Friday, March 8, 2013

Avatars, design, research, cities

I have a recent article in Plat, Rice University's journal of architecture. I hope this article sparks some interest among climate urbanism readers, even those not closely following architecture debates. The article, to be brief, examines the nature of research in architecture studios and practices. I argue that the scope and scale of research in architecture, often with seductive allusions to environmental conditions, has supplanted theorization. "Design as research" has also excised human bodies from environmental representation, among other symptoms. Please check it out and tell me what you think.

Architecture's avatars: Closely related to the previous item, and also a result, more or less, of the same body of research, I published a very short piece in the Architectural Association's Fulcrum pamphlet. This piece loops together the blockbuster film Avatar with the technological detachment of environmental research in architecture, arguing that the fantasy of technological penetration of the digital is aided by militarization. 

For the past couple of months, I've been traveling frequently and swamped with the first segment of the Spring semester, which has consequently kept me off of these notes. But in the meantime, I've tagged a bunch of tweets as #climateurbanism, and some nice people have also done the same. Thanks to everyone who's tagged material, @namhenderson, @freeasocdesign, @brian_mount, @citynaturelab, @pruned, and @rwpickard.

How to Talk About the Weather, an interview with Ursula Heise | TNI:
It’s important to understand the narrative and the literary genres that often underwrite our ideas about nature.
How NASA scientists are turning LA into one big climate change lab | California Watch
Urban areas and their enabling power plants are thought to pump out about 70 percent of humankind’s total fossil-fuel emissions.

NJ's biggest utility outlines plans to stormproof
New Jersey's largest utility company wants to spend nearly $4 billion over the next decade to stormproof its electric and gas system after Superstorm Sandy's high winds and devastating surge knocked out power to nearly all its customers last October.
Climate Violence Now – Christian Parenti (abstract) 
Climate change is unleashing cascades of extreme weather which directly and indirectly fuel unrest and violence across ever-larger parts of the world. Drawing on his recently published book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, Christian Parenti (Professor at the School for International Training Graduate Institute) will show how environmental crisis is already converging with, and exacerbating, the socially destabilizing legacies of Cold War militarism and neoliberal economic restructuring to fuel violence in the Global South. At the same time, many governments and militaries in the Global North are preparing for the political effects of climate change, domestically, with more surveillance and police power and, internationally, with programs of permanent, open-ended counterinsurgency and intervention.

NYT: Gardeners Fight With Neighbors: "a broader "war on gardens.""

Adaptation: Rising San Francisco Bay threatens the Silicon Valley high-tech mecca

facebook site "is pretty much surrounded by tidal waters"

Taking the climate fight to the table | Center for Investigative Reporting
MT @CIRonline: food sys isn’t just challengd by climate chg; also 1 of biggest sources of emissions 

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