Wednesday, January 26, 2011

St. Louis Green Jobs Report

Monday, January 24, 2011

Greening Historic Homes

I was interviewed for a piece on and they ran a few of my pix. Respect and sustainability can go hand in hand. Here is a link to the story.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guitars, Architecture and the Study of Art

In the 80s I fell in love with Cubism, especially with cubist sculptures of musical instruments. It seemed a perfect marriage of my interests, skill set and the kinds of things I wanted to learn about. I used this infatuation as a springboard to expression and a hands on method of studying via the actual experience of construction. I made a large number of instruments over the years most of which were sold or traded to other artists. I have a couple left around the house along with one of my few forays into forgery.
Salvaged and scrapped building materials became the 3D assemblages that I made as a means of meditation on cubist sculpture. It was a really absorbing and positive experience.
The piece on the left (immediately above) in Picasso's Mandolin and Clarinet, from 1912. One day in my studio, looking at a pile of scrap I 'saw' the Mandolin and Clarinet in a pile and allowed myself this indulgence.

In February there is a new show opening at MOMA called Picasso Guitars. Finding out about this is the inspiration for this post. In 1989, thanks to the generosity of some friends and some hard work I was able to spend a weekend at the Pioneering Cubism exhibit at MOMA. I also saw the big Jenny Holzer exhibit at the Guggenheim...but that is for another day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Charter for Compassion


The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

A Green Dog House and a Good Cause

Trumpet has teamed up with Jeff Day & Associates to design and build this green dog house. It, along with others, will be auctioned off at the Gimme Shelter event tonight. It is made with re-purposed pallets and recycled galvanized components and will harvest rainwater as well. The event is raising money for the Animal House shelter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Economic Segregation in the St. Louis Area

Above, is a map of housing value and below is a Missouri map with that names of all the counties and their borders. Below that is a map showing percentages of people below the poverty line. Economic segregation and housing issues go hand in hand. There are many studies indicating the value, in terms of escaping poverty, of mixed income, mixed use developments.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Median Household Income in St. Louis Area

How do we tie together/think about commute times and income? Workforce housing, close to jobs seems so imperative; money can be saved by those with modest incomes having a shorter commute. Washington County is just southwest of Jefferson County and, from these maps it seems to be a place in which residents have the longest work commutes and the lowest income. I submit this as food for thought.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Commute Time in St. Louis Area

There are a lot of reason we live where we live. These days we have to ask ourselves questions about affordability. How long does it take to get to work? How much does that cost every month. Our lifestyles are a combination of factors and associated costs. House payment, car payment, gas, utilities, etc. Do you have the right combination for your family?

From the sustainability perspective strategies are available that yield the effects of more time at at home, lower utility costs, cheaper transportation costs, lower insurance premiums and more. If it makes sense, live closer to work and save money. Here is a map of commute times in the St. Louis area. Where is yours?

Click on the image to enlarge.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jerry Yudelson's Top 10 Green Trends for 2011

My Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2011
I say that the green building industry will rebound strongly in 2011 in spite of the continuing economic difficulties in most developed countries, and I think 10 major trends support this prediction.
What we’re seeing is that more people are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend. However, in 2010, the slowdown in commercial real estate construction in many countries put a crimp in the start-up rate for new green building projects. In putting together my Top Ten trends for 2011, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had with green building industry leaders in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia as I’ve given green building keynotes and presentations all over the world during the past year.
Jerry Yudelson’s Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2011 include:

1. The worldwide green building movement will continue to accelerate, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and developing their own Green Building Councils. More than 70 countries, on all continents, will show considerable green building growth in 2011.

2. Green building will rebound in 2011, as measured by the new LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth. The dramatic slowdown in commercial real estate construction in many countries was not offset by other sectors such as government, and so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010.

3. Green building in the U.S. will continue to benefit from the Obama presidency with a continued focus on greening the executive branch. New announcements of a commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations confirm and highlight this macro-trend.

4. The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2010 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2011. “My 2009 book, Greening Existing Buildings, documents the strategic components of this trend.”

5. Blue will become the New Green. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will continue to grow, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption to increase sustainability. This will be done in buildings through the use of more conservation-oriented fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new water technologies. My latest book, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, shows how to do this in green buildings all over the world.

6. Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage.

7. Performance Disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and other states. Commercial building owners will have to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers.

8. Certified Green Schools will grow rapidly as part the LEED System. This trend will accelerate as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows. Already by mid-year 2010, green schools represented nearly 40% of all new LEED projects in the U.S.

9. Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector. We’ll see at least 20 major new cities with commercial sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

10. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. This trend will be enhanced by the increasing focus of municipal utilities as they need to comply with state-level renewable power standards (RPS) for 2015 and 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems such as on warehouses. However, we may very well see a slowing of large solar and wind systems, as federal grant support, in lieu of tax credits, is phased out.
I’ve added two “bonus picks,” strongly emerging trends, to this list: First, there will be a continually growing use of software and the Internet “cloud” in green building design, construction and operations; Second, the revolution in sustainable building materials is gaining momentum each year, one that gives higher performance at ever lower costs.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

from the Post-Dispatch

St. Louis County planners may promote living closer together

BY PHIL SUTIN > 314-863-2812

Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:00 am

St. Louis County planners want to change the county's zoning codes to encourage people to live closer together to save energy and the environment.
The current codes reflect society's reliance on the automobile and people's preference for stand-alone houses, one to a lot.
That's not the future of housing, experts say.
The county's current codes cover the unincorporated area, the home of about a third of the county's residents. They now favor separating commerce from residential and separating single-family from multifamily housing.
The new codes would encourage communities in which apartments, condos, houses, offices, stores and restaurants mix together.
And the new codes would promote a shift away from the automobile. For instance, new codes might reduce the number of parking spaces a developer must provide.
John King, an attorney who for decades has represented developers on zoning matters, said the county effort is a necessity.
"There is a need for density to make sure that costs don't go out of sight. People can't afford to buy a house or live in a house," he said.
"Developers will welcome this," King said.
With the unincorporated part of the county largely built up, the changes would have more effect on redevelopment of older, established areas. And they may influence municipalities, which set their own codes.
The county planners have interviewed four consulting companies that are finalists for the code revision project. A winner is expected to be selected soon.
The county did not identify the companies. About $150,000 from an $8.4 million federal stimulus grant to the county will pay for the work, said Gail Choate, a county planning official.
The planners hope the County Council ultimately would approve changes in the zoning code no later than a year and a half from now.
The changes would encourage "places where people can work, live, play and walk and use public transportation," said Jen Samson, the county's project manager for the effort.
Choate noted that some older areas of the county, such as in Affton and Lemay, mix commercial with residential, with houses and stores close together.
"But you still need a car to get to the stores" on such roads as Gravois Road in Affton, she said.
Among the issues the consultants and planners would consider are:
• Transit-oriented development, where new development or redevelopment would be in easy walking distance to a transit hub. The county has one MetroLink station in the unincorporated area — North Hanley — and one partly so — the University City-Big Bend station that has an entrance on the Washington University Danforth campus, which is in the unincorporated area. "Transit-oriented development doesn't just have to be at MetroLink stops, it could be at bus hubs," Choate said.
• Other mixed-use developments where stores or offices could be on the street level with apartments above them.
• High-density areas where tall apartment, condominium or office buildings could be next to wide sidewalks with enough room for outdoor cafes.
• Codes that could provide another way for developers to cluster larger buildings. Developers and officials would pay more attention to the public space around a project's buildings.
• Regulations to encourage and control such energy efficiency devices as solar panels on roofs or wind turbines.
• Designs that would reduce the impact of storm water.
King, the zoning attorney, said higher density would reduce developer costs of installing utilities, such as water and sewer lines and wiring for cable television.
A tight-knit project also would help developers meet new storm-water regulations, he said.
King agreed that county's approach would encourage redevelopment of older areas.
"There may be some trauma" as residents near proposals for denser development react to change, he predicted. "People will get used to density," he said. "The market is different than it was five or 10 years ago" and, he said, it won't go back to what it was.
Lyzel Krebs, staff vice president for governmental affairs of the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri, said her organization could not comment in detail until it sees more specifics. Homebuilders, she said, want to maintain "a good viable community" that includes a proper balance with the environment.
In addition to advice about the county zoning code, planners want consultants to provide ideas for the municipalities in the county, Choate said.
"We would like to help the municipalities who are interested in doing something, but do not have the resources," she said.

The planners want developers, builders, design professionals, municipal officials and advocates for public transit, bicyclists, open space and compact development to participate in preparing changes, Choate said. The staffs of the county departments of highways and traffic and public works should be involved, she said.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Pruitt Igoe Myth

Here is a link to the trailer for a new documentary called:  The Pruitt Igoe Myth: an Urban History
Was it the end of modernism? What about affordable housing or workforce housing? I look forward to seeing this film.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

All That We Share

All That We Share is subtitled 'A Field Guide to the Commons' and it is an interesting collection of ideas about navigating what we have in common in the context of increasing populations, limited resources and a growing awareness that we can no longer properly consider, as Protagoras did, 'man as the measure of all things.' The Commons-Based way of thinking is 'a way of life that values what we share as much as what we own.'

Perhaps it is simply because I'm older and my kids are grown, or almost so, that this idea of focusing on what we share seems so important to me. At any rate, here is a connection to some interesting work.