Are We Shedding Urban Driving?

us cars highwayThe long term trend of car dependence has been a source of growing debate among scholars and enthusiasts, whether or not the shift to the millennial generation is marked by a decrease in car ownership and a change in driving patterns. Given the rippling effects that significant declining car use could have on the American economy and its development moving forward, eyes are watching closely to see whether or not its actually happening.

So are we driving less? U.S. PIRG says, “yes.” According to a recent report that compiled data from 100 urban locations around the U.S. from 2006-2011, the once unquestionable dedication to cars seems to be retreating across the country. Continue reading

Real Estate Booms Ignoring Climate Responsive Buildings

night mumbai lightsEven as real estate markets in most of the United States are still in the early stages of recuperating from the throes of the recession, there are still developing countries that are riding an economic wave of a real  estate boom. These changing cities bring an opportunity to explore how the density of the urban environment can adapt and evolve to different environmental resources and climatic restraints around the world—what some designers would see as an inherent recipe for variability and evolution. The problem is that all too often these new versions of urban space are merely copies of western norms, lacking the site-specificity needed to link them to their surroundings.  Continue reading

Apple’s New Home Base is an iPhone

Apple headquaters cupertinoThe most recent set of flashy renderings of Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California make the goals of the building unmistakably clear. With a design from Norman Foster, the tech company’s mothership is depicted as a pristine white ring nestled in a large site strewn with greenery. When we look at the images that include different combinations of white, glass and foliage it is hard not to say “of course.” Of course this is Apple’s new corporate club house. The design is sleek and detailed for modern simplicity. Everything about the building’s appearance resonates with an image of next generation technology. It is kind of like a big iPhone. I would say that the new campus is the perfect manifestation of Apple’s entire business in almost every way, save for one thing: it is trying to be green. This new headquarters is making some strides in its attempts to be more environmentally friendly, but some key aspects still raise the question of whether it is really all that sustainable. Continue reading

In England Greener Homes are Bigger Homes

tiny NY apartment book corner

Imagine a group of dedicated architects banding together to march up to Capitol Hill and lobby for our government to create new mandates to increase the average home size in the country. It is hard to wonder what the argument would be. ‘Two car garages just are not enough.’ ‘That second guest bedroom really comes in handy once or twice a year.’ ‘The survival of the American Dream depends on more space!’ At this point, consumers are supporting purchases along those lines by themselves without the help of architects. Continue reading

Are We Decoupling from Carbon?

coal power plantCritics of proposals to make our country more sustainable often suggest that such measures would raise the prices of products and make it more difficult for the nation to do business–forcing our coveted Gross Domestic Product downward. This argument would suggest that it isn’t possible, or at least very difficult, to reduce the amount of carbon we emit while simultaneously lifting GDP. The thing is, apparently we did that in 2012. Continue reading

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