April 29, 2008

more presentation reflections

-One of the first presentation of the day was talking about the developing society of dubai. The group gave keys points on how Dubai has become so successful. Dubai relies heavily on tourism. Dubai also imports labor whereas most societies export labor. They are investing in grand tourist attractions like " Dubai World". This once third world country has become so developed in such a short amount of time-about 25 years. But as a result they have list a lot of their natural organic beauty and have become heavily congested with industrial landscapes.

...i did no enjoy their opening music to the presentation. what did it add? they were just trying to be funny...it didn't work.

-The two last groups both talked about environmental sustainability. The mentioned some materials to use. Very similar to biomimicry. Adobe siding for heating and cooling. cob and bamboo were also mentioned. They suggested a new irrigation system by rerouting the land and turning to the natural landscape instead of bringing in outside sources. One guy suggested dumpster diving. They also talked about the top 10 factors in providing environmental sustainability. 1) Air Quality 2)water Quality 3) Transportation 4) recycling 5)electricity 6) socioeconomic 7) environmental policies 8) green design 9) green space 10) public health

April 21, 2008

presentation reflection

The presentation today was about sustainable housing. I found it very interesting because i have heard a lot of buzz around the idea of sustainable housing, but have not heard of any specific examples of how to go about transforming a house to be sustainable.

This group gave several specific ways to convert housing to be a more sustainable product.

-They Talked about using recycled products to build houses-which seems obvious, but not very many people have been doing it.

-Half flush toilets save water

-Green Roofs provide energy

-Cob building-regains sense of community adn they last long and are easy to repair

-Bamboo as support beams- common in south east asia or other humid locations.

i also enjoyed the cover page. i like the humanistic side symbolized by the face.

April 18, 2008

Volunteer Journal

Every Wednesday for the past couple months I have been working with Common Bonds Communities in Skyline Towers in St. Paul. I participate in their after tutoring program for children ranging from Kindergarten to third graders-though there are a handful of kids higher grades.

After working with Skyline, I found it increasingly evident how important an institution such as this is for children. Children that have immigrant or duel earning households need a safe place to go after school where they can socialize and receive help for their progression in school. For many children, Skyline is that place. At Skyline, there is not only homework tutoring, but a reading room with books, puzzles, and games for kids who have finished their homework. Skyline also maintains a relationship with the Science Museum. During my time at Skyline, volunteers from The Science Museum came to set up an interactive science experiment to teach the kids about wind tunnels.

The instructors at Skyline are extremely kind hearted and patience people. The children have a solid relationship with all of them. The children know them all by name and are always excited to see them. They are not shy to ask them how they are, tell them about their day, or ask for help. I found it difficult to get kids to come to my table and ask for help because they all wanted to go to the permanent instructors- they were more familiar and comfortable with them. It was obvious the children held these people in high regard. The instructors reciprocate this regard to the children. For example, during my time at Skyline, I witnessed instructors acknowledging kids’ birthdays, asking about family members, knowing when they have exams approaching, and what sports they are involved with at school. The majority of children at Skyline are Muslim. The instructors make sure to take this into account when purchasing the after school snacks so that they are in accordance with their dietary restrictions. The instructors value these children and vice versa.

At Common Bonds’ website they declare �Our mission is to build community by creating affordable housing as a steppingstone to success� The Skyline after school program for kids helps with their progression in education and in turn serves as a “stepping stone to success�.

April 3, 2008


Download file
ok. my ideas are transitioning onto paper well at all. What i WANTED to do is take an sky view of Minneapolis. I would then layer more images on top of one another wit h each image getting progressively closer to the city and city life-getting more personal. The idea being that poverty and homelessness at first glance seems like something so far from affecting our daily lives, but in actuality it s right in our backyard

Cover Sheet #2

Download file
this is a drawing by one of the group members as an example.

March 30, 2008

Cover Sheet


In the introduction to my groups millenium term project, we talk about how the first step towards releaving poverty and homelessness in our community is to recognize our common bonds between one another. "...build up a dense network of trusting relationships between various agents..."

I wanted to use an image that conveys bonds between people. Something that itself is strong, supportive, and frequently utilized-recognizable. i thought that one of the major bridges would bring that symbolic bond across. We, as a community, need to be like the bride-strong, supportive, and connective. Rather than separated and ignorant of one another.

we need to live up to the basis of our name and become a common unity; a true community.

March 13, 2008


I found this illustration on the CMYK Magazine website. The Artist wanted to show the overpopulation and the overpollution that happens in a city. Using the medium of sharpie and pen creating harsh lines conveys the harsh reality of overpopulation and over-pollution. Using an illustration similar to this in our presentation of homelessness and poverty would bring that same harsh reality across.

The artist behind this image wants passerbys contemplate the city's homeless population. Funny-but also gets a serious point across. Homelessness is a problem and anything that gets people's attention to it is a good thing.

Another example of the measures being taken to at least lessen the amount of pain the homeless and poor have.

An extreme illustration of the separation between the rich and the poor.

March 1, 2008

Buildings that shaped life

I had a hard time answering this blog prompt because after thinking about it for a while, I'm still not sure whether the built environment affects who I am or if the way i am affects how i see the built environment. However, i have been reassured multiple times that these assignments are not meant to have one specific answer and are very opened ended. So, I hope this works...

I have lived in Minneapolis my whole life and have not had the opportunity to travel much. So, my interactions with the built environment is pretty much limited to the twin cities area. Unless you want to hear about LaCrosse, Wisconsin, which I'm sure you don't (there's not a lot of built environment there anyway).

I grew near Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. I have the tradition of after dinner walks around the lake during the summer instilled in me for life. The Bandshell on Lake Harriet during the summer is swarming with families and friends, whether they're sailing, fishing, riding bikes, swimming, or feeding the ducks popcorn( even though you're not supposed to).

lk harriet.jpg

When I was little my Mom quit her job as an art teacher to raise me and my siblings. For a while there was a period when my older brother and sister had school, but i hadn't started yet. So, i had the whole day with my mom and aside from walking around the lake, we would always go to the art museums. The Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker, or The Weissman. We still go the museums together a lot.


I also remember the grand opening of the Mall of America. This building was a staple to my awkward pre-teen years when it was the only place my friends would get together. Not to shop, just to walk around and act cool. Now, when i see those types of kids walking through the mall, i cringe.


I started my college life in downtown Minneapolis at MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technical College). I then transferred to U of M. So, i am having my college experience in the middle of a city rather than on a hill in the middle of nowhere (*ahem* St.Olaf). At MCTC, there was a lot diversity. I initially felt like a fish out of water even though I've lived here all my life. I think going to a private school with a graduating class of 65 kids had something to do with it. So, needless to say it shattered my protective bubble and helped me humble myself. The same applies to the U of M. When i realized this need for humility, i found it fitting that everyday i have to walk under these huge sky scrappers. It always makes me remember how small i am in this world and that there are bigger things than me. Also, in a weird way, it makes me feel hopeful- i don't really know for what necessarily.


I get that sense of humility and hope when studying Architecture History. Seeing the beauty that people can create whether out of necessity, love for art, or love for God.

After writing this, I'm still not sure whether my built environment affects who I am or if who I am affects the way i view environment. Maybe one doesn't affect the other, but we work together.

February 26, 2008

Be the change you want to see in the World

It took me a while to figure out what i would do with my time if i was released from the school system. I like having guidelines, i like doing homework, accomplishing projects by deadlines, and if i get a good grade it just encourages me that im actually doing something right.

After being in school all my life, its quite discombobulating to be free of all rules. What do i do with the knowledge that i've acquired? I have been studying all this time to be something, pigeoned holed under a major. However, when we are out in the real world after we graduate, we can be whatever we want to be. No one telling you that since you studying architecture, you need to do a,b,c,and d before your time here is up. But what about after?! tell me what to do! Its hard to think about change.

But instead of being anxious and somewhat pessimistic, i guess i could be optimistic. Change can be good, scary, but good. Instead of thinking about the effects it would have on my comfort zone, i could get over myself and think about more important things. how can i help? how can i effect positive change in the world?

what do i want to see fixed?

The lack of respect we have for each other; the gap that we make between one another: Between us and the homeless, the drug abusers, the poor, the under educated, children being children. I feel a certain lack for human life. We don't see similarities. Its US versus THEM. Theres no need to intermingle worlds.

If i was free from the confines of the school systems, i would want to volunteer, i would want to work for an organization dedicated to the welfare of children. To help get families back on their feet. I want to help them get housing and jobs

I want to start at the root of the problem. To not work behind a desk, but to work with the people themselves and to see them succeed.

I want to get involved with those people and make them homes.

i guess i want to be in charge of habitat for humanity.


or the next Ty Pennington


February 18, 2008

Children=Future (part 2)

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src="http://blog.lib.umn.edu/skemp013/architecture/st.agnes-thumb.jpg" width="130" height="98" alt="" />

The pictures above ( in case they are not appearing) are of children, my church, and my family.

The children are initailly what influenced my choice for the trem Project, homelessness and poverty. I am going to be brutally honest and say that when i hear of homeless adults i am not as outraged at the injustice as i am when i hear about homeless children. I believe (as stated in my previous blog) that children dre our future. It is our duty as experienced asults to porvide them with solid foundation, goals, values, tools to achieve them, adn more importantly the hope and encouragement that it is possible. How do we typically go about that? We raise children in homes with family, surround them with friends, give them schooling, etc. When we take those means away and leave our children homeless, how do we expect to achieve our end?

I, of course, was, still am in some cases, a child once. Who i am now and what i believe ( goals, morals, values,etc)
are direct derivatives of the way i was raised. The two other images are representations of my foundation. One is a picture of my church in St. Paul. The other is a photo of my family. i know its a little corny.

These are not only past essentials to my life, but still are. Its these things that i could not live without. If, as a child, you had taken those away from me, i don't know where i would be today.

47% of homeless children suffer from depression and anxiety versus the 18% of other children.

22% of homeless children are separated form their families.

5,000 homeless children die from assault, illness, or suicide a year

We were all children once. We all have different foundations, things that define us. It is necessary that all children have those qualities.

February 8, 2008


For my social design issue in the twin cities, I chose to advocate the free children programs at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. This might not not typically be considered a "Social design" issue, BUT it is a social design revolved around important sociological issues AND those issues are presented through design ( Film , Lectures, Exhibits, Art projects etc.)

In the past the walker had had some interesting events for children. For example, last October they collaborated with Solution Twin Cities to create an event called, " Move Your World". The event focused on the importance of our youth to be mindful of the present world, the world they will inherit, and how they can improve it.

A regular event at the Walker is Arty Pants. Arty Pants is every first and fourth Tuesday of the month at 11am-1pm. Its a parent-children play date involving interactive art activities. http://calendar.walkerart.org/event.wac?id=3541

An upcoming event is "Film:Girls in the Director's Chair". The film helps kids "explore and connect the dots between the messages in the mass media". http://calendar.walkerart.org/event.wac?id=4250

February 1, 2008

Energy Flow Through Our City

when thinking about the transformation and flow of energy throughout our society, i started asking myself what KIND of energy are we talking about??

I then thought of this idea of the exchange of positive and negative energy. NOT a scientific exchange, but rather a social exchange.

What examples of negative energy are happening in our world? Hurricane Katrina, Tsunami, Iraq War, Global Warming, Abuse, Poverty, Homelessness....

What examples of positive energy are counteracting them? Brad PItt's services in New Orleans, Tsunami Aid, Shelters, "Going Green"...

We see the aforesaid energy exchanges as somewhat obvious. However, this positive and negative energy exchange occurs in small every day matters. Buy your clothes at one store and some of the profits go to the fight against breast cancer or buy the red ipod and support aids research. even by simply putting a " Support Peace" sign on your lawn or on the back of your car sends out some energy-not necessarily a tangible energy that you can point out say, through money donations- but an energy nonetheless.
Whenever there is a source of negative energy in our world,it seems we come together to produce a positive one to counteract it-not SOLVING the negative problem immediately ( we still are battling breast cancer, mind you)-but through our positive energy (Hope?) we maintain a feeling that its possible.