Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How Do We Respond to a Failing Planet?

By Kayla Fuller
As designers, we are taught to integrate all parts of the environment into a design and understand the consequences that can occur. With technological improvements occurring daily, we alter our approach to make better use of what is available. Unfortunately our ancestors left us in distress and we are forced to carry their destruction with us. What empowers us to change our attempt and reverse the effects of our failing plant? Knowledge is the most powerful and useful influence we have available.
 “Knowledge is power, power comes with responsible behavior[1]” –Szenasy
The responsibility to conduct the proper action should be a moral established at a young age. Daily, the media exposes unethical actions to those curious of their surroundings. Children are no longer protected from this exposure, for many this is a world that has become all too familiar for them. With such a negative image of the world around them, their perception becomes overwhelmed by fear and rage.
            Growing up with a fear of not knowing what the future may hold, can develop a behaviorally challenged and unethical generation that struggles to survive. How do we react to a struggling generation? We create more boundaries and disconnection with others, eventually isolating them completely. Very few can overcome such boundaries and be successful. Our society ensures power to those in control and suppresses others to ensure that they cannot be touched.
            Through creative design, we can overcome such boundaries. No longer do we need to fear what we cannot see or understand, rather we should use this fear to empower reintegration. We are an extremely competitive race and we fuel our success through competition with others. Through interaction with those we view as competitive, we can collaborate and improve our achievements. Why have we allowed our ancestors failures to continue, when there is evidence that through change, we can overcome unbelievable limitations. Although many of these boundaries that have been established are physical, there are also the mental challenges that overcome our logic of success.
            Through rehabilitation of urban design, we can incorporate the needs of the community to encourage youth of their potentials. The urban design on cities creates not only the horizontal boundary of where someone originates, but the height of the city also provides a hierarchy through separation. Those who can afford the penthouse kingdom with priceless views away from the noise isolate themselves. As luxurious as this may seem, they create a dreadfully toxic situation. Those fancy materials covering the walls, floors and furniture release chemicals into the air and merge with the pollution from the city below them. There are simple alternatives that can reduce certain toxins but they only result in a small outcome in a large situation. Another approach to reduce pollution and restore interaction between individuals is urban gardens. This becomes not only a diverse gathering place but and educational center to reintegrate youth with processes of nature and their planet.
            The major argument Szenasy makes against architecture is about design and disconnect to the community. This contradicts what most designers achieve. There is no success through a disconnected design for it advances a disconnection throughout the community. The site and development of, is one of the most valuable elements of a design. With improper use of the natural elements provided a design instantly fails. Why not take advantage of free resources that reconnect us with our one and only home. If more people understood the effects they have on the survival of our home, there would be a dramatic change. It takes one person to make a positive effect for others to follow. Hopefully we can demonstrate for the younger generations what their futures may hold and restore hope.

[1] Susan S. Szenasy, “ What Do Ethics Have to Do With Design?,”Metropolis 1969 (2004): 1, June 10, 2013,   www.metropolismag.com/December-1969/What-Do-Ethics-Have-to-Do-with-Design/

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