A new book from MIT Press, Blubberland by Elizabeth Farelly, considers our excesses—space, McMansions, too large cars, supersized plates, plugged-in everything—and asks why it is so hard to abandon habits, relatively recently formed, that we know are destructive to our health, our environment, our social well-being.
In a short text in Architectural Record, she defines blubber’s spatial features—those vast empty calorie shopping malls and cul-de-sac neighborhoods dotted with McMansions and perfectly manicured lawns.
I, like you, drive too much. I buy too much–of which I keep too much and also throw too much away. I overindulge my children, and myself. Directly as well as indirectly I use too much water, energy, air and space. My existence, in short, costs the planet more than it can afford. This is not some handed-down moral stricture, nor any sort of guilty self-flagellation, but a simple recognition of fact. The consequences are obvious, and near enough now to see the warts on their noses. For my own future, as well as my children’s, I must change. And yet–this is what’s weird–I, like you, can’t. Cannot abandon comfort, convenience and pleasure for the sake of abstract knowledge. Can’t stop doing it. This is interesting.
It’s interesting because we think we are so rational, so intelligent, and yet we behave, both individually and as a herd, in such unintelligent ways. That’s what drove this book into being.
Filed under: Landscape
This year’s Venice Biennale, the 11th International Architecture Exhibition titled “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building” and scheduled to open September 11, 2008, will feature a prominent, stand-alone landscape architecture project that promises to shine a significant and dramatic light on the profession on a global scale. . . . “As impossible as it may seem in Venice, we have a two-and-one-half-acre site that has been abandoned and forgotten for more than 30 years,” writes Kathryn Gustafson, FASLA. “For this mysterious and romantic site, we have designed a garden named ‘Toward Paradise’ that is a pathway through the spaces that guides people to reflect on how to make a paradise on earth.”
Looks like some people are serious about them.
Foster Partners is designing an eco-development Karadere beach, in northeast Bulgaria, along the Black Sea. Construction on the development is due to start next year. Foster’s website desribes the plan as “a series of car-free hill towns in an unspoilt setting of oak forests, meadows and river gorges.”
The development has raised the ire of locals and environmentalists.
From Radical Cartography / Bill Rankin.
With the food crisis, it’s worthwhile to look at where food is produced in the U.S.
Every architect wants to be a landscape architect these days. And now the Vancouver Courier has caught on:
“We’re more of a passive, quiet crowd,” said [Margot] Long [principal of PWL Partnership, a local landscape architecture firm, won an award for her plan for Southeast False Creek, for Town and Gown Square at SFU and for her master plan for Mountain View Cemetery], the daughter of an architect. “It’s very interesting. You talk to architects and you talk to landscape architects and I think it’s like talking to night and day. There are some more aggressive landscape architects, more sort of self-promoting architects, but, for the most part, we’re kind of behind the scenes, fly under the radar screen, just get things done and have an impact that way.”
A California couple stopped watering their lawn and let it die. Now they face a fine.