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sustainable urban development vs sustainble architecture

I just attended a seminar a week ago and there are a couple of queries still 'annoying' me,
 
1. why is that when we are talking about all the solutions to a green architecture or sustainable planning, what is it thiat is lacking and therefore results in this neverending discussion ? and why is it when some of us seems so knowledgable and experienced in environmental / green design, why is it still so difficult to 'make it all happen'?
 
2. does sustainable /green architecture / houses = sustainable cities / sustainable developments? why and why not? eg all the houses in a suburb achieve a 5 star or even a 6 star, does that mean that neigborhood is 'sustainable' ? if not, why?
 
3. what is lacking in the urban policy? there are clauses and res code describing orientation, bulk and form, streetscape and etc etc, what about transport? and community? is it possible to include the concept of 'urban density' into streetscape? To what level of urban density is appropriate? who decides?
 
4. in a modern democratic society, when looking at 'public consultation ' vs 'policy making' , which one is more powerful? I only assume policy making being the definite / most powerful tool known so far to 'maintain' or 'design' a sustainable environment / urban growth.

Comments

  • edited 3:24PM
     
    I can't agree much more than the 'at ease' theory, however, when I came across this quote by Eliel Saarinen, a Finnish Architect,
     “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”
    sort of provide me some clues in how to achieve / get close to sustainable design... i shall keep it in mind
     
  • edited 3:24PM
    Good questions Edith.
    I would like to refer to your first point. There is a lot of discussion in architectural education about the role of imparting training versus knowledge--two very different things. Training is what characterises architectural education and while we may think we know, most of this information is not of the type that assists us to connect the parts (technical knowledge). What this means is that we are much more at ease discussing solar panels than the process of housing affordability within our environmental and financial means. Or, to follow on this month’s great editorial by Sidh, we are much more at ease speculating on the future (without any real context), than in trying to address today’s processes (social, political, urban) which are impacting and will impact on the ecology and cities. These types of speculations don’t carry any responsibility—the luxury of the ‘artist’.
    This is inculcated by our universities which by large form an architect-artist--who can indulge in speculations and ‘play’. Just think about the number of design studios in our faculties dedicated to ‘adapting’ for the future. Design studios in which ‘real’ data is seldom used, in which changing social patterns are not considered (whether we could access this information or not), and in which future technologies are also based on gross speculations.
    Beatriz
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