Happy new year + hopes for 2014 and beyond

As the new year is rolling in, I am making a number of resolutions that I intend to keep. One aspect is how to commit deeply into my philosophy of sustainability and educating others about it. The university where I teach is a good platform to influence the future generation of professionals to be responsible and sensible to what they design and build, but it is such an overbearing task to most students as they are trying learn about the fundamental skills of architectural design, technical aspects of building science, social and economic factors of building, and preparing to enter the profession.

Most students see sustainability as an “optional” issue and “will get to it if they can”. That kind of attitude is not acceptable anymore as our world’s population continues to grow and natural resources (especially water) keep becoming more scarce.

While I believe green building rating systems such as LEED is a good framework for developing buildings that are less taxing to the environment, I think the fundamental problem is the attitude toward development in general. China is a good example of looking into the American model of development and has failed in many fronts, in terms of environmental and social responsibility. That kind of “build it first, and they will come” attitude in disregard of the true organic development of a working city is prevalent as we see overbuilt, speculative developments being deserted in the outer skirts while existing cities are chronically overpopulated and under-housed.

So, really my plan to help bring the message to my many students who go on and (no doubt) do big things in the future: DO NOT PROPAGATE BAD DEVELOPMENT. If you work for a developer or architect who do shitty work, QUIT and go elsewhere. My hope is that there will more good people working on good architecture and eventually the overall physical built environment will take on a more holistic, responsible approach.