May 2, 2008

The 8 Millennium Development Goals address the issues that are in the most need for improvement within our world. They encompass a variety of platforms and will be improved in a variety of ways but all have the target goal date of 2015. When assigned a particular goal, many students probably became so engrossed in their issues and what can/or is being done to improve the current state of the goal that the remaining 7 goals faded from their minds. I know this happened to our group, upon beginning the project we were so enveloped with our particular goal, improve maternal health, that we had difficulties even naming what the other goals were. But, through the presentations of the other 7 goals within our discussion sections, we all came to realization that not one goal is more important than any other goal. They are all significant problems that must be dealt with as soon and by any means possible. It literally is a life or death situation, for our planet, ourselves, our mothers, our children, and our fellow human beings.
On our first day of presentations, my group presented our MDG project- Goal 5 Improve Maternal Health, and ironically, another group presented Goal 4- Reduce Child Mortality. Not only was it interesting for us to see a different side of the same issue( health of mother and child) but it also was probably very enlightening to our fellow classmates. Even before writing this blog, I was critically analyizing and comparing our presentation of Maternal Health to the presentation regarding Reducing Child Mortality. Within this blog, I will summarize what Sara and Burt discussed in their presentation about Child Mortality and than I will review what we went over within our presentation regarding Maternal Health.
For their MDG of Reduce Child Mortality, Sara Bagley and Burt Hamer, critically examed the state of child mortality in Afganistan. They began their presentation by presenting facts regarding the disgruntled past of Afganistan and how it has affected the health care services provided to the people. Because of the Taliban’s long reign within the country, it has an unstable infrastructure which, in turn, has affected every segement of the country, especially the healthcare services. The rule of the Taliban also affected the health of its children in a more indirect way, through their severe lack of women rights. Because of the lack of rights, women were not tolerated to attend school and were only allowed health services by a female doctor. But here is a riddle, how can you receive health services by a women doctor if very few exist because they are not allowed to become educated? The answer, you can’t. Millions of women died because of not receiving health care when they needed it just because they were female, and millions of children were affected by this disgusting sexism. Women are the primary instrument to childrens health. They not only carry them within their womb but they are also the main care givers as they grow. If the women are unable to receive the proper health care when pregnant their child may die or become considerably ill. The possiblity of death and illness because of the lack of health care only increases as the children grow. Over, 9 million children die before their fifth birthday, and 6 million which are preventable deaths. In Afganistant, 250,000 children die each year just because they have no acess to basic health care. But, what are we doing to prevent it? Not our country, not our concern right? WRONG!
Already you can see how maternal mortality relates to child mortality. For nine months of our lives, we live by our mothers and within our mothers. We eat what she eats, we breath the air she breaths, and we can contract the sicknesses she contracts. Within, Chad Olsen and my presentation we discussed how maternal mortality is still an issue within our own backyard. Like deaths of children in Afganistan, the deaths and malhealth of mothers within the United States is entirely preventable. However, in Afganistan the children are dying because of the inability to receive proper health care, in America, the mothers are dying because of our desire for perfection. We discussed how the need to over monitor and over control our pregnancys has caused us to have the second highest maternal mortality rate amongst industrialized countries. But, still we continue to go under the knife for no apparent medical reason; we still attach electrodes to our unborn children’s heads just because we are overly curious. We do not consider that any decision that a mother makes while pregnant directly affects the health and livelyhood of any of her unborn child.
Do you see now how the MDG of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health are interelated? The first health services a child recieves is while still in the womb. The choices the mother makes while pregnant directly affects the health of the child while it grows. If these choices are bad, if a mother is malnurished, etc. the child’s future health is affected to the point that it may eventually result in the child’s death. For every end there is a beginning. In this case the beginning starts with first educating and helping the mothers so they may help their children.

Prego 2.jpg
mother and child.jpg
afgan child.jpg

March 30, 2008

Improve Maternal Health Title Page Exploration

By using Microsoft Word I explored possible layouts for a Improve Maternal Health title page:

Download file
Possilble Option #1

Download file
Possible Option #2

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Possible Option #3

March 12, 2008

Presentation and Documentation Observations

A successful design for a presentation or documentation may take many forms. Certain attributes of the designs can categorize it into two possibly types. The design may be simplistic, straight forward and professional or, quite oppositely, it may be unique, artful and eye-catching. Not always is the line between the two types so simple or black and white. Most designs utilize a combination of the two types, but maybe not always successful. A balance of the two must be achieved to make the best design possible for a presentation or documentation.
To find insight on how winning designs are attained, I sought resource about those who have already achieved success. After examining the suggested sources, I analyzed what worked in each of the layouts and maybe what did not work so well.

Resource #1
What Works:
-matte black background gives ground for images to pop of off
- image is simple
- the magazine title is given highly saturated colors to be visible
What Doesn't Work:
-the magazine title is slightly constrasting with the desigh, which brings interest to the design but also causes visual confusion

What Works:
- Second of the two from this magazine: the changing of the styling of the D is very interesting. The magazine is holistic between its issues because of the constant in the black background color and the use of the D but they change of the style of the D itself the make each issue individual.
What Doesn't Work:
-The different style of the D and the largeness of it is almost at the point of being too much and overdone.

Resource #2:
What Works:
-the layout of the wording at the top is very well done and unique
-the magazine cover is very creative and eye catching.
What Doesn't Work:
-Too much is going on in the cover and overwhelms the eye.
-There is very little conect to who the magazine is and what is on the cover. Readers may not know just by appearance that it is this particular magazine.


What Works:
-The plain background for the images to pop off of
-The design- it is very creative and interesting to view but no overpowering like the last magazine.
What Doesn't Work:
-Still nothing to tie this issue to the magazine brand.

By analyzing the two magazine and their cover designs, I was able to tell what visually worked and what did not work in each of the designs. By doing this, I believe a more sucessful design will be achieved when creating future presentation and documentations.

March 6, 2008

Passing the Test of Time

Architecture is more than the elements it is composed of; it is a living organism. A structure, like humans and other living organisms, modifies and grows over time. Sometimes these changes are positive and the age enhances the beauty of the structure, while other times the changes leave the structure as a degraded shell of what it once was. Because of various examples in the architectural world of both positive and negative changes in a structure; it makes me think more critically how these buildings became to be the way they are now. To become a successful architect it is not only important to look at the successes of the past but also the failures. I did so by researching various “changed? buildings and speculated on how they came to their current state.

Orford Ness:
The building is in severe ill repair and appears to be not currently inhabitated. Why is this? This structure was build for a purpose. Someone took the time and supplied man power to construct it. If at one time it was considered important enough to construct why now is it in the degraded state it currently is? Is it because of its location? Is it was how it was constructed, maybe not built to last? These are all questions to keep in mind when designing a structure.

Taj Mahal.jpg
Taj Mahal:
Years after its construction the Taj Mahal is just as beautiful as the day it was completed. Why has this structure, most likely older than the previous one, been able to surpass the test of time? Is it because of the love embedied in its walls? Or is it because of the attention it recieves?

When designing any structure or building we must first look to the past because it should directly effect how we design. For certain reasons, sometimes unknown, some structures are able to survive the test of time while others are not. It is our duty to discover the reason why this is and apply our learnings within our own architectural designs

February 27, 2008

Look the Past to Discover the Future

At times, everyone must be placed within an ideological box, given a set of rules or laws in which it is their duty to follow. But, other times, the box’s boundaries are meant to be crossed. If no one took the chance to cross those lines and do the unexpected, there would be no exploration of the unknown, no new inventions, universe’s left undiscovered, cures unfound.etc. As an architecture student we ,at times, are placed within a box by our assignments, class hours and multiple other reasons, but when presented with an opportunities to function “outside the box? with no set guidelines to follow, I guarantee all would jump at the opportunity. If I personally was given the chance to be unconfined by the “architecture school? program, I believe I would still employ my design knowledge to impact my environment.
While I was fueling up my car an epiphany struck me about what I would explore, with no guidelines, no rules and no constraints. It seems that everything in our world is run by oil either the companies or what is produced from it. But, what if it wasn’t? Thinking even further I began to think of what if our homes were left uncontrolled by production, oil, and anything else unnatural. I began to get excited because I knew that within myself I possessed the ability and potential knowledge to design a perfectly “green? home; one completely free of anything manmade or made from petroleum. As I thought about it further I concluded it would be best if I were to look to the past to plan this imaginary, or quite possibly real, future idea. A perfect inspiration would be the grass home constructed on the plains of America by pioneers in the 1800s and 1900s. These homes worked with the natural not against it. Not only were they constructed of natural elements (sod, dirty, wood beams etc) they would not produce the large amounts of unrecyclable scrap that now comes from construction. To make the home even more ecological, the sod acts as a natural temperature regulator. In the summer the home stays naturally cool and in the winter it remains warm. This will cut down on heating bills and pollution. The most difficult aspect of the entire project would be discovering how to implement modern elements within the dwelling. However, after exploration on the matter, I truly believe a solution will be found that will not only function superbly but be just as ecologically friendly as the rest of the home.

February 21, 2008

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

Any sustainable or “green? practice can boiled down into three basic concepts: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. As designer we must apply the 3 Rs into any buildings, bridges, structures, etc that we construct. It is also our duty to inform others about the significant need to cut back our overwhelming use and abuse of natural resources. Take the need to recycle for instance, to many, throwing away one plastic bottle may seem harmless, because one cannot have that large of an effect on the whole, right? Wrong, if everyone has this attitude and outlook, all those ones will quickly add up to billions of plastic bottles. In America alone, we send over 38 billion bottles to the landfills each year. These 38 billion bottles consume 1.5 billion barrels of oil to make, which is a horrendous number. Even worse, the manufacturing plants producing the plastic bottles dump massive amounts of polluting gases into our atmosphere. So, next time you think about throwing that one bottle into the trash, think about how that one bottle plus the billions of other one bottles is slowing killing our planet.
Now look at the idea of reducing, obviously we should design buildings in such a way that as little as possible scrap material will result, however we must also consider a more mainstream outlook on reducing waste. In America alone enough trash is generated by the population each year that it equals the weight of the Empire State Building, aka approximately 230 million tons. Many people only think of the trash they throw away until waste management comes to ship it off to an unknown place. To them it is nothing more than a need in everyday life, we make waste, we throw it away, and then it is taken to where it is no longer a hindrance. Well, what happens when the places we take it away to overflows? Will it be a hindrance than, because it is effecting our everyday lives?
Consider further the idea of reuse, the first thought that pops into my head is handy downs; once used, but still in good condition so they can be used again. The idea of reuse can be applied to architecture also. One such example of reuse would be constructing a structure on a “brown? site. A brown site is land that has been previously used by gas stations, chemical waste facilities etc. By reclaiming these sites we not only put apparently unusable land to use but make areas surrounding it safer. These “brown? sites have the possibility of leaking chemicals, gases, etc into the ground which may leak into ground water and eventually harming animal and plant life in the surrounding areas. Before a ‘brown? site may be reused measure to clean and stabilize it must be taken. A process, yes, but in the end very much worth the effort.
The point I am trying to make is that as architects we must keep in mind the ideas of reduce, recycle and reuse but we also must educated others on the need to do so. If we keep up our current lifestyle we may reach a point where we have no Earth to save. It is our generation that must make steps to stop the downward spiral we are currently in; we must become advocates of sustainability. Sustainability must become more than idea, it must become a practice and a way of life. It is our duty as professionals to educate others on the long forgotten idea of giving later generations a planet that is equal to or better than the state we possessed it in. The first step to do so it quite simple; reduce, recycle, reuse.

February 14, 2008

Cat Calls and Car Horns

All are weary, yet unbelievably alert. Eyes dart from side to side not just to watch surrounding car traffic, but also to look for possible pedestrian darting, without warning, across the busy road. Horns honk, unwanted cat calls are made to young women who walk speedily, with their eyes conducting an intense staring contest with the ground near their feet. Welcome to West Broadway one and all; a poster child of disrepair and anxiety.
Social and design issues are not two separate concepts; but intertwined ideas that effect each other significantly. One does not stem from the other but each begin from the same point. To better illustrate this idea, consider West Broadway and the environment it embodies. The design of the area and its social status continual affect one anther. Take for example, the physical state of the area, aka its design. The buildings, at one time well kept, have now fallen into a deep state of disrepair. The structures sport bars on their windows, spray paint splashed across walls; the public routes have trash lying upon its side walks, and cars parked within the driving lanes. How did it come to this? An area that was once new, get to the point where is so worn that it is now viewed with distaste and distrust. Does the social aspects of this area some how have an effect on its designed environment?
The social environment of West Broadway, on the surface, appears to fit into the stereotype of many would believe correct for such an area. A high state of crime is present within the area, and many of the residents appear to only have respect for only themselves. More attention is called to this issue by the extensive police presence in West Broadway. Yes, they are there to monitor the public, and make sure they are abiding by the law; however they may also cause more problems. They may dig and prodder for non existence problem, until they dig up something that originally would have been left undisturbed. What has caused the unrest in these social aspects of Broadway? Does the design environment cause or affect the social side of the area?
The social and designed issues that compose West Broadway are intertwined. One did not cause the other but they happened simultaneously. The unrest and disrepair are twin issues that must be solved as one. The first step is look beyond the skin of the situation into the heart of it. These buildings have a history, and the people have a pride for their home. Once, we accept the area for its faults and attributes we can fix both its social and designed issues to make it the place it was built to be.

February 4, 2008

Comparision of Time to Energy Flow and Transformation Through the City

Time. It guides everything on our planet; plants, animals, seasons, tides, people, etc. When presented with the prompt revolving around the idea of energy flow and transformation through the city I immediately thought of the concept of time. The notion came to me from the exposure to Andy Goldsworthy’s exploration of the environment through his artwork. He spoke of how he and everyone had much to learn about time. This realization hit him because all his work is affected by the environmental time clock. He worked with the tides and the river (water) to complete is artwork. His attunement to nature and her cycles struck me. Nature is not the only entity affected by time the environment keeps, but man and his works are also impacted.
I took the concept of time and applied it to the ideas of energy flow and transformation through the city. It was simple to see the connection between time and transformation but not quite as easy to see the connection of time and energy flow. Over time there is obviously transformation, conclusion easy and simple, however I began to think of how environmental time affected transformation through the city. We as human have an effect on our environment, but as the environment is changing it is also altering our lives. I thought of it in the way of pollution affecting a city over time. As a city grows so does the population and the pollution it outputs. This pollution affects the air, the animal life, plant life, etc. With the air, animal and plant life changing over time we are also affected in turn. Air begins to have a poorer quality, plants die or are not as healthy, animal populations drop; all of which affects the well being and health of humans Even the most selfish person who cares nothing for the environment will care when their health starts to become affected because of the negative transformation of their surroundings.
Not quite so easily was I able to see the connection of time and energy flow. They appeared, at first, to be two completely different ideas. I once again used the environment and analyzed its connecting factor between the two concepts. There is a constant energy flow between humans and their environment; we take resources from the earth, and put resources (most often not good ones) back into it. Over time, energy flowing relationship swing back and forth between the two, like a pendulum; for better or worse. I time of overdrawing the earth resources must come to a close. She has wounds that must be healed and the energy flow must swing back towards her favor. It is through time that the city, ie people, have taken more “energy flow? from the earth/environment, and it is through time we must learn that this taking will only lead to taking that we exhaust our sources.