via Nutcracker Man
via Bruce Sterling
Marcelo López-Dinardi reviews ‘First, The Forests‘, a new exhibit at CCA. The curatorial project is “organized under four categories that provide the interpreter with a synthetic view of the complex and larger phenomenon of forestry and nature. These are: Bureaucratic Forestry, Scientific Forestry, Tropical Forestry and Economic Forestry“.
Back in April, Susan Piedmont-Palladino published “the Uncanny Valley“, about architecture, digital drawing and photo-realistic rendering. She first argues.
“Architecture demands an intersection; but not a total eclipse. When reality eclipses the imagination, the result is banality; when the imagination eclipses reality, then we have abandoned architecture for the untethered spheres of science fiction, or gaming, or art. It’s at this point that images become ends in themselves rather than representations of a plausible new reality.”
She then identifies two specific tells of uncanniness in this context; 1) deployment of perspective and 2) a performative inclusion of (happy) people in a drawing.
Later, Barbara Penner explored how the issues of gender, disability, and user-centeredness have been relegated to the far margins of architectural history. Yet, we read.
“Home economics comprised not only corporate consultants like Frederick but also university-based researchers such as the ones pursuing disability studies, who had a different audience and approach…Cornell’s College of Home Economics had a dedicated department of housing and design in which an all-female staff of seven instructors taught subjects ranging from furniture refurbishment to farmhouse planning. Over many decades, they developed a distinct mode of design education and practice characterized by cooperation, skills sharing, and a highly customized body-centered approach.”
Then in May, Vittoria Di Palmaand and Alexander Robinson reviewed the epic struggle for control, which characterizes the history, between Los Angeles and its river. With a hopeful look towards recent and ongoing attempts at an arts-led, DIY, revitalization.
“Indeed, the remarkable activity generated by the Los Angeles River — which as yet remains largely a concrete channel bisected by a thin course of water — testifies to the profound power of the city’s desire for ecological redemption and urban rebirth, and to ways in which civic or even poetic acts have found purchase within a byzantine network of managerial interests. Nonetheless there remains the distinct possibility that moneyed interests will distort the original ideals. Even as Los Angeles seems to pulsate with the river’s irrepressible spirit, the river’s future is clouded by a fog of unresolved social, technical, and environmental factors.”
Finally, Dr. Nitin K. Ahuja raises some concerns regarding trends “toward more formally ambitious hospice design” which utilize “evidence-based design” and “best practices” or on the flip-side, domesticated, home-hospice like spaces.
In the end although, he does believe in the merits of palliative care, he favors an “unbraiding of its clinical, economic, and aesthetic justifications. As far as aesthetics go, I’m with Nuland — I’ve seen enough vulnerability at the end of life to know that a bit of grisliness is inescapable.“
There can be no success in “right to the city” struggles that is not, simultaneously, a success in democratically decarbonizing urban life. Once we realize that several core stakes of right-to-the-city struggles—especially housing, transit, and land use—are the also the core stakes of low-carbon urbanism, we see that it is no longer possible (or desirable) to deeply distinguish social from environmental politics
Two published this month;
Daegan Miller, On the liberation cartography of Henry David Thoreau, which concludes
It is tempting to read Thoreau’s river survey as a satirical anti-map, a snide rejection of disciplinary pretension that leaves its viewer wallowing in relativism. How could anyone measure anything with a tripolar scale whose differing notions of what an inch is babble over each other? But irony is only one of the tropes that Thoreau drew on. He was always more interested in improvement than deconstruction, and his countermodern map is affirming in its self-aware subjectivity, its desire to picture Concord as situated in a landscape teeming with life and human usage. This was a political choice. If Baldwin’s and Perham’s Concord River is anonymous and untouched and dead, an ahistorical space that denies change, a river that can be manipulated and controlled; then all those notes pinpointing where the plants grew, all those piles of figures and ghosts of surveys past, make of Thoreau’s a deep map — a view of an impressively interconnected world where nature, commerce, culture, history, and imagination all grow together — something nonfungible and specific: a full, a wild land living at once beyond and beneath the confined landscape of the town’s grasping improvers, both agricultural and industrial, who, despite their superficial differences, ultimately agreed that the best use of a river is to turn a profit.
Lizzie Yarina on Negotiating rhetorics and imaginaries of climate resilience, wherein she examines four large cities in Southeast Asia facing major climate risks: Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok. As she explains
Across Southeast Asia, infrastructures (often at incredible scales) are promoted as the answer to climate and environmental risks. Importantly, these projects provide an image of resilience, even if the actual merits are uncertain. But when I spoke with technical experts on the ground in these four cities, they emphasized the gap between what is attractive and what is needed….But the deeper and more insidious problem is that the technocratic language of climate adaptation rationalizes mass evictions….Too often, global media and institutions measure the impact of disasters by their monetary cost, rather than by the number of lives lost or impaired. We must ask, then, whether climate change adaptation is framed through the same lens. Do resilience projects truly alleviate risks for those who are most vulnerable to floods, storms, and heat? Or do they protect investments and foster speculative development by global elites? When adaptation planning is sponsored by developers or international banks, these categories become blurry.
“For architects and their clients, and others in the construction industry, the right scale is almost certainly at a single building, site or project scale. However, we should be focussed on radical energy efficiency, not on balancing complex CO2 accounts.
Passivhaus Standard buildings are radically energy efficient and ensure very low CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the building. And importantly, passivhaus buildings match this with simplicity, comfort and reliability.”
Read more, via Elrond Burrell