Environment

A Provocative Headline And A Real Issue

The first thing that came to mind when I read “A New Idea in Architecture? No New Buildings” by Thomas de Monchaux was that writers for periodicals, whether published on paper or the web, don’t usually choose their own headlines, so Mr. de Monchaux might not be responsible for the somewhat misleading title. He is …

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Another Problem Solvable In The Long Term

The leading cause of death for birds in the United States is collisions with buildings. (See table 2 in this paper.) As much as cats love killing birds, cat-related bird deaths are less than 1/5 as common as collisions with buildings. The problem is not that birds can’t navigate around large stationary objects: they are …

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Many Small Steps

I’m an incrementalist by nature: I prefer change via many small steps to radical upheaval. That seems to me to be safer, since you can more easily change direction if you find that you’ve made a mistake. But when dealing with very large problems, the early steps can seem like futile nibbling around the edges. …

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How Much Is Enough?

I have mixed and contradictory reactions to “WholeTrees is smartly repurposing timber across the Midwest” by Jamie Evelyn Goldsborough. Certainly it’s true that the use of barely-processed tree trunks and branches is greener than the use of any other structural material. The energy and carbon that go into buildings show up in the production of …

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