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New book by 306090 | Sustain and Develop

January 5, 2010

306090, Inc. is a non-profit arts stewardship organization that supports young architect professionals and design students through the publication of an annual journal. Now, they’re releasing the 13th volume of 306090 Sustain and Develop, focusing in the contradictory yet potentially productive tension between our drive to develop and our growing knowledge and emerging concern that such unregulated growth is eroding the natural ecology in which we live.

Trying to give response to the question: How can architects confront either of these courses within the paradox that any mark in the ground will inevitably disrupt a natural ecology? more than thirty contributors (Keller Easterling and Pia Ednie-Brown among others) present here their opinion about the current times in topics as architecture, cities, ecology and development.

At the introduction written by the editors Joshua Bolchover and Jonathan D. Solomon, we can read:

“Thirty years on and our predicament is worse rather than better. But the issue is still the same: how to sustain and yet continue to develop? This paradox remains the contentious issue blocking any form of global agreement on how to facilitate a reduction of carbon dioxide production and stem global climate change. The US refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 due to China’s exclusion from the requirement to reduce emissions as well as the fear that any reduction of their own would damage economic development.

Sustain and Develop is a global poll of urban and architectural actors, from China, US and Europe, on the cusp of a new global direction on climate and resource awareness. With a newly inaugurated US president advocating Change there is real optimism for a significant global agreement inciting a new era of architectural and urban strategies enabling development through sustainable invention.”

Some examples of the content are Kelly Doran’s Operational Alternatives: (Re-)Configuring the Landscape of Alberta’s Athabasca Oil Sands in which he research how oil companies are selling off all the natural resources from the Province of Alberta. He has found out that oil companies, initially dependant on the town of Fort McMurray for labor, housing, civic services and logistics, have begun to distance themselves from the much-publicized negative effects associated with the boomtown atmosphere in this northern-Albertan community. Those, coupled with the ever-expanding geographical extents of the region’s resource-extraction activities, have created the perfect conditions for developing privately run industrial enclaves.

He quotes:

“levels of toxicity are treated through phytoremediation and settlement, to allow for future agricultural uses. Finally, the infrastructures of the upgrader are extended into the Parklands to provide district heat, steam and chemical compounds to new occupants.”

In the article The Osmotic Territories by Jean-Gilles Decosterd, the point is that architecture needs to engage with the possibilities of sustainable development and the reconciliation of development and sustainability, through the exploration of strategies that go beyond the mere advancement of green technologies.

Decosterd states that for a long time, the notion of development in architecture had been a synonym for technical progress and its measurement was made strictly quantitatively. Today’s requirements and regulatory controls are to minimize energy consumption, to increase the insulation of buildings and to reduce waste. But these technical solutions are simply not enough to construct an architecture of sustainability. Architecture cannot be reduced to pure technique.

From our perspective today, the question of landscape as a place is not only to be viewed in its cultural or historic dimension. The climatic dimension has carved a role in the definition of context. In these terms a new definition of landscape considers air quality, light, water, physical, chemical or fluid mechanics.

In this sense there is a change in the paradigm of territory, a new reading grid of the territory that superimposes itself to the former and inflects it: in other words, a passage from the territoire-paysage to the territoire-climat, which is also a territoire-énergie.

We can end with the quote of Jacques Ranciere mentioned by Keller Easterling quotes on her introduction:

“To ask, How can one escape the market? is one of those questions whose principal virtue is one’s pleasure in declaring it insoluble.”

More info: 306090 Sustain and Develop

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