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Prompt #8: Critique

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The first group which went today presented the first millennium goal: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The first thing I have to say is that their document was amazing. It looked almost like the portfolios which we viewed in class. The document was well organized and was broken into three notable sections: what are poverty and hunger?, successful architectural attempts, and failed architectural attempts. The only problem which I noticed was that there was an overwhelming amount of text on the pages and few visual aids. The visuals which were there, however, did add to what was being discussed. A few of their points really stood out to me although I have heard them before. For example, I have not heard the famous quote “history repeats itself? in reference to poverty. It is interesting to actually consider how there has been some sort of caste system with a majority of the people on the bottom and a minority at the top. I don’t know if it will ever actually be possible for poverty and hunger to be completely removed. One reason is because the human population continues to grow and there will eventually be a point, if we haven’t already reached it, where we surpass the carrying capacity. After all, our resources are not unlimited.

They also discussed the correlation between poverty and crime and they stated how there has been a recent trend of rising poverty in the suburbs. It is an interesting phenomenon how the gentrification of a city’s center will stir the upper and middle classes to move back to downtown areas. The suburbs were actually generated as a result of citizens attempting to move out of the city.

I was initially a little confused as to whether the group’s proposed urban living complex was an actual city proposal or just the group’s idea of what would be an ideal construct. It was neat how they took the idea of Rural Studio and applied it to the Twin Cities. I only have a few items of critique in reference to the proposal. First of all, the project seemed to focus more on creating a sustainable building than a solution to local poverty. The edifice would only help a few families and probably wouldn’t help them to exit the realm of poverty permanently. Overall, the group members were obviously knowledgeable of the content and had some quality ideas.

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The second group’s project, which was about the insane development which is Dubai, discussed the goal of developing a global partnership for development. Although it may be a bit nitpicky, I thought that they should have stated which goal they were discussing. (I don’t remember them mentioning which goal they delved into, but it is possible that I just missed it.) Their concept was very creative with their entire design influenced by the idea of Dubai as a “package?. Along with the package idea, it is interesting how Dubai is re-exporting its tourism-based economy to other developing nations. Graphically, the document was very useful for conveying the project goal.

One problem was that the group didn’t discus each of their subtopics (economy, education, tourism, structure, and technology) evenly. It made it seem as though some aspects of Dubai were more important than others. The economy was talked about quite a bit with the focus on tourism and Dubai's unique currency. The goal of educating youths in developing countries, but I was somewhat confused by how the development would play a role. Tourism was obviously huge and the group described how labor is being imported, how a sustainable economy is being created around tourism, and how this new culture gets rid of the local culture and instead focuses on “glitz and glamour?. The last bit about immense allure reminded me of our earlier discussion about Times Square. The structure portion was about Dubai as an “industrial city? and how it is considered to “not be prone to human failings?. A vast number of stadiums, rapid construction, and helicopter taxis show how Dubai is attempting to become the city of the future. Finally, in regard to technology, I wonder how the city will stand up to the extreme amount of water and power which will be required to keep its infrastructure flowing smoothly.

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I also noticed a picture which we had in our project of a bamboo house and had to chuckle internally, but just a little.

Honestly, after viewing the projects which other groups came up with, I almost feel as though our document is inadequate.