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July: Justice, Part II
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When Voting Fails

by Dr. Martha Jones
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Call It What It Is

by LaShyra Nolen
© Susannah Drake & Rafi Segal


Planning For The Environmentalist | Part Two

by frank news
December 5, 2018

The Green New Deal is being talked about with fervor and relishing in potential. But even with policy in place what does the work look like? What does top-down planning mean, and what will it take to create cities and communities that work towards more sustainable living?

Here, we revisit 4 more pieces from our month on Urban Planning

1) In Conversation with Hannah Teicher | May 31, 2018

Whenever there's flooding anywhere people look at the Dutch—

bringing Dutch experts to U.S. cities. It was started in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina by a big architecture and urban planning firm down there, Waggonner and Ball, that has led flood infrastructure projects since then. They had been looking at the Dutch example, and began this workshop process to bring Dutch and local experts together. To think about how you could address flooding in a more innovative and integrated way— and a way that wasn't necessarily typical of American design. 

Hurrican Katrina Flooding

Does the DOD have a line item in the budget for environmental research? 

No, not at all.

Though, what I've heard is there is an incredible amount of environmental expertise in the DOD.

If anything, what they do is mainstream environmental and climate efforts into their larger codes and plans. That seems to be a way to make it more neutral, non-political, and less vulnerable to being axed. 

The perspective I tend to hear is they're concerned about any and every threat. Clearly, climate change is a threat, sea-level rise, drought, whatever climate impacts. They're all a threat. They're going to be aware of those and plan for those.

And they don't need to get into the climate politics to address that. 

2) In Conversation with Edgar Westerhof | May 30, 2018

While New York City has been leading the discussion post-Sandy through many studies, it is time to show tangible results that will help advance other climate investments.


3) BIGHT: Coastal Urbanism | May 26, 2018


A barrier island is not a static landscape.

It's a dynamic landscape that changes. That is influenced by winds, and currents, and the cycles in the environment, the shifting tides changing the water table. No one should ever build a house there that's permanent, but we have, for recreational purposes or for pleasure. Initially there was a more realistic relationship to the environment in these places. A summerhouse might have been a cottage. It wouldn't be used in the winter. A much lighter touch on the environment. But over time we've changed our relationship to the environment. As people we feel like we're much more invincible. We built hardened structures. But the nature of climate has gotten stronger as our architecture has gotten stronger. And nature's winning now.

Rafi: So we identify a pattern here: that we're building more and more along the coastline, in an area increasingly prone to risk.

And you know, in this fight, nature is going to win. What can we do. But that's not the problem. The problem is that we are creatures of our habits and we insist on staying there.

How do we work with that and begin a process that requires change? Change is difficult for people to grasp. This was, in a sense, the challenge: not the planning itself, coming up with a smart plan is one thing, but finding a way to communicate and frame an issue is another.

4) An Interview with Daan Roosegaarde | May 15, 2018

How do you conceptualize such large scale projects?

It starts with the statement. The global challenges, the rising sea level, the air pollution, the CO2 emissions. They're bad design, that we created as human beings. We can do two things: cry and be sad in a corner, and blame other people. Or, we can say, we created it, let’s engineer, and design our way out of it. A lot of the projects have a practical attitude, as well as a poetic approach. The Earth is our playground. It’s our canvas.

We use clean air, clean water, clean energy, and creativity as our ingredients. Most of the time it’s in public space so everybody uses it.