Don't mistake my rejection of art as a rejection of aesthetics. In fact, I wrote my book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design (2012), to illustrate how beauty, or sensory pleasure, is essential to the built environment.
What will American homes look like the future? Why not ask architecture students? After all, they'll be the ones designing them. Right now, teams of students from 16 universities are competing to design and build cost-effective solar-powered homes--and your tax dollars are helping to urge them on.
As an architect, I don't often see my peers showing such a sense of obligation. In fact, frequently they dodge it. Celebrity gives both actors and architects extraordinary power to address the injustices that intersect their work, but too few architects do.
Architects and environmental scientists have been teaming up to address an interesting question: is it possible -- and economically feasible -- to design and construct buildings that can passively clean smoggy urban air?
The total area of American lawns is approximately 50 thousand square miles, about the size of New York State. To keep it well watered takes about 200 gallons per person per day, and nearly a third of all residential water use goes toward landscaping, according to the EPA.
NASA has laid out some pretty sci-fi sounding plans for the next 20 years of space travel, but a more critical mission -- at least for the sustainability of human life here on earth -- may be the one it launched in Mountain View, California, just over two years ago.
You know what's sexy? Nature. But listening to engineers, political figures and advocates, we can't focus on just how sexy it is. They are screaming at us that America's infrastructure is falling apart and if we don't fix it we will be marooned on the sands of missed opportunity.