« leave no trace | Main | inspiration »

90, 5, 5

In a never ending quest to figure out the correct formula for attaining blog of the week status, Ian and I have decided to try to put ourselves on the map of ridiculous blogs. This is in no way a response to the blog prompt (which will eventually follow), but merely an attempt to follow common principles found in previous blogs of the week:

1) Post your blog early (ie: before 1 A.M. on Wednesday night/Thursday morning). Note date of publication. CHECK

2) Mention blog of the week in your blog. Easy enough. CHECK.

3) Make fun of Ozayr and/or other TAs. Rough CHECK. Although one can find plenty of photos of Derek on the internet, I could not push myself to emabarrass him for his wonderful singing. Instead, this wonderful image should bring your attention to Ozayr's leaving lecture early, skipping Baraka. I mean the door did squeek pretty loudly. Unbelievable!


4) Inisghtful, brainy, brilliant, uncanny, competent, cunning, deep, expert, gifted, good, handy, intelligent, inventive, keen, knowledgeable, pretty, qualified, quick-witted, rational, resourceful, sensible, skilled, slick, sly, smart, versatile, wise, and/or witty blog response may also help. Always in progress...but CHECK

While contemplating the idea of the built environment, I found a very interesting phrase, or rather a statistic. Answers.com states that "The average North American now spends approximately 90 percent of the time indoors, 5 percent in cars, and only 5 percent outdoors." While we often think of the built environment as interiors, as containing us, consider this. 100 percent of the time we spend (whether inside, in our car, or outside) is affected by the built environment.

Though a distinction must be made between the built envrionment and the natural environment, they are often intertwined - seen clearly in the opposition of man and physical nature. This is fast becoming a favorite topic of my blog as seen in the numerous photos in previous blogs below. However, in this case, nature is coupled with architecture.

Take for example, gardens. They have become apart of residential areas around the world. Each home seems to have one in the front and/or backyard. In my neighborhood on the east side of Saint Paul, each house along the block has some assortment of flowers, a small hedge, a large bush, or a meticulously kept lawn. These things bring a certain comfort seen only in nature, a feeling of tranquility or serenity. If I recall correctly, a video viewed in Design Fundamentals I documented the development of residential neighborhoods in early America. Hear, they talked of the white picket fence front yard as apart of the American Dream. The front yard, according to the documentary, represented one's connection to nature and their ideal landscape. From my experience, I find this to be remarkably correct.


Another good example is a greater attempt to make roadways more idealistic, more natural, more appealing. Boulevards of many different varieties are appearing in many suburban neighborhoods, but also in more urban redevelopment projects. The idea of separating the streets by a natural barrier is becoming much more common. Highways now have structures intended to allow vines to grow on them to reduce headlight glare naturally. Local streets have small bushes, tall grasses, and a variety of other plants. Both instances show a focus on nature, and again the feelings it invokes. These feelings most likely come in part because of the small amount of time we spean outside in nature: a enormous five percent.


Besides a pleasant experience, roads provide another very different aspect of the designed environment which contributes to my experience. Living in the cities all my life has allowed me to experience - fortunately - numerous traffic jams. Interstate 94 and 35E always seem to provide smooth driving. Additionally, the square grid pattern seen for so long in urban residential areas has been replaced by twisting and winding roads in the suburbs. Though speculation, it definitely doesn't seem to be a plan at all. My experience in this new, built environment is not a pleasant one. I mean, you can't even refer to "blocks" anymore. It's very easy to get lost and once lost, very easy to become more confused. You cannot tell which direction you're traveling - north, south, east, west - because you're traveling in each one of them on the same road! What once was more space is becoming a bent out of shape replica of urban neighborhoods.


While I've found myself surveying the built environment outside, I'd like to refocus on the statistic I started with. 90 percent is spent indoors. Here at the University of Minnesota, it seems that 90 percent is spent in lecture halls. This is an important part of the built environment for college students and professors alike. There design fascilitates much of the learning going on and shapes the way we think of it. Unforunately, large class sizes can't help but create separation between students and professors. The seats, though, are usually fairly comfortable and the desks are adequate. The stadium seating allow all students to see and the large screens with media centers within the podium allow professors to use a variety of different modern tools in their lectures.


More to come..