May 9, 2008

Prompt 9 – Presentation Reaction

Another presentation I found interesting was the honors presentation on Goal 8: A Global Partnership for Development. I like this goal because it represents the idea that we need to help each other to “evolve? as one society. This group decided to focus on a topic that is always expanding and will be necessary for developing countries to be familiar with. This topic is: advances in the communication industry. In America, we have become so accustomed to immediacy of technology and the internet. I don’t know a single person my age who doesn’t own a cell phone. It’s unheard of here, but in many countries, like Somalia, cell phones are just starting to make an appearance. I found it interesting that Somalia was the last country in Africa to get the internet. I really thought it was intriguing how the group talked about how these countries don’t have to catch up to us, but they will have to “leapfrog? technologies that are older to us. I think this is interesting because we have grown up with these advances in technology and communication, so we have a good idea of where the new ideas are coming from. People in these countries, however, may have never seen a telephone before and now we are just handing them cell phones. I think there is a significant cultural implication here and I’m not saying it’s a negative issue, but it is definitely something to think about. I also like the idea of the $100 computer which I actually learned about last semester in a business class. If I remember correctly, the supply couldn’t keep up with the demand when the computers first came out because they were much more popular than initially anticipated. I think it’s a great program and it will really help to spread knowledge about technology across the globe.

Prompt 8 – Presentation Reaction

One of the presentations that I found interesting was the one from our discussion section about Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. Unlike many of the other groups which covered areas in Africa or other developing countries, this one decided to focus on a well-known corporation; BP. I found it most interesting that the company tries to present an image of environmental well-being, yet it is doing so much damage to the northern wildlife near their oil deposits. In 2000, BP adopted their new “eco-friendly? logo and changed its slogan to “Beyond Petroleum? in an attempt to appear invested in finding alternative fuel sources. It’s funny because in 2006, it was revealed that the company was facing charges for letting 270,000 gallons of oil leak into Alaska. The group mentioned that this type of corporate behavior is known as “greenwashing?. I was very interested in this and I will keep an eye out for this type of practice when considering the position of an “environmentally friendly? corporation. I also liked that the group went up and beyond the requirements of project and really got involved with their cause by making posters, brochures, and even a t-shirt.

April 3, 2008

Prompt 7 - MDG Cover Designs

Here are some ideas for the cover of our research project:
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AFRICA copy.jpg
PICS copy.jpg

March 14, 2008

Prompt 6 - Design Sites

CMKY is a magazine dedicated to design and they want to spread the idea of communication through visual mediums. The magazine includes many articles about designers and it allows up and coming artists to publish their recent work. A large piece of their website focuses on featured works that are in their magazine. Below are a couple that caught my attention:
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Luke Olson - Chasm
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Yevgeniya Mikhailik - The Castle
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Devin Soisson - Vibrating Skies
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Garret Priddy - Missing
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Douglas Wilson and Courtney Dodd - Senior Design Practicum Exihibition

Graphis is also dedicated to design. They publish books anually that include the best designs from that year. Each book focuses on a specific area of design. Some of these areas are: Advertisement, photography, new talent, and posters. Below are a few entries that I found interesting:
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NOTE: The Movable Type site would not allow me to directly upload these images. I will try to fix it as soon as possible.

March 7, 2008

Prompt 5 – Growing up in Minnesota

There are infinite ways in which the built environment shapes who we are. In psychology, the two factors considered in development are heredity and environment. Although the psychology definition of environment includes issues of parenting and social interaction, it also must include the actual physical or built environment that surrounds us. The community, which acts as a FRAMEWORK, deeply affects us based on its location and condition (socio-economic status). For example, my neighborhood in Brooklyn Park is near the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.
CRDAerial.jpg 250px-Coon_Rapids_River_Dam_-_Coon_Rapids,_Minnesota.jpg
Every summer when I was a kid, my friends and I would ride our bikes over to the dam and just explore for the entire day. We knew all of the trails and hidden places to go. We would go down to a secluded area we called Turtle Pond and go catch turtles. One year, one of my friends and I made a raft out of an old dock and some logs and floated down the river for a little while. I developed a really good sense of curiosity and I really enjoy exploring new areas. Especially if they are off the beaten path. I never really thought about it until now, but I realize that these kinds of experiences shape how we view and perceive the world around us. If that dam had not been built, I never would have explored that area and might not have the same need for adventure. Then, I think about all the kids who grew up in the city and I can’t help but wonder how different their experiences must be from my own. This really makes you realize how something as simple as growing up somewhere only fifteen minutes from where you grew up can have such an effect on who you are.
Another factor that more broadly affects everyone in Minnesota is the CLOCKWORK of the seasons. In particular, I would like to address our winter weather.
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The snow and all the other conditions that come along with winter in Minnesota most certainly have an affect on how we experience the world. And although, winter is not apart of the built environment, it is definitely a cause for many man-made PHENOMENA. A few examples of this would include outdoor ice skating rinks and ski/snowboard parks. Because of our winters, I enjoy playing hockey after school with my friends and skiing is a must. If I hadn’t grown up with these winters, I would probably not have much interest in these activities.
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February 27, 2008

Prompt 4 – School’s Out

If released from the architecture program, I would most likely continue to study the history and practice of architecture as it greatly interests me. Most firms probably want you to have some kind of formal training, so getting a job in the field of architecture might prove to be pretty tough. So, I would make some designs of my own and if they are good enough, maybe someone would buy them. However, this would not be my main focus if I left school. If for some reason I decided that a college education was not for me, I would pursue my dream job of being a musician. (My parents would be so proud)
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I play guitar and piano, and I’m pretty sure I can sing. (I practice in my car from time to time) I would convince a couple of my musically inclined friends to drop out of school as well. They would agree because if I am willing to drop an education, why shouldn’t they be. I’m not sure about the band name yet, but I do know that we would be rock band. Something along the lines of Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins. We would use our music to help people experience their world and in that way, we would have an impact on our environment. It is my opinion that music is the strongest form of expression because it is so versatile and can be experienced through more senses than the other arts. Sound is the most obvious sense that music uses. You can listen to music while you drive, while you exercise, or while you’re sitting at your computer (Like I am doing right now). It can be enjoyed almost anywhere and has a profound effect on how we experience many events. If you have ever been to a concert, you would know that music can also been seen and felt.
metallica.jpg sp.jpg
There is something about the energy of a concert that brings the music to a whole new level. Also, there is a certain rush of emotions you feel when you are listening to live music. It has the power to move you and let you experience something completely separate from other forms of art.


February 22, 2008

Prompt 3 – Millennium Development Goals

Goal: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Primary education is the first stage of education after pre-school. In the United States, it is known as elementary school. Primary education is also considered to be compulsory education, which means that it is required by law. Many countries have adopted some form of primary education, but not all countries are providing their citizens with proper schooling.
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In most developed countries, primary education consists of having children achieve basic comprehension of subjects including: reading, math, science, history, and social studies. Although illiteracy has fallen since the 1970s, it is still a major concern regarding primary education. In 2007, the world illiteracy rate was approximately 18%. Although it is small percent in the United States and other developed countries, it is still a problem for countries in the East, Middle East, and Latin regions. In 2006, around 40% of women and nearly 20% of men were illiterate in Arab states.
outdoorclass-india.jpg(Here is an example of a classroom in India. It is nothing near what we are used to here in the United States and is not what we would consider a positive learning environment.)
In India, there is a 35% illiteracy rate and it is expected to take more than 20 years to bring it down to 5%. Some areas are better than others and unfortunately there are some dirty politicians in India who would like to see the illiteracy rates stay where they are. This is a little disheartening considering that the politicians are the ones who are able to help their people.
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This is why it is important to have a goal for achieving primary education that everyone can be apart of. Those who are in power should be able to help those who could not otherwise help themselves. If there was a global effort to achieve this goal, and the rest of the Millennium Development Goals, the results could be greater than we could ever imagine and the world would become a much better place.
nelsonMandella.jpg

Play-list:

Everlast – “What It’s Like?
Staind - “Open Your Eyes?
Foo Fighters – “Times Like These?
Creed – “One?
Collective Soul – “The World I Know?

February 15, 2008

Prompt 2 - Families in Need

One of the greatest threats facing the city of Minneapolis, and many other cities around the world, is the number of families in the community who have no shelter. Especially important are the families with children. According to statistics, nearly 10,000 people are without proper shelter in Minnesota on any given night. Approximately 4,700 of those people are in the Twin Cities area and from that, almost 2,000 are children under 18. (Research from Wilder Research 2006) These numbers are unfortunate and it is not simply a matter of not having shelter for a night. It is important to remember that this how some of these people live for long periods of time. The result is low levels of education, poor job skills, and essentially low income. This is a major social issue that needs to be addressed at least for the sake of the children in these families. People Serving People is a local emergency shelter located on 3rd Street in Minneapolis. (That’s only two minutes from campus)
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Started in 1982, it is one of the largest shelters in Minnesota. It was originally created to house homeless men who had a chemical dependency, but over the years it has transformed into a family center. In 2005, People Serving People housed approximately 3,300 people and according to their records, just about half of those were children. Currently, 70% of the people there are children. On average, People Serving People holds about 250 people per night. On top of providing shelter, food, and water, People Serving People also provides children with educational programs and adults with job training sessions. In 2006, they provided programs to 1,000 children and their graduation rate and placement rate for job training courses is over 80%. It is good to know that someone is doing their part, but it is still not enough. And it will probably never be enough. For example, People Serving People has a maximum capacity of 350 per night. That still leaves about 4, 350 people out in the streets of Minneapolis (assuming there was no other shelter) and if you do the math, it comes out to around 1755 children without shelter per night. Obviously there are other shelters, but there is no way that all of these people are finding proper housing. This is a serious social issue that needs a solid solution and more action from the surrounding community.

Here is the link to People Serving People’s home page:
http://www.peopleservingpeople.org/

February 6, 2008

Prompt 1 – Energy in the City

In any given isolated system, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed. Pulling from this idea of energy conservation and transformation, we can take a look at the city of Minneapolis. As seen below, Minneapolis looked considerably different fifty years ago.

1950.jpg 1950s today.jpg Today

Buildings have been torn down to make way for new and improved buildings. One notable example of this took place between 1957 and 1965 when a large part of the Gateway district was demolished. After the Great Depression and World War II, people and businesses began moving away from the city and the Gateway district became known as a slum. Even large companies like General Mills started moving their corporate headquarters to the suburbs. This sparked the decision to tear down the district and rebuild. The hole, which covered about one-third of Minneapolis at the time, was filled with new buildings including: the Nicollet Mall area (1968), the IDS Center (1974), the Norwest Center (1988 – now the Wells Fargo Center), and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (1982). What we see here is that as the values of society change and our knowledge grows; so must the city. In that way, the city is very much apart of our development as people. Going back to this idea of energy transformation, we can see that even though the buildings in the Gateway district were demolished, they were replaced by new structures and in that way, the energy in the city was merely transformed.

Another example of energy flowing through the city is most obviously displayed by the Mississippi River which literally flows through Minneapolis. This great river was one of the key factors surrounding the founding of Minneapolis in 1819 when Fort Snelling was built. In 1848, St. Anthony Falls provided sawmills with the necessary energy to operate and later, in 1882, the falls at Upton Island would serve as the location for the first hydroelectric power plant in the United States. hydro.jpg Bringing this back to Andy Goldsworthy and this idea of energy transformation, we can see that the river provides a consistent force and by introducing something like Goldsworthy’s log whirlpool or our hydroelectric power plant, the energy from the river is transformed to another form.


January 24, 2008

Notre Dame

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Notre Dame is a well known Gothic cathedral located in Paris, France along the banks of the Seine River. Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French. Plans for the cathedral were made in 1160 and the church originally there had to be demolished. Construction of Notre Dame officially began in 1163 when the cornerstone was laid. The cathedral was not fully complete until 1345. The 63 meter tall building was one of the first in the world to make use of flying buttresses, which help support the tall walls. They provide the same strength as traditional buttresses, but use much less material because of the arcs in their design. The building has been restored over the years and is still used as a Roman Catholic cathedral.