Sustainable Cities

Elizabeth and Dina taught a senior project class last semester for the visual communications students at American University in Dubai with the theme of Sustainable Cities. The students stepped up with some amazing projects with various takes on a city that is “sustainable” in a very broad definition of the word. A show of their work has been up at DUCTAC for the past couple weeks. As Elizabeth so eloquently put it:

The students began the semester deconstructing the concept of sustainability to understand their coursework in a broader context of societal needs. What they all agreed on is that this term goes far beyond the ideas of ‘green’ and ‘eco’, and in fact, is a holistic concept that includes notions such as peace, imagination, respect, human connections, beauty, and justice. Emotional space, the physical self and all levels of human interaction were considered. Simply put, the students understood that actions such as racism and hatred are not sustainable, whereas kindness and respect are sustainable. With these understandings, a harmonic balance between nature and humans is better achieved.

You can read more about the exhibit in the Khaleej Times article that came out today.

And yesterday evening, the all-new TEDx-DUCTAC monthly lecture series opened with the same theme. The first pre-recorded talk was Dr. Hans Rosling speaking to the US State department about world heath statistics and making the subject amazingly fun and engaging. Bjarke Ingels of BIG followed his pre-recorded TED talk with a live phone call from a ski slope in Austria where he answered questions about his architecture from the audience. The real highlight was a live lecture given by Dr. Sgouris Sgouridis from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on the subject of a parallel energy currency market which exchanges a unit called an Ergo that is based 1:1 on an energy unit such as a Kwh or a joule. It uses market forces to stimulate real-time incentives for conservation in cities that will rely 100% on carbon-free energy, like Masdar City.