Last time (part 2), we visited a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train. This time, we visit a state-of-the-art Chicago high school where the windows of a special needs classroom once looked out onto a barren, uninspiring landscape.
Last time (part 1), we were introduced to Urban Habitat Chicago, took off our shoes, and stretched our feet on an edible lawn. This time, we visit a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train.
In the fall of 1862, crops were disappearing, mysteriously, from the fields around the tranquil Shaker community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.
A watch was ordered over several nights to see what was happening when the incident was brought to the attention of the governing Elders and Eldresses. The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862, brought the Civil War within seventeen miles of the close-knit, pacifist community’s doorstep. Soldiers from both Union and Confederate armies, it was revealed, were stealing the crops from the fields at night. [Read more…] about Urban Habitat Chicago Redux: 10 years of productive urban landscapes (part 1 of 3)
There is no doubt that sustainability is the future of both architectural and landscape design. Most of the time, when landscapers and homeowners think of sustainable landscaping, they think of rain barrels, compost piles and vegetable gardens. True sustainable landscaping can be so much more than that. [Read more…] about Design For The Future: Sustainable Landscapes
Summer is the season for symposia, conferences, workshops, and the like.
The mind and body rebel a bit at being kept indoors, especially on fine days, and especially at those events ostensibly about the environment, but held largely apart from, or in spite of it. Attendees fight to stay awake, praying for that next coffee break near overlooked, empty bathrooms, huddled in highly air-conditioned rooms, optimally suited for viewing digital projections, eating lunches out of boxes which might or might not be recycled, depending upon how lucky one might be.
But, occasionally, these brief periods of sensory deprivation are worth it.
Even more rarely, they might very well be essential.
MIT Sea Grant’s Climate Change Symposium: Sustaining Coastal Cities, held June 16-18, 2014 in Cambridge, MA, was just one of these occasions. [Read more…] about ‘Adapt, We May’ – The Chelsea Way: Regional Resilience and America’s Coastal Cities
In Part 1 of this series, we explored the context that made greenfield or exurban sites attractive for post-earthquake recovery in Haiti, as well as two examples of this strategy. Part 2 takes us to two examples of government-built housing, the informal settlement of Canaan, and draws some conclusions. [Read more…] about Promised Lands: 5 Examples of Housing Developments in Haiti (part 2 of 2)
A good friend and colleague of mine, and a very talented architect, always insisted that with respect to social housing, ‘humanitarian design’, or whatever other term one cares to employ, we as designers should not experiment on people who have few alternatives. [Read more…] about Promised Lands: 5 Examples of Housing Developments in Haiti (part 1 of 2)
There is no away
On some philosophical level, most of us recognize the truth in this adage which has gained traction in recent years. [Read more…] about The ravines of Port-au-Prince (part 2)
The ravines of Port-au-Prince represent for me a perfect distillation of adjectives about this city.