Eco-City. Planning Neighborhoods for Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism
Prof. Richard Ingersoll Ph.D.
This course covers a broad range of issues concerning architecture, urbanism and environmental quality. Most analytical agencies, such as Eurostat and the US Green Building Council, estimate that 40% of Greenhouse gases are attributable to buildings, which together with urban questions comprise over 70% of the total. Thus many architects and planners currently recognize a clear mandate to work within a new paradigm of sustainable design and lifestyles. The design professions, from both a legal and ethical point of view, will be increasingly challenged in the near future to find solutions to the evolving crises of Climate Change. Eco-City is a course that provides students with a platform for action: first through analysis and then through programming. To understand the current urban situation we first consider the urban legacy, which previous to the mid 19th century had a low carbon footprint. From there we consider the role of new infrastructures and the mass culture of the metropolis, which improved transportation and sanitation, but multiplied the sue of carbon fuels. We can look back to the virtues (and traps) of vernacular solutions in building, and forward to sophisticated (smart) technologies such as geothermal and photovoltaics, while insisting on a central program of common sense. Reducing consumption through increased density will always be preferred to improving efficiencies for life at greater distances. The problems can only be resolved through an overall social strategy, a new pact of “living together.” The course takes account of many tangent issues such as “embodied energy”, the role of growing and distributing food, the question of waste, the political economy of transitions to sustainability, and alternative life styles.
During the past two decades among the developed countries, European cities in general have demonstrated the best efforts to lower their carbon footprint through improved transportation services, alternative energy programs, recycling systems, and attempts to enforce overall sustainable standards for offices, businesses, and housing. One should never forget, however, the in so-called developing nations, the carbon footprint is many times lower, and that implies many solutions may be found there as well. The neighborhood plan, which deals with districts that have a population size of 5000 to 25,000 citizens, can be the key to what Serge Latouche calls “happy degrowth,” offering optimizations of transportation, energy production and consumption, land use, and socialization, without obvious sacrifices in quality of life. The European advantage to implement Eco-City programs stems partly from the pre-industrial origins of its cities, with frequent histories of municipal autonomy, and partly from a conscientious effort by current politicians and administrators to encourage lifestyle and energy alternatives that reduce greenhouse gases. With the recent international agreement at COP 21 in Paris (2015) to maintain temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, there has been an increased effort to curtail energy abuse. While laws, techniques, and design have a lot to do with the difference, lifestyle is perhaps the strongest factor: habits of transportation, dining, and work need to be reprogrammed to weigh less heavily in the balance of entropy (the dissipation of energy and matter). The 8 lectures of Eco-City will cover the major issues in achieving sustainable neighborhoods from political organization, technological solutions, and propaganda.
- Introduction: A One-way ticket to Planet Earth. A review of the general issues in the course.
Texts: Naomi Klein (2014); Peter Calthorpe (2010); Kolbert (2014); West (2017)
- Was Urbanism Ever Sustainable? A survey of historical examples of success and failure in urban cultures previous to the industrial revolution. We investigate whether the contingent factors of modernity negate a return to any previous ideal.
Texts: Benevolo (1980); Kostof (1992); Diamond (2005); Bramwell (1989); Fishman (1977)
- Urbanism is the key. The Metropolis and modern urban planning. The five factors that make the difference in the Age of Global Warming
Texts: Beatley (2000), Beatley (2012); Calthorpe (2010); Brugmann (2009)
- Ebenezer Howard and Garden Cities; Rudolf Steiner and Biodynamics. Buckminster Fuller and Dymaxion planning. Le Corbuusier’s Green City. Paolo Soleri’s Archologies. Richard Register Eco-Cities.
Texts: Fishman (1977); Adams (1992); Bregman (2017)
- Cool Architecture, a response to Global Warming: Learning from the Vernacular, Learning from High Tech, and the move toward Appropriate Technology and Materials.
Texts: Buchanan (2003); Butti (1980); Baker Brown (2018); McDonough (2002).
- Biomimicry Green Economy? Green Capitalism? Critical positions in the move toward social ecology the linear versus the circular economy. How to measure the success of Solar and alternative technologies. LEED, BREEAM, ect.
Texts: McDonough (2002); Harvey (2014); Hawkin (1999); Flumin (2016); Latouche (2004); Bregman (2017).
- Mind the Gap: The free spaces for intervention in Greening the city: roofs, voids, walls, parking, zoning, life styles
Texts; Whitford (2009); Falk (2006)
- Top down or bottoms up. Progam, Design, Mobilization.
Texts: Rotor (2014); Wacknagel (1996); Klein (2014); Steel (2008); Shiva (2012); Pollan (2006)-
Adams, David (1992) “Rudolf Steiner’s First Goetheanum as Illustration of Organic Functionalism,” JSAH.
Baker-Brown, Duncan (2017) The Reuse Atlas.
Benevolo, Leonardo (1980) History of the City.
Beatley, Timothy (2000), Learning from European Cities
Beatley, Timothy, ed. (2012), Green Cities of Europe,
Bramwell, Anna (1989) Ecology in the 20th Century. A History, New Haven:
Bregman, Rutger (2017), Utopia for Realists and how we can get there.
Brugmann, Jeb (2009), Welcome to the Urban Revolution. How cities are changing the world.
Buchanan, Peter (2003) Ten Shades of Green, Architecture and the Natural World, Architectural League of New York.
Butti, Ken & John Perlin (1980) A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology..
Calthorpe, Peter (2010), Urbanism in the age of climate change
Diamond, Jared (2005), Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
Hawkin, P, A. Lovins (1999), L. H. Lovins, Natural Capitalism. Creating the Next Industrial Revolution.
Falk, Nicholas (2006), “Smarter Growth and Sustainable Suburbs,” Built Environment.
Fishman, Robert (1977) Urban Utopias in the 20th Century.
Flumin, Claire (2016), “Eco-Districts: development and evaluation”
Harvey David (2014) Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism.
Ingersoll, Richard (2012 ) “The Ecology Question and Architecture,” in Handbook of Architectural Theory, G. Crysler, S. Cairns, eds.
Ingersoll, Richard (2013) “Eat the City,” Places, June 2013.
Klein, Naomi (2014), This changes Everything, Capitalism versus the Climate
Kimbrell, Andrew, et al. (2002), The Fatal Harvest Reader. The tragedy of industrial agriculture.
Kolbert, Elizabeth (2014), The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History.
Kostof, Spiro (1992) The City Shaped.
Latouche, Serge (2004), “Degrowth Economics”
McDonough, W. and M. Baungart (2002) Cradle to Cradle, Remaking the Way we Make Things.
Pollan, Michael (2006) Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Rotor, (2014) Behind the Green Door. A Critical Look at Sustainable Architecture through 600 Objects.
Shiva, Vandana (2012),Making Peace with the Earth
Steel, Carolyn (2008), Hungry City. How Food Shapes Our Lives.
Wackernagle, M. & W. Rees (1996) Our Ecological Footprint. Reducing Human Impact on the Earth.
West, Geofrrey (2017), Scale. The Universal Laws of Growth.
Whitford, A. B. & Wong, Karen (2009), “Political and Social Foundations for Environmental Sustainability,” Political Research Quarterly.