April 30, 2008

Blog Prompt Eight and Nine

"reflect on two of the MDG presentations"

#1 Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

The group that presented this goal in my section focused on Ethiopia. They had very powerful pictures in their presentation, and it was very moving. 23% of the population in Ethiopia lives on less than a dollar a day. Another shocking statistic is that 40% of kids under the age of 5 are severely under weight.

There are several organizations involved in reducing the extreme poverty and extreme hunger in this region. SEDA is an organization that is helping to develop strong agriculture to provide food and money for poor families.

There have also been several design projects that have lead to improve the living conditions in Ethiopia and other areas of Africa. The 'Life Straw' is a straw that has a built in filter that allows people to drink water that isn't sanitary and as they suck it through the straw, the straw filters the water. There are individual and family Life Straws and the filter lasts for about a year. There also is the Q drum which allows for an easier transfer of water from the pump back to their homes. The Q drum is designed so it can be dragged rather than carried.

I enjoyed this presentation. I thought the group did a great job!

#6 HIV/AIDS/Malaria

The second group to present in my section presented on reducing the number of people with HIV/AIDS and Malaria. This was another moving presentation. The region they analyzed was the sub Saharan in Africa, particularly Zambia and Zimbabwe. 2/3 of the world's population who have HIV/AIDS are from one of these two countries. approximately one million people die per year from HIV/AIDS in this region.

There are many organizations in this region who are working to educated the people on HIV/AIDS and teach them how to prevent contracting the disease.

Architecture for Humanity conducted a contest to find a design for an information center that will further help educate the population.

Malaria is another issue in this region. Close to 2 million children die each year from Malaria. An organization called 'Nothing but Nets' is providing mosquito netting for families to help protect from infected mosquitoes. For as little as a $10 dollar donation, Nothing but Nets is able to provide mosquito nets for families and children.

I think the MDG projects were a great project. They helped us gain a perspective of the world, and become thankful for what we have here in the U.S., but hopefully also inspired people to try to make a difference.

March 13, 2008

Blog Prompt Six

My group has Millennium Development Goal number 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. We have just begun our research, but so far I find the topic very interesting, and I feel it is very important.

Our group hasn't done much in terms of thinking about how to present our final project, but I have a few ideas.

Since our goal is ensuring environmental sustainability, I think we should present our information in an environmentally sustainable way. This could be as simple as printing our final papers on recycled papers.

Part of our project is developing a way to build an environmentally sustainable and friendly community. We could possibly build a diorama, or some small scale physical example of what our community's layout would look like when we were finished.

Another idea, if we wanted to present our information in a poster fashion, is we could use slabs of wood as "posters" and paint the information on the wood. This would reduce our use of paper in our project.

I feel that because the point of our project is to ensure environmental sustainability we should present our information in a way that is just that.

March 6, 2008

Blog Prompt Five

The environment has a huge affect on who people are. Your environment influences what you do during your free time, what products are available to you, and the people you interact with.

In the city, one is more likely to live a busier life. There is a lot of culture and diversity in the city as well. I would say typically those who live in the city are more open to new ideas and progress. Consumerism is also plays a major role in the lives of people who live in the city. Products and merchandise are easily accessible and come in a wide variety.

Typically those who live in the suburbs and small towns have a blend of city and rural life. The have the quietness/mellowness of living in the country, yet have the easy access to products and such of consumerism. I would say there is less individualism in the small towns. Houses are similar, families are similar, there is less diversity.


And there are those that live in a rural setting. Here there is so much space, less diversity, and less consumption because of the location.


Those are just some examples of environments. There are people who live in tribes in Africa, and South America, completely removed from civilization. There are people who live under oppressive governments. There are people who live in third world countries who have little food and no opportunities.


Framework. Here's a little analogy. (not sure if this is framework...) Its like every person is a piece of art. (precious I know) And everyone's environment is there frame. Different frames suit different pieces of art. I think that ultimately people are who they are, and are searching for the frame (environment) that fits them best. Different environments provide different opportunities and embrace different values.

emptyFrame.gif Question Mark.JPG greedy-person-silhouette-thumb2381574.jpg

Some people are born into an environment that doesn't suit them. (this relates of clockwork?) Time will only tell if they will be provided with the opportunity to venture into a new environment, into a new way of life.

I don't know, I guess in my opinion, an environment just is, and people are all searching for the one that frames their lifestyle, their dreams and ambitions, and their values the best.


March 4, 2008

Homework 'n Hoops

I am a tutor for Homework 'n Hoops and I absolutely love it! I tutor for a fourth grade girl named Emma. She is such a sweet heart. Every time I leave I feel like I have made a difference in her life.

I tutor for the evening session on Tuesdays. Every week I get there a little bit early, and I wait for Emma to arrive. As soon as she walks in the door a huge smile crosses her face as she sees me and she waves. She comes with her two close friends. They remind me of when I was little. (wow, that's like what old people say).

Typically we work on Math...yay! I find myself getting frustrated...not at Emma, but at myself. It is really hard to teach. I can understand the topics that she is learning, but to explain them to someone else...its a challenge. I come back from the evening completely exhausted, but I still have all of my homework to do.

It all seems worth while at the end of the night when Emma looks up at me with her big brown eyes and says, "you'll be here next week right?" It is an amazing feeling to know that the small portion of your time that you are devoting to this child is so significant in their life.

I really think it is cool that the architecture program requires service involvement. It helps keep people in touch with their surroundings and get to know the human side of the city.

March 5, 2008

I went to Homework 'n Hoops last night. Emma wasn't there. At first I was pretty bummed because I was looking forward to seeing her, and my ride's kidwas there, so I knew I would just be sitting around for two hours. Anyway, I used the opportunity to get to know some of the other tutors. (a lot of kids didn't show up...flu bug or something) There are some really interesting people there. It was really cool to talk to them and hear what they were doing with their lives. Most of the tutors there are college aged students. I didn't directly affect the community last night, but I feel like I got closer to it.

April 29, 2008

I have been really busy with school lately. I feel like volunteering is sometimes in the way of other things I need to get done. It takes a lot of energy to get myself to go, but once I'm there, I typically end up having a good time. Lately I have been working with another student. She typically doesn't bring any homework to work on, so we end up playing educational games or going to the computer lab. I know I used to get frustrated working on homework and trying to teach, but now that I'm not doing that, I kind of miss it. The weather has been pretty nice lately, and I think that has led all the kids to be a little more energetic. It is hard to be surrounded by their energy when I'm exhausted from a day of classes, but at the same time it is good because it helps me take a break from my school.

May 2, 2008

Overall, I have really enjoyed volunteering at Homework N' Hoops. It has been so rewarding to get involved in the greater community. I feel because I volunteered at this program first semester for 1281 that I really got to know the staff and the students. Every day Maurrie greets you with a smiling face. He is very understanding and truly good person. Everyone else there is just as enjoyable to work with. I will definitely consider returning to Homework N' Hoops as a volunteer in the fall, even if it is not required for a class. I think Service Learning is a great experience and helps students become more rounded individuals have have a better understanding of the city around them. It provides knowledge that can't be taught in the classroom. Homework N' Hoops is great! I will definitely miss it.

February 26, 2008

Blog Prompt Four

How would I impact my environment architecturally, artistically, lyrically, bodily, if I was cut lose from the constraints of 'architecture school'....hmm

I haven't always lived in the city. I am from a small town. Honestly, I miss the open space, the green grass and the color from all the flowers in the front lawns. There has to be a way to add color to the city.

I think it would be cool if the city was covered in controlled graffiti. This wold add color, in an urban way, to the city. Stores could use graffiti to advertise their business and decorate their store front in a unique, individual way. Graffiti could be used to advertise products and events, and when they become out of date they can simply be painted over. Of course the paint used in "coloring the city" would be environmentally safe, and would have no negative side effects. And maybe graffiti is the wrong word...maybe I'm thinking of something more along the line of murals. And of course there would be guidelines. It would be wrong to cover historical buildings with color. Plus in my opinion they are beautiful in their own way. Maybe this whole idea is completely unrealistic. But imagine the dull gray city instead covered with color! Maybe this would be too "candy land" and happy for some. I'm just thinking here.
Mural Day 12.JPG




February 20, 2008

Blog Prompt Three

ENVIRONMENT: all of the conditions and influences that affect the life and development of an organism.

SUSTAINABLE: land management processes that provides a good without degrading the quality of the site and without a decline in the availability of the good over time.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of generations to come.

Bamboo has great potential in helping alleviate rain forest depletion. Bamboo reaches maturity in 3-4 years and its mass increases 10-30% each year!

When I saw this picture, I was completely awe struck. Over 300,000 fish died after someone through poison into a pond in China. As a population we it is imperative that we are conscious of our actions. We can't afford events like this.


"We have not inherited the world from our forefathers -- we have borrowed it from our children."
- Kashmiri proverb

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Songs to check out to get in a "sustainable mood"

Jack Johnson "Traffic in the Sky"
Download file
The Counting Crows "Big Yellow Taxi" ~ I don't personally have this song, but definitely check it out!
Three Days Grace "Never too late"
Download file


February 11, 2008

Blog Prompt Two

Find a Social Issue--
Here in the Twin Cities--
Document it--
Become an Advocate against it.

The United States is one of the top ten countries to live in in the entire world. Yet within it's borders, hundreds of thousands of families, children, and veterans are homeless. I think this is a bit ridiculous. The government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on international affairs such as unnecessary wars in Iraq while I am clearly seeing a better way to spend those bucks. Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that the U.S. cares enough to send aid to impoverished countries in the Middles East, South America and Africa, but I find it ridiculous that the government wouldn't show more concern for its own citizens who are spending their nights on the streets without adequate shelter....maybe I just don't understand politics.

In Hennepin county there are nearly 3,000 homeless people, a third of them are children. Most homeless people reported losing their housing because it was simply too expensive. Yea, maybe they were irresponsible with their money, maybe they weren't. It just seems crazy that in a country as wealthy as the U.S. that homelessness would be an issue. As a potential architecture major I hope that some day I will be able to help the issue of homelessness not only disappear from the streets of Minneapolis/St. Paul but help decrease the problem throughout the entire country....maybe the world?

February 5, 2008

Blog Prompt One

inspired by Andy Goldsworthy (and our discussions today), document and investigate,
through text and image - this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.



A city is a generator of endless energy. All day people and vehicles hustle and bustle down the streets in an endless flow of energy. As night sets in the stream of lights that flows down the freeway portrays the never ending flow through the city.


The city does not necessarily create a boundary between urban and nature. The city can embrace nature and the two can work together. Venice, Italy is an excellent example as the Brenta river is used as a river highway and transport system through the city.


The city is constantly transforming. Each new building and construction project alters the skyline and transforms the appearance of the city.

images collected from google images (in order of appearance).