Blog 1: Energy, Flow, and Transformation Through the City
Life is full of cycles. Architecture also has its own cycle. Today's culture in America, seems to put a lot of emphasis on creating the best, longest lasting products for the least expense. This is true from the manufactured products we use everyday to the buildings we live and work in. If a product lasts a long time, it will not have to be replaced and therefore paid for again. Consumers don't like products that break down right away.
Buildings are thought of in quite the same way--they are to stand and function for more than just our lifetime. After a certain number of years, if the building is not maintained, it will need to be changed/remodeled or replaced. A change in cultural conditions, environment, or even in need, can affect the status of a structure. Over time, things may be added, taken away, reconstructed, and sometimes rebuilt altogether. It may even be decided that a building isn't needed at all anymore.
Architecture is meant to serve its purpose for an amount of time. Because of that, it doesn't always represent the environment it's a part of. This happens because our world is constantly changing, growing, evolving, and becoming something new. Cities evolve as technology, values, and lifestyles change.
As the world changes, so do the the needs and the answers to those needs.Almost nothing stays the same forever.
Coming into the U as a transfer student this past fall, a lot of things were new to me. I am still getting used to this environment. I've lived in the Minneapolis region for the past three years now, but there is one thing I've noticed. With so many people seeming to care about the environment, and global warming, etc., I start to think about what we as humans have already done.
Just a little comment: Now, whether or not you or I believe in global warming--we should still take care of our earth.
Okay, back to the issue. As I'm sure most students have noticed, when walking around campus, there are these really cool garbage/recycling bins!! I think that is so neat. Some cool person (kudos to whoever is in charge of that) had that great idea. It makes it a lot easier to recycle something instead of just throwing it away. The cool thing is, that this isn't just happening at one point in campus. These recycling 'facilities' are all over campus. Even inside the buildings, there are usually 3-4 bins. One for plastics, one for trash, one for paper, etc. How cool is that?!
As college students, to be influenced and have the opportunity to practice and get in the habit of being efficient with our use of resources, is so wonderful. As we get older and have families (or not have families), we still will have an influence on the generation after us--whether as teachers, lawyers, doctors....to name a few.
Now, this recycling thing isn't found at the U of M, other businesses are starting to do their part too!! At my job, every week, we get rid of a lot of paper (well, what I consider to be a lot of paper)--and it's a store, not an office!! Imagine how much paper gets thrown away at the office. Understandably some of it is sensitive material...blah blah blah...so shred it and then recycle it. But, anyways, at my work, it makes me happy that they are at least making an attempt at recycling a little bit. I know it's just a start, but the opportunity has to be created before the public is going to take hold of the movement and run with it.
Because it's all good and fine to WANT to take care of our resources and 'reduce, reuse, and recycle' as they say...but when it comes down to it...if no one gives you an opportunity to do it, you're probably just going to throw whatever it is in your hand, away, in the garbage can.
There is so much more to say, I could probably go on for awhile, but in case anyone actually reads this, besides the T.A.'s, I'll stop for now and just leave you with some other thoughts.
How much plastic is used every day.......how much paper is used every day....how much of what we use is reusable......how much of what we use ISN'T reusable.....how much do we drive--by ourselves--and not take the bus (because we don't know which bus to take or "people on the bus are scary")........ how much water do we use....how much water do we really need to use....how much electricity do we use.........how much of what we buy is covered in a reusable form of packaging.......
In 1281, we took an online quiz about how many earth's we would use up if the whole world lived like us. I consider myself to be pretty economical and responsible with my resources most of the time. And if everyone lived like me, it would still use up more than one earth. That really shocked me. I think I am going to put that link up here when I get the chance to look for it. And hopefully some more interesting facts.
Blog 3: AIDS Malaria and other disease prevention/education
QUOTES, PLAYLIST, IMAGES
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
AIDS, malaria, yellow fever, TB, malnutrition, poverty--to me these are common words when I think of third world countries, places that for some reason haven't received help or education needed to curb these preventable things.
Something as simple as a net, can stop the spread of some diseases carried by bugs and mosquitos.
Something as simple as education, can stop the spread of AIDS/HIV.
According to healthfacts.org,
*AIDS affects 33 million people—the top 10 mostly includes countries in Africa, India, and the United States.
*The population has now reached 6.6 billion people—China with 1.3 billion and India with 1.1 billion.*Tuberculois affects over 14 million people—5 million of those in India and China. If I've done my math correctly, 1 person in every 200, is living with AIDS. And these numbers are changing daily.
People living with HIV/AIDS (adults and children)
Global Data, 2007; Country Data,
*Malaria affects over 408 million people—the countries with the largest affected population being in Africa.
These numbers are estimated to be grossly under-reported. Malaria is a deadly parasitic disease, transmitted by mosquitoes. THIS IS A PREVENTABLE DISEASE.
*TB or Tuberculosis affects over 14 million people, the top two countries being India and China, then several African countries to follow. TB is caused by a bacteria, (mycobacterium tuberculosis, if you're interested). THIS TOO IS A PREVENTABLE DISEASE!!!
*28% of our population is believed to be under age 15—that is almost 1/3 of people. In Uganda, for example, 50% of the population is under 15. FIFTY PERCENT! (1 out of 2). Many CHILDREN, are dealing with these diseases. Not just one disease, but maybe two or three. Studies are being done right now suggesting AIDS/HIV infected people, are more likely to contract malaria.
Add in factors like malnutrition, no clean water, and no sanitation--there you go. All of these factors work together to worsen the effects of the others.
We are so blessed here in America and in the developed world to have medical facilities. We have researchers who study and teach us what they find. We don’t think twice about how we can drive to the doctor or go at least go to the library to look on the internet for an answer to our questions—medical or not. Many do not have any of these advantages.
We have clean water. We have schools. We have teachers. We have books. We have the ability to read (if you can’t read, then I’m going to guess that you’re not reading this). We have the ability to write (or at least to learn how). We have people to teach us how to read and write. We have transportation. We have a government that tries to work with the people. We have a government that tries to be led by the voice of the people. We have a government that tries to give us freedoms. We aren’t scared of neighboring towns bombing us. We have the ability to see the world without even leaving our home or our city or state. We have food. We have vitamins. We have jobs. We have the ability to decide what our future will be like. We have freedom of religion(at least more than some other countries). We have cars. We have computers. We have boats. We have planes. We have cameras.
We are in the minority. Most of the world, does not enjoy these freedoms.
We have basic medical knowledge. We know that germs can make us sick. We know that we can make others sick by being close to them. We know so much about health, that a majority of the world is clueless about. We have so much information. We have the ability to travel, to teach, and to save lives. Though we may not be rich where we’re at, we are considered so in most of the world.
All we have to do is share the information we have such easy access to. We can donate nets to keep the mosquitoes out, we can go on missions trips and help educate, teach, and treat people affected by these diseases. Something we consider small, is huge to those in underdeveloped countries.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying most of the world is helpless, but there are things we can do to help and it is wrong to stand by and watch bad things happen. As human beings, we need to look out for each other.
-->Check out these sites, where the info came from:
If I was not bound by the chains of the University academia...
I would be doing things more applicable to my interests. I would be learning in an apprenticeship type job about the building and design process, and I would be building houses for people--anywhere. The ghetto, the city, the country, the desert, the mountains, or even a different continent. Anywhere they are needed, anywhere people can't afford them, I want to help them with that. In so many places, families (and people in general) don't have adequate homes. This has been most recently drawn to our attention by several natural disasters in the last couple of years. People have been left without basic decent shelter.
I would love to do this designing, planning, and building for anyone, but I especially care about those who can't, don't have the resources, or the knowledge to do it for themselves. I would love to come in with a team of people who can help and give the owners information on what is available and how we can meet their needs. For example: today, so many people live with disabilities. This is not only expensive in terms of medical bills, but also in terms of accessibility and living options. A team of people could come to a family and give them resources they didn't even know existed, link them up with other families in the same or similar situations. A lot of us here in America are so blessed, and have been given gifts, but we don't use them, and we definitely don't usually think about the well being of others.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition has been a big inspiration to me, in terms of this. The idea that was formulating in my head, has already been set into action. People are being helped and lives are being changed. Granted, I don't believe housing is the most important thing in this life, but I do believe having a home, a place to call your own, to live safely, securely, and protected from the elements, can increase your well being physically and emotionally, allowing you to pursue your other life goals.
I am not only interested in housing, but also in building a school. I would like to build a new elementary, middle, and high school for my small hometown in southern Minnesota. This is a passion of mine partly because when I was attending school there, I became aware of many issues that could easily be fixed, if the towns people would be willing to put a few of their dollars each year into new ADEQUATE facilities. The first year the referendum was proposed, an amazing high-tech, efficient plan was proposed with MILLIONS of dollars in grants to be awarded from the government if the plan was passed.
IT DIDN'T PASS.
So if I could, I would round up a team to design and build a new school for my town, combining resources like libraries and computer labs, lunch rooms, gymnasiums, theaters, and even teachers that teach at both middle and high school.
Daylight comes and breaks through the darkness, lighting up the world.
Night exists because light fades away. The day is gone.
But we know it will be back again.
Its the stability that helps us tell time.
That constant pattern of day and night helps us to see seasons.
Fall and winter and spring and summer.
Everything is made of pieces.
People have bodies made up of so many parts.
Our bodies have systems, which are made up of organs which are made up of tissues which are made up of cells, which are made of many different cell parts which are made of---well...i could go on. ...down to the atomic level......does ever it stop?
The point is, things influnence other things.
Things work together to create other different things.
And some things exist because other things exist.
Life exists because seeds were planted.
A tree grows from the ground.
A baby grows from the womb.
Forests and families grow.
Life also occurs in cycles.
This cycle is stable.
Birth. Newborn. Child. Teen. Adult.
A time to live and a time to die.
It’s a pretty predictable cycle. Life is kind of a phenomena. We know where it comes from, how it’s produced and how the cycle works, but yet we cannot escape from its boundaries. Everyone is part of that cycle and cannot be
removed from it.
Explain through image and text how the BUILT ENVIRONMENT affects (supports or detracts) from who you are. Speculate in terms of frameworks, clockworks, phenomena, and oppositions.
The built environment plays a huge role in our lives, both consciously and unconsciously. I see that in my own life in the houses I've grown up in. The places we dwell really shape who we are and what we think, our preferences, and even who we become.
We feel...well, I feel..."homey" in the houses I've grown up in. They happen to be older homes, unique in their style and reminiscent of an older time. Of course when my family moved in, we placed our stamp of ownership on what was once someone else's. It became "ours." Most of my memories and times of comfort can be traced back to one of those houses. Funny how much time is spent away from home, yet how much I remember being there.
How much have I been affected by my surroundings? Probably more than I know. But I think once removed from my comfort zone (wherever that may be) I realize it's more than just "the home" itself that makes it my home. It's the block I lived on, the neighbors I had, the street I'd walk to school on, the small town I was a part of, and even the landscape--the landscape transformed by man into farms and fields, and the natural-->the lakes, woods, and animal life;
It doesn't stay at that scale, but who I am and what defines me keeps expanding from my city-->to my state-->region-->country-->continent-->hemisphere-->world-->earth-->planetary system-->Milky Way-->into outer space and the unknown.
Who I am is more than just the physical characteristics, though. It's also the way I spent my time, the way my parents spent their time. The days and nights we had, our schedules, our lifestyles and the way we responded to our environments, even the friends we have. These might not be physical, but are definitely built.
Here are some things that will hopefully help with our term projects....hm....
i saw some cool stuff but i'm not really exactly sure how to put any of this stuff onto my site. A lot of it I couldn't copy or download, which is fine, but I saw some cool layouts and awesome pictures. I got some ideas to talk about in section next time, maybe some of these ideas we could use in our document.
I was shocked to hear that 2,300 apartment units in Minneapolis had been converted to condominiums in the last 5 years. It makes sense, though. I have seen many of these nice, new, stylish living spaces. I, however, could probably never afford to live in one of these places, and I know that many families cannot either.
Design in Minneapolis needs to come back to help its actual citizens--not just 'utopian citizens' or 'prospective citizens' or the 'kind of citizens we want to attract' because Minneapolis already has thousands of citizens who are homeless or almost too that point, because of the high cost of housing.
Simple solutions that don't need to be invented, and don't cost massive amounts of money, are readily available.
Riverside Plaza, built by Ralph Rapson in 1971, is a prime example of a building that could use these solutions. Riverside was once a nice place to live, even aesthetically appealing. Today it has fallen into kind of a disrepair--but one that CAN be fixed.
By implementing just a few of these solutions, Riverside could become more self-sustaining, costing less money to keep up, resulting in lower housing costs!!!
-Water-saving shower heads
-Energy saving light bubs--even one per apartment
-High efficiency laundry machines
-Up to date, low-E windows
-New paint--ex: light/white-clean color; reflects the suns rays, helps to keep building cooler in summer;
More things are available, these are just a few options. Minneapolis can have lower income housing options that are decent and desirable for families and individuals. Low income families are human beings too, and they deserve a place to live just like everyone else. Smart design can bring us there.
In many countries, technology is not available, especially in the capacity most of us reading this are used to. Unfortunately a lot of these countries are also those with unstable climates, governmental problems, extreme poverty and disease, and lack of education.
In these countries, it is possible to bring technology in and make positive changes. With the wireless technology available today, it is much easier to connect and set up internet and other types of communication and information transfer. It is entirely possible to skip the landline phase and go straight to wireless.
Communication like this can bring education to anywhere in the world. It can cut down on travel time, so those without vehicles can check market prices without losing a day just in travel time. Communication can also help governments have successful elections!! More people can be informed about the nation's issues and candidates and know when and where elections are taking place.
From 2000-2006, cell phone usage in Kenya went from 15,000 to 6,000,000!!!!!!!
In Somalia, increases are happening too, but at a much slower rate. Slowly, these options are becoming available. There are 3 communication companies offering service in these areas.
The new $100 laptop designed at MIT has been specially made as an educational tool for kids all over the world. Unfortunately right now, it is only available through governments, so those nations with unstable governments do not receive this amazing technology.
But, there is hope. With growing communication, these laptops are already one step closer.