Potentials; Green Week part 1
It is getting close to earth day and the GSD student group Green Design
(Kera Lagios and Aron Chang co-chairs) decided that instead of celebrating one day they would have events the entire week. The first event was a round table discussion with students from some of Harvard's graduate schools. I represented the GSD in the panel, below is an image of the panel and full name list from left to right:
We started with a 2-minute introduction (also right to left on image and names above). As always the following (very short) notes of what happened are through my filter.
The business school started off with Cedric speaking about his personal experience with consultancy in brownfield redevelopment and their potential economic opportunities. Michael, the second B-school rep, talked about the growth in the Health market. He stated that people will pay more for organic foods and other goods that claim to improve life, the point being that by learning green design architecture planning, and landscape architecture students can take part in that market.
The Law School students brought a realistic legal perspective on the obstacles to real legal change in the green front. They said that The United States legal system really works at the local level and that a main goal should be to have local governments talking to each other and agree on the benefits of green design.
I talked a little about the latest comments by Mark Wigley in BLDGBLOG
, that students are really the ones bringing green change to design school (Toshiko Mori also says in every Open House that sustainability is among the most important things the GSD is working on right now). I also discussed my belief that relatively soon green will be included in building codes and that if we let only the legislators, USGBC, and the developers frame what green is it will lack the depth that academic institutions can provide and the design professions will lose even more power. As Tom Friedman said
, we are in the middle of a global shift and the US can regain its leadership role by embracing and leading in green, I am of the opinion that the same can be applied to the design profession. LEED has its place, and I am thankful it is there, but it is though the leadership of design professionals and academia that we will go beyond LEED to a more holistic approach to sustainable design. I also gave some of the statistics of current energy use and projected growth of the built environment from www.architecture2030.org
Hunt, an economist, did a wonderful job at playing devil's advocate. He challenged the audience and the panel to explain why we need green when the consumers are voting with their dollars to go to the suburbs. His conclusion, during the discussion period, was that these are not real choices people are making,mostly because a green choice is never given, and that an education campaign would cost the economy more than benefit it. It is then up to governments at all levels to take action and require a green built environment.
The Medical School representatives talked about obesity and other disease and their links to the built environment.
We then took questions and discussed with the crowd of about 30-40 that turned up. The most interesting topic of discussion was: where does the responsibility lie? Is it with the government, the design professions, developers, or each individual that interacts with the built environment. It is obvious that everyone in that list shares responsibility and, once again, the professions can be two steps ahead by being ready and willing to come up with innovative interesting designs that green the built environment.
These are very quick notes as it is the end of the term and I need to get to work, but if you are interested in me expanding on any of the comments or questions expressed above post a question and I'll do my best to look at my notes of the event and answer. The second part of this series will be the faculty discussion. This panel should be very interesting and hopefully there will be a large student turn out, for more on the faculty panel use link below.Green Week Potentials Part 2: Faculty round table