The end is near! Or so it seems. In mid-March, a University of Maryland study concluded that civilization is racing toward collapse, due to extreme economic inequality and over-consumption of resources stretching the earth's carrying capacity.
We are all products of the world we live in. To the extent we can shape that world -- and that is both the calling and the responsibility of architects and urban planners -- we should do so in ways that facilitate good health and well-being.
Beyond saving energy and money, the psychological effect of bringing in more of the outdoors is possibly the single biggest benefit of open offices. Ten percent of absences can be attributed to having no view of the outside.
The U.S. already imports much of its construction materials and products, including a quarter of all steel and cement, but typically it comes from industrialized nations, such as Germany. Why not target sources that desperately need the support?
Over the past decade the LEED rating system has cut annual carbon emissions by 9.4 million tons -- the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road. Such numbers show real progress. But there's one problem: Many of these buildings aren't doing as well as expected.
In a country where cholera has gained a foothold, it's essential to provide for clean water within each construction project, and to also do so in crowded urban areas where traditional water sources are polluted.
Ed Mazria is a preeminent leader in sustainable design. He closed his practice in 2006 to start Architecture 2030, a nonprofit that challenges designers to achieve carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030.