy director at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, the project will also shed light on “the value of mixed-use development for activity levels and health” as well as, “How do people really interact with the mix of uses?”

Read More

 

NYISO & 8 transmission owners deployed new grid sensors and smart grid technologies across the state – FierceSmartGrid

NYISO & transmission owners constructed a new control center and smart grid installations with a $38 million Recovery Act investment that will result in an estimated $200 million in savings throughout New York annually.

The new construction is designed with the intention to  improve the reliability of the power grid and streamline the efficiency of power transmission.  More specifically,Barbara Vergetis Lundin in the article highlights: “installing new transmission capacitors to increase the ability of grid operators to regulate transmission voltages, as well as advanced software and tools that help NYISO engineers conduct extensive and detailed system modeling and analysis”.

Read More. 

Natural Gas Loses to Solar on Costs, A First

“[T]hese proposals offer competitively-priced energy generation; at firm prices; the fewest new environmental impacts; and significant protections against the imposition of project cancellation costs….[I]t bears mentioning that this procurement represents an important turning point in Minnesota’s energy resource planning process. Since 1991, Minnesota has had a statutory preference in favor of renewable energy sources. Yet, that preference is overridden when the nonrenewable source has a lower total cost. Notwithstanding the statutory preference, it seemed that nonrenewable energy sources always won the head-to-head cost comparisons. Not anymore. Geronimo entered this bidding process as the sole renewable technology and beat competing offerors on total life-cycle costs.”– http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4556162

New Jersey Takes Initial Step Toward Modernizing Its Vulnerable Energy Infrastructure

“Last week, Governor Christie …. announced the allocation of $25 million in federal funds to local governments to develop alternative energy projects designed to make New Jersey’s energy infrastructure resilient and reliable in the face of power outages.” By