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Pecha Kucha Rundown: Denser, Part 3

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Noelle and I had fun at Pecha Kucha in San Francisco at the SPUR Urban Center on June 21.  For those unfamiliar with the Pecha Kucha format, each speaker has 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. The format makes for a fun but focused look at what a wide range of professionals is working on and thinking about. Presentations are loosely organized around a theme. The theme this time was “Denser.”

Using my notes, I am putting together a set of posts that lists the presenters in order, along with links to their website (if I could find them) and any major thoughts I jotted down. For some presentations, I took a number of notes. Other presentations have fewer notes (maybe I was looking at the images more carefully?). All of the presentations were more interesting and beautiful than revealed by my notes and these posts.

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Julie KimHot Studio

essay – “Why We Lie to Kids” – Paul Graham

suburban existence – capsule to capsule

organized chaos – systems for sharing space in dense areas

suburban promise – control enables freedom

2 symbols – house + car

urban reality – loss of control enables freedom

worlds colliding in “meatspace”, the real, physical, non-virtual world

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David Baker – Architect – David Baker + Partners Architects

crowded

hot & dirty

green

looking at density per square mile and the carbon footprint per person

Portland Pearl District full of 300 x 300 blocks

poem – “Lines in Potentis” – Ben Okri

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Gabriel TanOut of Stock Design, Singapore

members of the firm are from different countries, but find a way to work together online

umbrellas in internal gutter to drain

mix of handcrafts and mass production

very focused on flatpack furniture

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Antonio Roman-Alcalá – SF Urban Agriculture Alliance and Alemany Farm

“The Political Economy of Urban Land, and Its Relation to an Urban Agricultural Future”

farming and cities have co-evolved

our population is no longer “mostly farmers” – not directly tied to the land

what society values – highest-earning college majors vs lowest-earning college majors

can’t urban plan our way out of mining and destruction of rainforests

17th & Folsom = “future park” – park for kinds + urban garden

who gets to decide the best use of the land? the owner of the land or the community?

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Part 1 is posted here. Part 2 is posted here.

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local

Pecha Kucha Rundown: Denser, Part 1

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Noelle and I had fun at Pecha Kucha in San Francisco at the SPUR Urban Center on Tuesday.  For those unfamiliar with the Pecha Kucha format, each speaker has 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. The format makes for a fun but focused look at what a wide range of professionals is working on and thinking about. Presentations are loosely organized around a theme. The theme this time was “Denser.”

Using my notes, I am putting together a set of posts that lists the presenters in order, along with links to their website (if I could find them) and any major thoughts I jotted down. For some presentations, I took a number of notes. Other presentations have fewer notes (maybe I was looking at the images more carefully?). All of the presentations were more interesting and beautiful than revealed by my notes and these posts.

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Grady Gillies – Architect – UCLA, Suprastudio

DENSE city

dense buildings

dense population

dense space

dense community

Looked at 8 cities as part of the studio, including:

Cleveland, OH – transforming access and landscape

Flint, MI – advantage of a shrinking city’s migration is SPACE

New Orleans – blighted property presents an opportunity

Tucson, AZ – relentless expansion of the city edge

Merced, CA – looking at potential impact of high-speed rail

Toledo, OH – city’s solar industry as a new urban identity

More information on the studio and work:

http://www.suprastudio.aud.ucla.edu/

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Craig Scott – Architect – IwamotoScott

DENSER

environmental / technological performance

spatial / material geometry

urban / architectural experiences

3 focuses of firm’s practice – buildings, installations, and digital fabrications

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Robin Levitt – Detroit

(Anna’s note – his entire introduction was “Robin Levitt, Detroit” but there is a little info on the ever-helpful Wikipedia)

Talking about the de-densification of a city

Birthplace of the automobile

Detroit was the Silicon Valley of its day

1950s saw Detroit’s population peak just under 2 million

[Image of reduction in building density in the downtown district]

Detroit could geographically fit San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan, but has a much lower population density

Population decline over the years

But actual geographical area of the city was expanding

Ruins now dominate the Detroit landscape

Neighborhoods have been cleared

City looking at a strategy of controlled abandonment

City of Detroit began as farmland, and in many neighborhoods it is returning to farmland

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Parts 2, 3, and maybe 4 coming soon!

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snippets1

Snippets

Are suburban corporate campuses falling out of fashion? NRDC staff blog predicts an increase in smart growth.  Lonely Planet surveyed travelers to find a list of the top 20 walking cities.  Grist readers nominated 10 additional cities that didn’t make the original Lonely Planet list. A study commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations finds that roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted.

MRF (Rhymes With Smurf)

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This post is part of our definitions series on “eco-lingo” and technical terms.

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(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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A MRF is a Materials Recovery Facility, a Materials Recycling Facility, or a Materials Reclamation Facility. These facilities receive household and business waste, construction waste, recyclables, and other discarded materials and separate them.

A “dirty” MRF receives mixed solid waste (everything all jumbled together), or in lingo “a mixed solid waste stream” and separates out the recyclables and other desirable materials.

A “clean” MRF receives just mixed recyclables and separates them.

And I have just learned about “wet” MRFs, which use water to separate items in a dirty MRF by density, cleans them, then dissolves organic material for anaerobic digestion.

The sorting in a MRF is accomplished with some automated processes and also manual sorting of materials into bins.

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What exactly does “sustainability” mean? How about “green”, “eco” or “environmentally friendly”? The truth is that these terms are just vague enough to mean many different things to many different people. With the staggering array of “green” products, ‘lifestyles’ and concepts being promoted by marketers and environmentalists alike (as well as the necessary coining of new terms to match new ideas) our definition series aims to make sense of the rising tide of “eco-lingo” and technical terms.


Peter Calthorpe – Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

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Last week I saw Peter Calthorpe speak about his new book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change.

A highly influential planner, designer and urban thinker, Calthorpe has spent decades advancing holistic approaches to the built environment, most famously as a champion of  New Urbanism.

His latest book lays out the case that urbanism, i.e., creating more dense and livable cities, is the only real defense against climate change. If climate change is hastened by runaway carbon emissions, and carbon emissions are linked to the energy intensity of daily life, then it follows that altering the built environment and transportation patterns are key to its mitigation.

This may not be news to anyone, but Calthorpe’s book is about skillfully unpacking this data for a non-technical audience and showing how sprawl is not just a little more carbon intensive than denser urban development, but more intensive by orders of magnitude. Read it for a study of “the big picture”.

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Location Location Location

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(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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A recent article in the LA Times discusses efforts by green builders to quantify the energy used in reaching the building, not just used in and by the building itself.

From the article:

If you plop a green building in the middle of nowhere, is it still green? … … …

Experts say the ability to quantify the energy spent getting to and from a building could force businesses to reconsider what it means to be green. Transportation emissions account for 29% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and the newly quantifiable data could spur development in urban areas served by public transportation.

Commutes to work matter, said Emma Stewart, senior manager for sustainability at Autodesk Inc., a San Rafael, Calif., maker of 3-D design software applications. Overall, one out of five trips and one out of four miles are traveled in commutes, according to Census Transportation Planning Products. For work, people fly to conferences, hail cabs on lunch breaks and drive to far-flung suburbs.

“This is a new frontier in carbon accounting,” said Stewart, who is part of a separate effort to digitally map buildings and infrastructure like train lines for urban planning purposes. “The practice thus far has really been focused around direct emissions.”

You can read the entire article on the LA Times website, here.

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GreenTRIP Certification

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GreenTRIP is a certification program developed by TRANSFORM, an organization that “works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area.” According to the TRANSFORM website:

GreenTRIP is a powerful new certification program that rewards residential in-fill projects that apply comprehensive strategies to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTRIP certification standards supports projects providing appropriate amounts of parking and offer effective incentives for new residents to drive less and own fewer vehicles. Since these types of developments create less driving and use less land for parking, there’s more space for shops, services, and affordable homes – plus less traffic and pollution.

For more information on the certification and the pilot projects, visit the TRANSFORM website.

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