In my previous post, I addressed some assumptions author Vishaan Chakrabarti makes in How Density Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters. I don’t mean to single out Mr. Chakrabarti – many of his points are well-taken. Among them the reduced energy consumption of urban dwellers, balanced by his acknowledgment that “[r]egardless of the inherent environmental advantages of urban living, however, cities are vulnerable sets of materials and systems, and Sandy revealed some of their glaring deficiencies.” Over at messysystems.com, we can certainly appreciate the notion of a city’s resilience as a resultant of its systems. However, let’s look at examples of when density does and doesn’t make ‘us’ safer during disasters. [Read more…] about Disasters depend
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.