May 6, 2008

9: Analysis of Honors presentation, MDG #7

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

This group consisted of three students: Angie, Anthony, and Laura. They did their research on "improving minneapolis slums through sustainability." They stated that if the slums were not improved, there will soon be consequences. They said that low income housing is no good and will soon be a very big problem. I am not sure what the consequences and problems will be though. They might have stated the problems and issues, but I do not remember what they were and forgot to write them down.

Some buildings they looked at to improve this problem were Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, S.C. Johnson Company Headquarters, Near North Apartments, and Traugott Terrace Apartments. All of these buildings used resourses wisely to be very sustainable.

Their solution to the problem: re-designing existing twin cities focusing on riverside plaza built by Ralph Rapson.
This group had 11 ways to improve sustainability for the Riverside Plaza:
1) install water re-use systems
2) replace incandescent light bulbs w/ fluorescent bulbs
3) install vertical recycling chutes in all 6 towers
4) replace windows w/ high efficiency triple-paned glass
5) replace old wood panels
6) re-paint concrete to crisp white
7) use solar energy
8) energy star roof coating
9) install new energy star appliances
10) replace HVAC system
11) KONE elevators (use less energy)

All of these improvements would make the building "more efficient, modernized, and aesthetically pleasing. All of these changes would improve the quality of life for low income people.

Overall this presentation was very good, and very clear. The only thing I wonder is after all of those improvements, will it still even be a low income building? It seems to me like all of those improvements would cost a lot and therefore raise the price of living there. I do not know much about that kinda thing, but thats just my guess...

low income slums (no good, ugly, bad sustainability)


(sustainable, sweet looking, GOOD!)

May 1, 2008

8: Analysis of and Honors Presentation on MDG #8

I'm not exactly sure if we are supposed to critique how the group presents, or summarize what they presented, so I will just do a little of both.

The 1st group that presented presented on Millennium Development Goal #8- Developing A Partnership for Global Development. The presenters were Kelly Berry and Broc Blegen. They did a very good job of introducing their topic and the region they were focusing on.

The region they were focusing on was Somalia. They chose to focus on this country because out of any country, they are trailing the furthest behind in technology.

The first topic they chose to discuss was the use of mobile phones in Somalia. Surprisingly, only 10% of people living in Somalia are using cell phones. Somalia needs to look to Kenya as en example to follow. Kenya was in their position and has been doing a very good job of increasing the amount of people using mobile technology.

I really likes the statistics this group used to get their points across. They were very informational and shocking. For example mobile phone usage is growing faster in Africa than any other country in the world. Also, from the year 2000 to 2006, people using cell phones has grown from 15,000 to 6 million.

Although that is a huge leap, the group discussed how it is still a low percentage of people using cell phones in Somalia. They said that the growth has increased from 1% to about 6%, which is still very low.

I'm not sure if there were reasons to improve this problem. Either I just missed writing it down, or they did not discuss it? I'm curiois to know what can be done to increase cell phone usage....

The second technology they focused on was wireless internet. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a country where they is hardly any internet. In America, we would not be able to survive without internet or technology. The group discussed how wireless internet is essential for education, business, and free information. It must be really hard for Somalians to live without it.

This group discussed two solutions to improve this problem.

The first one was called "Hole-in-the-wall Schools" proposed by Dr. Sugata Mitra. This was a project giving students access to free wireless computers. This would allow kids to be able to learn and teach other kids. The statistic for amount of kids able to reach this free internet is 300 kids in 6 months. For some reason, this seems low to me. After 6 months of free wireless, I would think there would be more than 300 children that are being reached by it. I do think it is a good solution though.

The second design solution was called "One Laptop per Child". This is somewhat similar to the last one in that it is helping children to receive wireless internet. This time, they are each given a laptop to use.
They are fun, lime green laptops with educational games, e-mail, painting, chatting, etc... This would be good for the children to grow and learn.

Only thing I wonder now is what about the adults in Somalia, isn't it important they have some sort of way of getting wireless internet.

These two solutions are good but they are both focused on children in Somalia. What about everyone else?

Overall, this was a very good presentation and pretty interesting.

April 29, 2008

volunteering wk. 8

Friday, April 25th (2 hrs)

I was really glad to have volunteered this week because they REALLY needed me! They put me to work as soon as I got there! There was about 9 or 10 boxes filled with frozen foods, canned foods, cereals, pickles, soups and other sorts of foods. All of this needed be be brought into the basement, especially the frozen foods because they were starting to thaw. so right away I was carrying really heavy frozen foods down to the basement. I probably went up and down the stairs at least 20 times and I was exhausted by the time I was done! After all the food was put away, I had to empty even more boxes. Only these weren't filled with food; they were filled with supplies, construction paper, and paper towels. I had to empty all of these and restock the cabinets. In order to make room for all of the paper towels, I had to empty out a whole top shelf of a cabinet filled with shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. I had to bring all of those down to the donation room before I could stock it up with the paper towels. Once all of the boxes were emptied and everything was put away, I had to break down all of the boxes and bring them out to the recycling. It was very tiring but it was a really good work out :) When I was all done, they were extremely thankful that I came to help out and I was pretty proud of myself as well. It was a good day.


April 13, 2008

volunteering wk. 7

April 11th (1.5 hours)

When I got to the lewis house this week, there was not too many things that needed to be done. A guy showed up with a few bags of donations that I brought down to the donation room and organized. It was mosty all women's clothes. After I was done sorting donations, I was asked to get rooms ready for guests that were coming to stay there. I cleaned out the rooms that needed new sheets and towels. There were three rooms that people just moved out of that needed to be ready for new guests. I brought down all the dirty blankets and sheets and brought up clean ones. I made 6 bunk beds and put a cute little stuffed animal on each bed for the guests to keep. It actually fun picking out the covers and stuffed animals to put on the beds. This reminded me of things we have discussed in class, because I was getting the rooms ready for the guests, I made the rooms look very welcoming and comfortable. I hope the new guests will like them!!

bunk beds.bmp

Here is the website for the place I volunteer at. Sorry that I did not post it earlier, I didn't really think about it.

April 6, 2008

7: Possible Title Pages

well I FINALLY figured it out. I still dont know how to put them on here as images but here are links to them..maybe? If I can get this to work. I'm not very smart when it comes to blogging, unlike my title says "Kas Blasta, the blogging masta!" Yeah, I lied. Sorry.

this one is pretty boring I think, but its an option:
Download file

I like this one much better:
Download file

Volunteering Wk. 6

Friday, April 4 (1.5 hours)

This week was pretty normal, nothing too exciting. I sorted donations that the Lewis house received. They received a lot of candy this time! I had to put the candy in a separate bag so it didn't sit downstairs in the room with the rest of the donations. There was also a lot of toys and games that were donated. I feel bad because I ate one of the bags of candy. They were sour patch kids and I just had to, they looked so delicious. It's okay though because there was a ton more candy, including like 15 more bags of sour patch kids. Plus I deserved it for working so hard, right?? Anyways, I hope the kids there don't mind that I had some of their candy.

Besides sorting donations, there wasn't much else to do. So after I was done, I asked if there was anything else to do and they said no and sent me home half an hour early. It was a good time.

sour patch kids.jpg
i <3 these little candies :)

March 29, 2008

6: How to present our term project...

I am very confused on this whole project actually. I understand what we are supposed to do, but I don't understand how we're supposed to present it. I'm guessing we can present any way we see fit? If that is the case, I would go with using a powerpoint. Those seem to be the most easy to understand when showing students. Maybe we can have some sort of video incorporated into the power point. That'd be pretty awesome. I just want to have a presentation that is informtaional and also pleasing to the eye. No one likes sitting and listening to something that doesn't capture their attention. So if I were to do a powerpoint, I would not have blank white backgrounds for the whole presentation. I would change it up and add pictures and video clips to give it more oomph or whatever.


Or we might not be as technical, and make a presentation on a board, like this one.


I found this graphic on CMYK and thought it was sweet. Maybe we can use colors like these or something to make our presentation colorful and interesting!


March 9, 2008

Volunteering: Wk.5

My 5th Week: Friday, March 7th (2 hrs)
This week I cleaned the childrens play room to make sure there were no objects that the children could choke on. I also had to spary the toys with lysol to get rid of any germs that were on the toys since there has been so many sick children lately with colds. There were only a couple objects I found that were "chokable" everything else was all good. After I was finished with that, I organized the art room. I threw away the bad markers and organized everything. It was kind of boring, and I didnt know how much help I was actually doing for the program, but the room looked better once I left so thats always good! After I was done organizing, I sorted some donations and cleaned up the place a bit. They were very appreciative that I helped them out (they always are) so that makes me feel good that they are so thankful. I will not be able to volunteer for two weeks because I will be in Florida next week and the week after for spring break! Although I feel bad for not being able to help them out for a couple weeks, I cannot WAIT to get away from the cold! :)


March 5, 2008

Volunteering: wks. 1-4

I have been volunteering with CAC (Community Action Council) for the past 5 weeks now. I started volunteering there because I thought that I would be going into nursing and wanted some volunteering experience, but then decided against nursing to do architecture - I was still wanting to volunteer with the CAC, so it was cool to find out that I had to volunteer for this major too. It all worked out.

Anyways, I'll tell you all about my volunteering experiences so far with CAC.

My first week: Feb 1st - (1 hr)
Went in to meet with Veronica- woman in charge of all the volunteering. She discussed what I could do there as a volunteer and gave me a tour of the Lewis House (part of the CAC- where I am volunteering). I'll give you a little background on what the Lewis House is: The Lewis house is a safe home for mothers to take their children to if there is abuse going on at home. The Lewis House provides a protective shelter for the mom and children to stay at until the mother can handle being on her own with her kids. They have bedrooms, food, laundry rooms, and plenty of donations for the families there. Anyways, the first week was mostly training for an hour or so just to see how the Lewis House works and what kind of things I could do there as a volunteer.

My 2nd week: Feb 8th- (2hrs)
Met with other volunteers/interns and chatted with them about things to do at the Lewis House. I read the "rules book" and learned a lot about the House. After I was done learning, I helped another volunteer paint the bathrooms and replace burnt out light bulbs. It was actually fun :)

My 3rd week: Feb. 22nd- (2 hrs)
This time I sorted through the donations the whole entire time. There was a TON! Their whole donation room is packed full with stuff! I had to go through all the new donation bags to make sure all the donations were legit and clean. Sadly, many of the clothes were stained and dirty. I threw those ones away. Who would anyone want a pair of dirty underwear???! So I did that for 2 hours, it wasn't bad!

My 4th week: (2hrs)
Organized the kitchen for the guests. I had to throw out everything that was expired, it took quite awhile. The whole freezer was filled with expired bread, meat, pizzas, etc... And all the shelves were unorganized- so I had to organize them so that the guests staying at the house could find certain things easily and quickly.

Thats all for now folks.

March 4, 2008

5: the built environment of a dorm.

Well, I think it's about time I start working on these blogs. I have been procrastinating huge due to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what to write about for this one. It's a tricky one. But anyways, I figured that it's about time to sit down and write at least something.....

How does the built environment affect me?

Whoever built Pioneer did a very good job of creating a unique, castle-like outside, but sucked at creating the inside. From the outside it is a cute building with nice bay windows and a beautiful courtyard in the middle. This built environment is outstanding. It has a very structural framework, or pattern. There is a north end and a south end in which both look exactly alike. The only difference is one faces the north and one faces the south (obviously). This built environment, or framework affects me. It's very difficult to explain how it affects me, but it does. I feel independent and proud to be living on my own in such a gorgeous looking building. I'm glad to say i live in a building that looks like that on the outside.


Now, the inside of pioneer is a different story. The feeling that I had standing outside, totally changes when I walk inside. The inside feels like a insane asylum or something. I feel like I should be some crazy person when I go in there. The rooms all are completely white with hard floors. And everything is hard...the walls aren't even walls, they are like stone or something and the floors are just plain ugly. The one (and only) thing that I like about my dorm is the bay window that is in it. I think that if it was not for that window, I would go crazy! The built environment in the inside affects me, just like the outside, but in a negative way. When I am in my room, i feel claustrophobic and suffocated...especially in my bedroom.

U of M 016.JPG

anyone would feel claustrophic sleepin in this bed. My head is a foot or so away from the ceiling. And I cannot tell you how many times I've hit my head on the stupid fire sprinkler getting in and out of bed. The walls in my dorm all look like this, coated white cement. And the floors and ugly brown and pee yellow tiling. Definitely not a very good atmosphere.

My dorm works like clockwork. There is definitely a pattern to how people live in a dorm. There is a certain time people wake up for breakfast, then for lunch, and finally for dinner. After 11pm it is queit hours, when everyone goes to sleep. My roomates sleeping patterns even work like clockwork. We always go to bed at the same time, with me always being the last one up (usually working on blogs....ha, kidding).

U of M 019.JPG

Without this amazing window in my room, I would have gone crazy. This window definitely opens up the room to make it seem much bigger than it really is. Not all rooms have a window like this. My roommates and I got lucky to get this room! I would call this feeling a phenomena. It is all things coming together to create something magnificent. Like we discussed in class, phenomenas have a purpose. This window in my room definitely has a purpose, and it is to make sure I don't go crazy my freshman year from living in a cement, white box for a year. This part of my built environment has a huge impact on me. And I am very thankful for whoever decided to put bay windows in Pioneer!

February 26, 2008

4: Hmm..what would I do?

Well, since we can use our imaginations here, I am going to get a little crazy with this one. Hope you don't mind, and try to follow along with an open mind. Here goes...

I have always been interested in the "underwater world". You know how in "The Little Mermaid" all Ariel wants to do is live on land with the people, well I always though it would be cool to live underwater. So if I was not busy learning about reality and legitimate types of architecture, I would be spending my time trying to find ways in which we could live underwater. Think about it, how cool would it be to just live underwater and get around by walking through clear tunnels. Through them you could see all the water things (like sharks, fishies, dolphins, etc...)

I was even thinking that instead of cars, we could all travel around in submarines! How comepletely awesome would that be!? Also, the submarines would not cause water pollution (or air pollution for that matter). They would be very environmentally friendly, and super cool.

Also, we could have underwater hotels and restaurants. These would also be environmentally friendly. I’m not sure how they will be environmentally friendly, but I will find a way. Even though I am not in school learning about ways to do this, I will have to find it out on my own. This is one minus to not going to school. But no worries, the underwater world will still be sweet. It’ll be like going to underwater adventures, only it will be way cooler. And you would get to go every day. How incredible would this be?? Obviously these aren't my ideas, I just think they are awesome:

These would be the tunnels that we would walk around in, if we didn't feel like taking the submarine out for a spin.


Having everyone live underwater would be insane and pretty unrealistic, but it's fun to imagine! Who knows, maybe one day when we run out of space to put people on land, we'll decide to put people in the water. We have way more water than land anyways. Might as well use it :)


February 20, 2008

3: Environ. Sustain.

I chose Millenium Goal number 7, environmental sustainability, because i think that we are taking our world for granted. We need to take care of what was given to us. Lately, the pollution has gotten so bad! Not only is the air pollution getting worse, but so is the land and water pollution.

This is the air pollution in China. The pollution in China is 40 times as bad as it is in Los Angeles (our most polluted city). They say that the upcoming olympics in china are going to have problems because of so much pollution hurting the athletes. The pollution hurting the athletes is the least of our worries. It is hurting the whole world.

Not only is air pollution horrible, but so is land pollution. Because of our increased standard of living, everyone is throwing more and more stuff away, and we are running out of dumping grounds. This is becoming a serious problem.

Lastly, there is water pollution. "Estimates suggest that nearly 1.5 billion people lack safe drinking water and that at least 5 million deaths per year can be attributed to waterborne diseases"
( This can be prevented if we stop polluting the water by staying away from using harmful fertilizers that could end up in our lakes and rivers. We can also conserve the water we use by turning the sink off instead of letting it run, or not take hour long showers, etc...

some quotes that I love:

Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find. ~Quoted in Time

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. ~Henrik Tikkanen

Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible - or even sinful - that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes! ~Paul MacCready, Jr.


This image reminds me of a song that we all know and love. This song reminds us that we hold the world in our hands, and its our responsibility to keep it healthy for our children and our children's children.
We've got the Whole World in Our Hands
-Liz Buchanan

Another song that I like is one by the Beach Boys (gotta love the beach boys!)
Don't Go Near the Water
Don't go near the water
Don't you think it's sad
What's happened to the water
Our water's going bad

Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams
Have all been touched by man
The poison floating out to sea
Now threatens life on land

Toothpaste and soap will make our oceans a bubble bath
So let's avoid an ecological aftermath
Beginning with me
Beginning with you

Let's all help the water
Right away
Do what we can and ought to
Let's start today


February 13, 2008

2: The pollution in Minneapolis is killer!

So I was thinking about different kinds of "social-design" issues in Minneapolis that I could write about and I wanted to do something other than pollution because it seems like thats what everyone is going to write about. So I sat staring at my screen for about 20 minutes thinking about what other issue I could talk about. In the end, I couldnt think of anything that is more of an issue than pollution here in the cities. So I have decided to be very original and discuss the issue of Minneapolis pollution! :)


This image may look pretty but it's really not. This is light from the pollutions in Minneapolis. Sure it might look pretty now, but in reality, it is slowly killing our ozone layer. Once our ozone layer is gone, it isn't going to look very pretty anymore. The reason why Minneapolis has so much pollution is from the old coal-burning power plants all over minneapolis. According to,, children that attend schools in Minneapolis have twice the national rate for asthma because of the cities pollution. Another reason for the pollution is the fact that its a major city. All cities have pollution problems because it is where people work. Minneapolis is definitely not the worst city when it comes to pollution, but it is up there!


Not only is it pollution in Minneapolis that is an issue, but just from walking around to classes, I notice a lot of garbage lying on the ground. How difficult is it to put your garbage in a trash can? It'd be a little different if there were no trash cans anywhere to put garbage, but I swear there is a trash can like every 5 feet, so that cant be an excuse for not throwing something away. It's really gross to see so much garbage around. There is a lot of garbage laying around on campus, especially when people are handing out fliers, passes to get into clubs, coupons, etc... I understand that it's really annoying to get handed something you dont want, but dont just toss it on the ground; Wait 3 seconds to pass a garbage can and throw it in there. It's not that difficult.

And as far as pollution goes, it is impossible to prevent it totally, but there are many ways to reduce it.
I know that we, as students, cannot do much about the old coal refineries, but after doing some research, i found out that a good way to reduce pollution from coal plants is to use natural gas instead of coal. Supposedly it is much better for the air and reduces smog and other bad things in the air by about 90%. So there is a little info for those of you who care. Maybe one day some of you will build a refinery with your awesome architectural skills and remember what i said about using natural gas instead of coal!
Also, instead of commuting to the U in your own car, maybe take the bus, or carpool with friends. If you live on campus, dont bring a car. Whats the point? Ride a bike, take the bus, or walk to class. I walk in the freezing cold, and although it sucks really bad, I get over it. I'd much rather be cold for 10 minutes than die because our ozone layer disappears. (okay so I might be exaggerating just a little, but you get my point).

Ways to prevent pollution:

Carpooling at it's best!

All the cool kids are doing it!

....haha. i love it.


February 7, 2008

1: The flow and transformation of a city


Continue reading "1: The flow and transformation of a city" »

February 4, 2008

messin around

I'm not sure how all of this works. I'm just attempting new things to see how they turn out. I'm not an experienced blogger yet :)