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February 27, 2008

Free to Fly

I would enter suburbia and let that be the canvas for my ideas of change. The environment has always been a big deal to me, I am a big outdoors man and i love everything nature. It scares me to think about what could happen to our earth if we do not change what we do, or as a country change our habits so that we tread more lightly on this Earth.

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I am really interested in residential architecture and how we can implement more good design into suburban America. There has to be ways that the suburbs can be designed better to make the buildings within them more unique. I am sick of driving around where I grew up and seeing cookie cutter houses. I worked construction now for the last three summers and all I have built is different arrangements of the same two floor plan of a house. The construction managers I work with know the wall lengths and where the doors and windows go within those walls by heart. It just shows how boring our suburbs really are that it is possible for that to happen. It allows for faster and cheaper construction which is why companies do it, but the lack of variety is inexcusable. I will not be working for those companies this summer, because I realized why I would be helping make the suburbs more boring, when that is exactly what I want to change. This summer I will be framing for an architecture company up north by my cabin. I will be building designed homes for families that want unique houses in northern Minnesota. One project the main architect in the company is working on at the moment is a house that is built into the trees. The house will use the trees to elevate the home, because in the area that the house will be built it floods in the Spring. I may not get to work on this project because it is still in the early design stages but I am hopeful that I will get to at least talk with the design team and hear what their goals with the design of the structure is.

Even if I was not going to the University of Minnesota I feel I would design with an environmentally conscious mind. I may not have heard of all the different ways you can implement things to design in an eco friendly manner, but I would use what I knew to design in environmentally friendly way. Our environment is unstable and if we do not change how we live our everyday lives there will be terrible consequences to what we are doing. I would design buildings to use ways of heating the water needed for a family on a daily basis by using tubes on the roof to use the sun to warm it up. I’d develop ways to collect the rainwater to use for uses where slightly dirtier water would not matter, such as toilet and sink water.

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The suburbs would be a very good place to start implementing some of these eco friendly design ideas. The people that live there have money. Most of them care about the environment, so if you push the products and systems that save the environment, they would be more likely that other groups of people, and corporations to put these systems into their homes. Especially if you can stress how these systems will actually save them on their utilities in the long run. The upfront cost might be high, but there are ways to convince people it would be worth it, and suburbia is as good of a place as any to start this.

February 19, 2008

Values Rankings

Answers to the Values Rankings

There are many things that man has placed on this earth that affect our environment. Some are distinct objects, but I feel the one that has the biggest impact on our environment is Big Business. Although it is not a specific man-made object, it was created by man and for man, indirectly making it man-made. Big Business has changed our world in many ways. With their strive for achieve higher profits at every turn it is not surprise that our environment gets pushed to the wayside. Big Business will gladly pollute our environment if that means that they same a few dollars. In their strive for higher profits they have pushed many organizations within their corporations overseas like production, support, and in some cases even management. This means that they are buildings and warehouses where there used to me farms, towns, or even forests. In doing so they are having a profound impact on our environment, both my deforestation, and loosing farmland, but also using resources that could be allocated to better uses on their new buildings.

I am motivated to pursue anyone of the goals, but especially: Universal Primary Education, Combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and eradicating extreme poverty and hunger worldwide.

I would like to research this topic in either regions of Africa or Asia.

It needs to be done by policy changes and public awareness. These changes cannot happen without the support of the American public. Design can only go so far in the process of providing equal educational opportunities for all. There are too many aspects of learning that cannot be touched by location and physical space. They need books for the subjects they are learning, paper to write on, pencils and pens in which to write with.

This needs to be a National Awareness across all of America. The support of the American public can provide funds to provide the children what they need to learn such as books, paper, and writing utensils. The amount of money it will take to get these materials disbursed across the world will be very large. As one of the richest countries in the world we should be making a bigger impact on education both worldwide and here in our own countries, which brings me to my final point “The American Education.?

In the USA we do not even provide our own people with equal opportunities to succeed. Some demographics are taught from the time they are born that no matter how many years they go to school, they will never find a better life than that of their parents. This is really too bad because it is the American dream to have a life of happiness and prosperity. To be telling the youth of America they will never achieve anything better is a big problem. I feel that although universal education worldwide is a problem, it is also a problem right here in our own country. We need to reform our education system so that it becomes more universal and also competitive internationally. We are slowly getting passed up by many newly developing countries in quality of secondary education. Something needs to be done both on a National and International scale, the question is how to stimulate that change.

Educational Woes

We must first look at our own educational system before we can reform that of other countries. The American public has turned their eyes away from the educational woes of their own people, so why would they care to help other developing nations? We need to make the public aware and advocates for higher education, then push them towards equal opportunities and primary education worldwide.

-Image-
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-Songs-
Hot for Teacher- Van Halen
Another Brick in the Wall-Part 2 – Pink Floyd
Homework- Otis Rush
Brain Damage- Eminem
Fight for your Right- Beastie Boys
Jeremy- Pearl Jam
School’s Out- Alice Cooper

-Quotes-
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." – Aristotle
“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.? – Aristotle
“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.? – Aristotle
"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think--rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men." – Bill Beattie
"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives." – Clay P. Bedford
"The elementary school must assume as its sublime and most solemn responsibility the task of teaching every child in it to read. Any school that does not accomplish this has failed." – William John Bennett
"If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things." – Saul Bellow

-Explanation-
The songs that i chose made the list because they show the views of Americans towards education. With pop culture telling the youth of America that school is not necessary, it should not come as a surprise that it has rubbed off on the youth of America. Now more than ever it is important for children to take their education more seriously because of global competition for jobs. The children in our country at the time of graduation of High School are already at a disadvantage as compared to some countries worldwide such as India, Japan, and many European countries. The general public has not realized this to be an issue yet, so i don't know how universal primary education could become important to them when they can't even see the educational issues that face our own country. When a German student graduates from their equivalent of high school, they are already as educated as most US college Sophomore's. I agree that all children around the world deserve the same opportunities from the time they are born no matter what country they reside in. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed in life, or fail as well. It should not matter your race, country of origin, or gender. Hopefully the American public wakes up to our own educational woes, so that they can move to the next problem, universal primary education. This informed my image set.

I tried to depict the difference between African and American schools. When finding pictures it did not take long for me to figure out that there are some huge differences. In Africa, they do not have very many materials to use for school, so often times things get used over and over again, which is good for the environment, but not necessarily to learn. In Africa the schools are also much more crowded. They do not have sufficient space for every student, so that puts students at a disadvantage as well. If we as Americans would just look out past our borders we would see these educational problems everywhere, and in some cases within our own country.

For the Quotations that i chose, i put ones that were meaningful to education as a whole, reasons as to why it is important to our everyday lives, and why learning should be an integral part of everyones lives: young or old, rich or poor, black or white. Our education determines how we perceive the outside world, and dictates how our lives will play out.

February 13, 2008

Development Debacle

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The Minneapolis Warehouse district has changed a lot in the last ten years, and the most recent addition to the list will be the new Twins Stadium. This construction and development of that area has displaced many families and individuals. Leaving the homeless and with no extra cash in pocket to find a new place to live. A solution must be found, this cannot continue.

A design issue in Minneapolis I identified is in the neighborhood of the Target Center a few blocks of Nicollet Avenue. In this area, behind the Target Center, developers have demolished the old apartment buildings that used to exist there, and replaced them with new nicer higher income housing. The new condo’s and apartments that stand there are nicer than the previous buildings, and can be leased and sold for a much higher price. Developers bought the land for relatively cheap and made out well after selling the units. The condo's prices are made all the higher by the location in the city. The buildings are integrated into the warehouse district located close to both the Lightrail Transportation system, and Nicollet Avenue. Being Nicollet Avenue is the main shopping district in the city, it attracts a higher clientele than a normal mall would. The higher income individuals that want to have a safe condo that is integrated into the city, and also is in a great location would flock to these units.

This is a problem because the previous residents get forgotten. Their leases in their old buildings just ran out, they were asked to move out and that was that. They did not get any money for the land owner selling the land and building. They just got a notice saying their leases were up and they would need to find new places to live. This is not fair, as designers we should be able to find alternatives to either place those people in the same building or in an alternative location by building low income units specifically so they will not have any problems or issues about the new construction happening in the area. One possibility would be for the developer to dig into their profit margin a little bit, buy land somewhere else and build new houses for the displaced families and individuals. This is not very likely because the goal of most companies is to maximize the profits. Another would be to hire some temporary faculty to find housing for the displaced people. A strategy that we discussed to a similar problem in discussion today brought to my attention that in Europe, mixing of incomes in buildings is a very common practice. It may not work very well because it is not the tradition in our country to have that be the case. As American’s we do not like change and therefore this solution is a far from perfect one. There is no perfect solution to this problem because the developers will always be looking for a way to make a buck, and they will always be forgetting the displaced from their projects. It is our job as the community to take a stand and force the designers and developers to figure out ways to help the people that for whatever reason cannot help themselves.

February 11, 2008

Service Learning #1

Today was a pretty slow day in the computer lab at Common Bond. I only had one person in there the whole time I was there. That was nice because I had a lot of German II homework that I needed to get done for my night class. I did a lot of reviewing for my test that I had and also a lot of filling out work pages. The guy asked me one question when I was in there and I helped him print out an email. Other than that I pretty much just sat around ate a bag of Doritos, worked on German, and logged my hours.

February 6, 2008

The Goldsworthy Flow

How we live our lives in the city is driven by our surroundings. In the city everything seems to happen at a much faster pace than in nature. I think that Goldsworthy's work depicts the difference between nature and the city very well in his river leaf snakes that he made. They show how fluid things change, and how relaxed of a pace things happen. In the city the flow is driven by how the buildings interfere with our pathways and humans. The obstacles of a city make everything more crowded, louder, and make things move at a faster pace. The energy you get from a city is obviously much different from the energy you get from nature. In nature things are more calming and relaxing, in the city it is stressful and fast paced. I feel that when i am in the woods, i am the happiest. I don't have to worry about anything, and i can just let my mind wander. In the middle of a big city there are too many distractions which would not allow me to do that. Too many other sounds, sights, and smells require attention, that my brain cannot filter through those and just allow me to meditate. Goldsworthy's work allows him to forge these connections with nature that really allow him to free himself of the stresses of everyday life. I wish more cities would find ways to incorporate nature into them, and then maybe the energy and flow of the city would be altered.