[iDC] Re: Interactive City: irrelevant mobile entertainment?

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Thu Sep 7 11:54:04 EDT 2006

>If possible, I would appreciate an elaboration and/or further 
>delineation of the issues of "responsive systems and sustainability 
>" raised in this post.  Sustainability is certainly a buzzword - and 
>has been in architectural and design circles for some time.  It is 
>also a critical path of research and actual built practice with 
>which I have been acquainted for the past 15 years or so - as I'm 
>certain you have been as well.  However, I don't sense  that you are 
>referencing the built environment per se ...

Just wanted to point out a collaborative online project about 
architecture that a friend of mine, Udo Noll, created some years 
back.  It's called "parole" and it is still accreting content, though 
I have not recently explored it in detail ...


info at http://parole.aporee.org/info

And on the idea of sustainability, I feel that the discussion is SO 
incredibly theoretical (or detached from the reality) that...  well...

I say this after the comments about how many people in the world 
are/will be living in urban slums (i.e., completely out of the 
control or reach of political applied 'solutions' of architecture), 
AND, having just made another traverse across a part of the SouthWest 
of the US.  In the particular macro climate of this region ALL houses 
would benefit immediately from active or passive solar construction. 
Passive being the simple/general orientation of the 
house/windows/mass in relation to the solar azimuth; active being 
solar-electric panels, solar water heaters, and particular 
construction attributes (insulation, air circulation systems, etc). 
But imagine, in this developed world, where 4-500m2 houses have been 
going up at an astonishing rate in the last decade, covering the 
landscape, no more than 1% have even passive components! (That's an 
non-empirical number from intensive observation over the last years 
-- I suspect that the real number is less).  When I see this to be 
the case, I really feel that the word sustainability is devalued when 
used in the context of an academic debate.  Another words, if the 
transition from theory-to-practice of well-known, often simple, and 
very cost-effective technologies that have been talked about since 
the 1960's (in the recent historical context) has the result of what 
I observe across the southwest now, 40 years later, what practical 
expectation can we have that things will change.

Understood that economic pressures from rising hydrocarbon energy 
prices begin to have an impact (though on the ground, the way that 
those ideas get translated to built practice are through State and 
Federal tax legislation (which historically have been present from 
time-to-time) that gives tax rebates on energy-efficient elements in 
house construction

As Christiane suggests above, sustainability is a (built) practice, 
it's not a theory.  If people don't have a self-applied sustainable 
relationship with the system they live in, I just don't understand 
how we can expect to force people into this relationship -- unless we 
enter the command-and-control systems of living that are suggested 
implicitly in the "internet of things" discussion.  But I have almost 
total doubt about top-down applications of  'sustainable' living 
standards of this type...

I mean, reading that Songdo City article -- are there really people 
studying these issues who think that these mentalities represent a 
sustainable system?:

"Residents will enjoy "full videoconferencing calls between 
neighbors, video on demand and wireless access to their digital 
content and property from anywhere in Songdo," he said."

"U-life will become its own brand, its own lifestyle."

"Korea has gathered the world's attention with its CDMA and mobile 
technologies," Mr. An wrote, referring to digital cellular standards. 
"Now we need to prepare ourselves for the next market,"

I mean, really, if so, that is something that I cannot wrap my 
sensibilities around as being a 'solution' to the problems we are 
facing in the world.  It sounds to mee like an incredibly 
vainglorious reach of "the market" to suck anything like 
sustainability right out of hands of those who would benefit most, 
and into the hands of those who sell such ideas to politicians, as a 
form of power...

How many architects live in self-constructed sustainable situations 
-- I think very few...


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