March 13, 2008


Well this will probably be more boring of a blog, but I'll try and keep it as exciting as I can. There are many ways I know how and have seen to present a term project. The norm is powerpoint, I've seen slideshows through this program since grade school and have been making projects with it since then. Of course I don't use nearly as many sounds or animations as I did back in the day (which was a Wednesday by the way), but I still use it just as effectively as back then. The only problem with powerpoint is its boring, its been overdone, few will pay much attention if they have to go through yet another powerpoint presentation, so perhaps it's time for a change.

We could create a movie or documentary. I really enjoy those, the only problem is I don't have a video camera, but someone in my group might. If they do, I'll look into it, because that could not only be very engaging to the viewer but fun to make at that.

I heard someone mention creating a design for a billboard, which I think is a great idea, especially with the nature of the project at stake. I just question if enough information could be put into such a design to fulfill all the requirements of the project. But again, it is something I'll look more into with my group mates.

Finally, we could present our idea as a model. Part of the solution to our project, I believe, is a new kind of building that is very affordable, we could create a model of that.

As of now I'm not sure what we'll do, but if we have the materials, and the rest of my group is on board, I think a documentary/video would be a great idea.

March 6, 2008

The built enivornment and me!

The built environment affects everybody, not just myself, and not just you who read this, but everybody. It determines the quality and design of our physical environment, can cause or prevent illness, disability and injury, and degrade or preserve natural resources. The physical environment can cause or contribute to obesity, asthma, and lead poisoning as well as injuries. For example, if as a child you had a very cozy built environment surround you, you may rarely have felt the need or want to go outside or go exercise, thus potentially leading to obesity. If at the park you played on a jungle gym made with lead paint, you could become victim to lead poisoning. If a built structure is unsafe, you could fall off and hurt yourself.

Of course, that isn't to say that all structures within the built environment are bad for the human body, much of it can have positive effects as well. It has been suggested that the built environment can add or take away stress. If you're in an environment that allows you to feel more peaceful, less stressed, and you happen to be ill, you will (have a higher chance to) recover more quickly. Perhaps, this is something to take into consideration when choosing a doctor or hospital.

(I don't think I'd feel comfortable or less stressed if I were in this hospital)

The built environment can scare or confuse us with its art or design. Abandoned old buildings can scare us deeply, we may start to believe we hear noises in the buildings (maybe we do!), perhaps we'll see something move with nothing there to move it. Perhaps its the paranormal, or maybe its our mind reacting to the environment, or maybe its both, regardless, it can be scary as hell. I actually do have a ghost story, I'm 99.9% sure it was a ghost, there are few other explanations. As a child I went to my great uncle's house with my parents and he explained how about a week ago when he was digging in the garden, he came across an old gravestone, buried beneath the dirt. Ever since that day spooky things would happen. Footsteps could be heard on the stairs when no one else was in the building, cups and bottles would fly off the shelves and tables. Locked doors would unlock and open. I witnessed that latter for myself, when I was in the bathroom, as soon as the door opened I felt a cold chill throughout my body, I quickly ran out of the bathroom without flushing to find my mom. My great uncle found a toy gun and would place it next to the doors he would lock and amazingly, they never unlocked by "themselves" again. Maybe thats not really a built environment story, but I find it very creepy and enjoy telling it.

February 21, 2008

To Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

hands helping




The reason I chose these images seem pretty straightforward, but I'll go into some detail. First, the two hands grasping each other is the kind of view I want for all of us to believe in. We need to reach out to others that are need, those that live in poverty, and those that live with hunger.
As far as the comic goes that really doesn't need any explanation, its a humorous, yet dark view of how much poverty some may live in.
The picture of John Edwards is there because one of his main causes in his run for presidency was to end poverty and hunger. My vote was going to go to Obama from the start, but were he not there, it would have gone to Edwards, I hope that when all is said and done and Obama gets the nomination (please god) that he chooses Edwards as his running mate. I've read that Edwards has talked to both Obama and Clinton about how he hopes they make ending poverty a concern, so thats good news too.
Finally I placed a picture of a family living in poverty so we can have a visual idea of who it is exactly we are trying to help.

"He who hesitates is lost." - Proverb

I chose this quote because it perfectly reflects the situation of many of us. We hesitate in what we feel we should do, should we help those who live in poverty? Many of us are unsure and we hesitate and consequently we get lost and confused.

"Think about it: Every educated person is not rich, but almost every educated person has a job and a way out of poverty. So education is a fundamental solution to poverty." - Governor Kathleen Blanco

I chose this quote because it actually offers a solution to the problem, education, we need to somehow reach more of those who live in poverty with education.

My Playlist

The Holloways - Most Lonely Face
The Matches - Wake The Sun
The Format - If Work Permits
Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light
Unwritten Law - Save Me (Wake Up Call)
Blink-182 - Not Now
The Early November - Never Coming Back

I will add more songs and an explanation for each one being there in time.

February 14, 2008

A Twin Cities Social Design Issue

All right, I admit it, this is taking the easy way out. But I thought and thought and for the life of me could not think of any other social design issue that affects the twin cities more than this. Perhaps you remember the US highway bridge that in August collapsed into the Mississippi River without reason. Only last month was a conclusion drawn about what happened.

Investigators found a design flaw in the US highway bridge that collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. Steel plates that held the bridge's beams together at eight of its 112 joints were too thin, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said. When the wreckage was recovered, investigators found that those plates had broken, the report said.

And that is a major problem, there needs to be better surveillance of what material goes into making our bridges and buildings, so nothing like this ever happens again. Had more time and more effort gone into building the bridge in the first place, no one would have needlessly died. Luckily, I'm not alone in my outrage, the agency urged highway authorities to check all major steel- truss highway bridges in the country, though it emphasized there was no evidence of a similar problem in other spans.


(A photo of the destruction)

February 7, 2008

Energy, flow and transformation through the city

When asked to describe the energy, flow and transformation through the city, a commercial immediately came to my mind. I've only seen it once, and I don't recall what it was an advertisement for, but it was a powerful image. In the commercial, it showed a city, similar to our own, looks like it may have been New York City, and there were tons of people. The peopled didn't walk though, they were all on individual tracks that they mindlessly flowed across. The ad showed a stop light, sped up, when the walk sign lit up, hundreds of people crossed the street, and then stopped when the don't walk sign lit up, and then the cars passed, and this imagery repeated itself a few more times. Everything was very uniform, all the people appeared to be going to work, but then one person stood out. He wasn't on a track, and he was walking in the opposite direction that everybody else was flowing.
I believe that the point of the commercial was you should find your own track in life. Regardless, the idea of everybody mindlessly following the same routine everyday is a good representation of city flow. While it isn't exciting, it is how a city works, barring of course some unforeseen incident such as a car crash or a natural disaster, at which point the flow is broken down, and to an extent chaos can ensue.
And that I believe is an important thing to take into consideration, if the flow of anything is ever disrupted, things will get confused and pandemonium will take place. Clearly flow is an important part of all of our lives.

The following two scenes are from the first episode of Futurama, in which the main character Fry is frozen in a cryogenic tube for a thousand years, I would have posted the video, but I couldn't find it anywhere:


As you can see, those are two pictures of the same place, but over different time, as the part of the episode went on, it showed 1000 years quickly go by in the background, at which time you saw the city be destroyed by aliens and then rebuilt numerous times, this is a great representation of the transformation of a city over time. Clearly as depicted by the two images above, a city will change tremendously over time (especially if aliens destroy it), man will always build and improve upon the structures that exist (even after being unfrozen from a thousand year slumber), and nothing seems to illustrate this better than this scene in this episode of Futurama. Transformation is a sign of progression and advancements in technology, they gradually happen over time, so we tend not to notice, but if we woke up a thousand years from now, the transformation we would see would probably be too much to handle.