May 6, 2008

last and final blog- [evaluation of two presentations]

[notes, followed by reaction]
4/30 (In discussion)

Goal 1-
Haiti [Feed my starving Hiatians]

What exactly is poverty?

33% people die due to poverty causes
War, Poor Government, Crime, Overpopulation, Lack of Birth Control, Healthcare

One of the poorest countries (146 of 177)
Proportion below $1 a day
Poverty Gap Ratio
Better Employment Ratio

Environmental destruction
60% trees 1925 5% now

Mud Cookies

Feed my starving children (realm of response)- Christian organization (don’t have to be Christian to participate or receive food- just Christian values)
Brooklyn Park, MN
Ships meals to more than 50 countries throughout the world
Chicken flavored rice package

--- I really enjoyed this presentation. I think it is really neat that the group was able to research a local organization fighting for a non-local cause. After the presentation there was some questions on the benefit of such food dispersal, accusing the organization of not attacking the main cause or issue. The group quickly rebutted by explaining the benefit of this type of relief on the organizations that are actually focusing on a more political/procedural approach to the hunger goal. I feel that this group was well researched and very much aware of the issues and solutions to hunger in Haiti.
5/1 (Honors presentation in Lecture)

Goal 8- Brock and Kelly Burglund
Somalia [Development of communication technologies in Somalia]

Mobile communications
Wireless Internet

Mobile phones popular
Farmers can connect market to market to check prices- automatic text messages
Check stock and availability
Shorter travel time- due to communication

Cute little green computers
Energy fuels development
Sustainable solutions for developing nations
-Solar panels

Important to expand technology

--- This group gave many indicators and examples, however I feel like they did not research cause and effect of such expanding technology. How would Somalia benefit from such technology? Economically, job market, education, political power? Maybe it is just the difference in group sizes between the presentations but I kind of feel like the information presented to us here was common knowledge.

April 29, 2008

Volunteering 4/21: The youth of 2K

Well another day in the land of punishment. I did the same boring programing stuff i have been doing all along.

To paint a picture for you;
I sit on a cheep folding chair, in a room with no outside windows, pushing buttons on a board attached by a cable to a screen that flashes less than thirty times a second. Can it get anymore unnatural?

I hate this stuff. How in the heck are kids gona get through it? I would be so mad if my parents put me in this/any after school program. These kids are young, 10-14, they should be outside playing, instead this industrial society has them moving around inside renovated churches, reading old books under dim lighting and spending precious minutes of free time pushing buttons on a board attached by a cable to a screen.

It is exactly these types of situations that make me dream about the past.

Alas, only one more volunteer session to serve... and one lifetime thousands of years past due...

April 10, 2008

Volunteering 4/7

Monday volunteering In the lab I worked on evaluating programing code directions for creating geometric designs in Terrapin Logo. I organized the info. by making a spreadsheet to make it easier when categorizing the activities. I listed the page number, the name, the average time it would take to complete the tasks, things you would need, and some general notes on the educational gain. I only got through about ten activities because they got increasingly tricky to think through. Terrapin Logo is based on math (geometry) so i had to think through angles and circumferences etc. I got frustrated on a few problems and noted it. When kids come into the lab with their tutor they get their note card (password) from me. Usually they dont need any assistance from me on the computer, but i suspect when they get introduced to Terrapin Logo they are going to be needing a lot of help. :)

View image

April 1, 2008

Three Title Pages (Blog 7?)

Three Title Pages.jpg

March 11, 2008

Ozayrs Crazy.. Look his arms are so hairy!

Will someone please explain to me the reason for these blogs? I have spent hours on blogs 1-5, just to get one of my blogs posted on the big screen in front of everyone else. I don’t know what Saloojee is up to making us all compete like this. Here I am up way past my school-night bedtime, just hours before a huge mid-term in Arch-history, writing my thoughts on a stupid imaginary ‘Internet page’. I come to class everyday on a bus, and walk by poor stuffed animals on the way in an old creepy opera-style lecture hall. The lights are dim and impractically romantic. The prominent T.A.’s sit amongst each other near the professors perfectly positioned podium. A fine-looking T.A. greets the class with a pleasant Mr. Roger performance. The girls giggle with glee. Professor Ozayr, if not already present, walks in bearing books and a curious colored Macbook. The adorable, yet, futuristically-scary picture of Ozayr’s daughter greets the class again on the big screen. About this time “annoying dude? walks in late and sits directly in font of my view of Ozayr, contributing to my discomfort with the space around me. My senses are dulled by the annoying obstacle, and my inspiration from Bruno Zevi rises. Sometimes if were lucky we are graced with momentary brain shutdowns while Ozayr reloads the batteries on his mic. or the light on the overhead seizes to shine. We absorb the words and sounds we here. We deal with distractions: T.A. suspenders, crazy Halloween pumpkins and Dicaprio sprints down TWA terminals. We are told to memorize, idealize, speculate, and articulate, while showing creativity and brilliance. We are asked to reflect our thoughts as people living in an environment. We documented and investigated, through text and image - the idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city. We’ve found social-design issues, documented them, and become advocates for them. We’ve proposed sets of images, quotes and play lists of songs that influence our values. We’ve described real and imaginary places where we weren’t held down by the restraints of the architecture program.

I ask then… “Why now request us to research project layout designs?? Is it a an approach to keep these posts purely hypothetical.? Is there any reasoning behind Ozayr’s madness?

The next day…

After my exhausting mid-term, I have spent many wondering minutes of thought thinking about this blog. I must say Professor Saloojee, you are not as hairy as one would come to suspect. Your methods are as smooth as a baby’s bottom, as clear as H2O, as sure as me at the bar this Friday night. I have come to ask myself only one question based on the content of this class; “Is design political?? In Jennie Winhall’s essay titled Is Design Political? She makes distinct relations between politics and design. She states; “Design is political because it has consequences, and sometimes serious ones. The power of designers is that we can design things to have different consequences? (Winhall, Is Design Political, p. 2).

Can we relate our class project to this? [Is it possible to better select our future consequence based on something as simple as the design layout?]
Never before have I related design with psychological purposes so much.

March 10, 2008

Second Day Volunteering

Today was my second day volunteering at Loring Bethlehem Community Center in Minneapolis. My roll as computer lab coordinator fits well with my job experience in computers. Today i spent my whole two hours browsing lists of kid-friendly websites in an attempt to create a complete list of sites available to the children while in the lab. I browsed many websites including some on personal health. Although most of the sites were .org sites, many of the health related sites also offered information for a wide range of ages. I found that many of the sites that had information for teens and young adults as well as kids were inappropriate for kids under the age of 13. Those sites had information on STD's, safe sex, drugs, tattoos and much other mature content not appropriate for younger kids.

March 4, 2008

The Things We Phénomène (Blog 5)

[The Things We Phenomenon]

Why do personal values of things very so much throughout the world?

People who are exposed to fame and riches through the media eventually want what they see. Even if they are not directly around advertisements or see actors and pop-stars, the influences of other people (friends, admirers, even family), can shape our opinions towards things. In a country such as America, where material value holds much more importance than other countries, we must learn to omit our passions for the biggest and best, and settle for just enough. Right now the major framework of America, seen by others, is not in our political system or our patronage, but our values and beliefs. We must realize that we are in an endless clockwork of valuing the wrong things. When others see life and survival, we see social class and disadvantage. Others value family and homage, while we value our laptops and cars. Others are humble with money, while we brag of our paychecks. Does the word VALUE even have the same meaning to us anymore?

How can we break this lifeless clockwork of American desire?

Shouldn't the phenomenon of life be enough?

Phenomenon- Complex systems comprised of little things. They have a purpose or destination of some type. (Ozayr Saloojee)

Big Bang

Everyday we make decisions.- What socks to wear, What shirt to where, What to have for breakfast, To brush our teeth, To pay bills, To shop.. To go to work.. To go to school..

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone were able to choose?

Everyday throughout the world kids choose to skip school, while some kid may not even know what school means.

This has to change.

The challenges for primary educational development in Africa are reflected, in terms of both causes and effects-

Almost 50per cent of countries may not attain the goal of universal primary education by 2015; nearly 40 million children are not going to school.

Illiteracy among individuals over the age of 15 stands at 41 per cent; gender disparity in education prevails in 75 per cent of countries.

[This comprehensive study of education in Africa examines the state of education in 49 countries and covers the 1998-1999 academic year, providing a snapshot of all levels of education from pre-primary to tertiary. It is published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).]


This website (above) has some information on goals and projections of the Millennium Goal already listed on it, but it shows little information on what they have planned to do about it. I propose a mass brainstorm to help generate ideas for primary education, especially in Africa. If anyone has any ideas of policy that could help lead Africa in the right direction, pleas, feel free to RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE.

February 25, 2008

My Second Life (Blog 4)

I like to imagine a me… free…
I have no boundaries, no limits, and no destination.
I am alive, unbound, uncontrolled, and wild.
I am the creator of my dreams…

This is my brain on creation...

Without organization through the architectural discipline- designers LIvE outside reality.
With. . . organization through the architectural discipline- designers think outside reality.

If my goal in school was something other than to be an architect, it would probably be to hold some type of scientific degree; which was my first intended major, in fear of loosing my passion for architecture. [‘No school’ is not in my vocabulary.] While in the pursuit of a science degree, I would probably continue with my long hobby of free-sketch architecture; it helps me to get my mind off of actual life. This is my imaginary place of freedom. Here, I can be the architect and the client. Between the lines of squares I see light and shadow. The paper becomes a code that only I can see. I have imagined effects on architecture from the suns position and its outcome on light, to rocky landscapes and potential downpours. I’m not sure how to properly draw open-ceilings, half walls, or countertops. I don’t know the rules for barring walls, plumbing or electrics. I am not an engineer or a classical physicist. My drawings are purely imaginary.

I am learning of ideas before I learn these ideas in school. Just a few weeks ago for example professor Sercowski of the University of Minnesota spoke of Palladio at a lecture in downtown Minneapolis. He explained how architecture was considered with rainwater runoff and was gathered together in a central courtyard. Just weeks prior to this intriguing Venetian lecture I too was experimenting with these same ideas. I was amazed on how similar my ideas were on a topic I had no prior knowledge of.

You could take the ‘architecture school’ program from me, but never my imagination.

Yours truly,

Servant of Imagination

February 21, 2008

Education is Amazing Grace

To many of our youth suffer..
To many of our youth are forsed to work..
To many of our youth take school for granted..

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.?
Matthew 10:16

"Fathers send their sons to college either because they went to college or because they didn't."
L. L. Henderson

"The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."
Diogenes Laertius

"Only the educated are free."
Epictetus (55 AD - 135 AD), Discourses

February 12, 2008

New Urbanism: The Perfect City: effective mixed-use architecture

The lives we live, in this future-orientated America, are fast-pased and precisely accurate. We live by our clocks. We calculate commute times. Add in minutes for the occasional traffic jam, weather slowdown, or cup of joe. We determine our exact amount of sleep. We are constantly looking to improve. Looking to better accommodate ourselves and others. And with this a new architecture is born.

Definition: New Urbanism is an approach to designing cities, towns, and neighborhoods. New Urbanist town planners, developers, architects, and designers try to reduce traffic and eliminate sprawl. A New Urbanist neighborhood resembles an old European village with homes and businesses clustered together. Instead of driving on highways, residents of New Urbanist neighborhoods can walk to shops, businesses, theaters, schools, parks, and other important services. Buildings and recreational areas are arranged to foster a sense of community closeness. New Urbanist designers also place importance on earth-friendly architecture, energy conservation, historic preservation, and accessibility.

But this is not the first time these types of multi function structures were experimented with.

The idea of mixed-use structures may have been first seen with the Greeks, on the island of Crete. The complex at Knossos was built around 1900 BC and housed areas of cult rooms, formal areas, storage facilities for agricultural products, industrial areas and workshops of the palace and domestic apartments as well. It was basically a fully functional structure with the exception of agricultural growing. This may be the first example of structure planing for architecturally efficient complexes.

Today, city planners and designers all over the globe strive for convenience and community with their housing structures.

In 2005, the City of Bloomington, Minnesota, approved a massive transit oriented development project to begin construction. The $600 million dollar Bloomington Central Station project is arguably the largest transit oriented redevelopment project in the country. This transit oriented, mixed-use urban structure will be located right along the Hiawatha Light Rail Line, close to The Mall of America, and will include approximately 1200 housing units, 2,000,000 sq. ft. of office space, a hotel, and retail and entertainment space, as well as a central park area and other amenities.

The mixed-use complex is a radical advancement that crosses scientific reason with community. It is a highly economic and perfectly accessible based architectural design theory. Residents will have all the basic essentials while being steps away from fast reliable transportation. Some architectural critics speculate on high costs, planning difficulty, and the loss of individuality and culture with these complexes. But they must not be too quick to judge the future.

Excelsior and Grand
Picture 3.png

In 2003, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, city planners devised a way to actually create a city center. It was a 15-acre Excelsior and Grand, $150 million dollar development project that engaged urban design principles and practices to help liven up a dull city. And it worked. On the corner of a heavily traveled intersection, Excelsior and Grand is a “…compact, vertically mixed-use development that features residential units—condominiums and apartments—over street-level retail and restaurants. To enhance the environment’s urban feel, the site features a well-manicured village green and adjacent open-air amphitheater, as well as store-front parking and wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks that accommodate outdoor dining.?

I myself being raised in St. Louis Park can truly appreciate the positive impact of such advancement. I now had a common place to meet my friends for coffee, to have lunch, or do homework. The close by shops made errands fun and easy to accomplish. Many of my friends also found employment in some of the new businesses. The development also allowed me to compare my city-suburb to neighboring ones (ex. Hopkins Main street, Edina Main street) I am an advocate for smart developments.

The Bridges of Saint Paul
The Bridges of Saint Paul.jpg
The St. Paul City Council rejected a rezoning application for the Bridges of St. Paul. The landmark was estimated at costs over $1.5 billion dollars. It was proposed for the city's West Side.

February 5, 2008

Sticks and Stones and Village Homes: Life and Death All Around Us

Andy Goldsworthy watched each one of his works get destroyed before his eyes; stick wind catcher, stone piles, beaver dam, icicles. I felt a strong relationship between the destruction of his art and the ways he talked about the people in his village, in Scotland. He said that the old lady saw "only the life," while he sees "only the death" of the village people. He mentioned a lot about how you could not ever feel the entire culture of his village unless you have lived your life in it. This is similar to the first reading for our class when it was explained to the graduates that life is a learned experience and could never be told. Andy Goldsworthy also relates to this again when his stone structure kept falling and he said that with every failure, he learns more and more about the rocks.
I liked the curvy brick wall and how it disappeared in the water and came back out strait on the other side. Andy Goldsworthy resurrected the lost stone wall. The curveyness resembled the physical characteristics of the land; the windy river etc.

January 28, 2008