Lloyd Alter – Architecture and Design Writer, Treehugger.com
I used to be a modernist; it is what I tried to do as an architect and a builder. Then I became an environmentalist, being appalled at how badly all our new glass towers perform. Now I am a heritage activist, convinced that our older buildings, towns and cities can teach us how to live a low energy lifestyle, like everybody did before there was cheap oil, cheap electricity and an automobile based culture.
This year, I finally think the message will get through that transportation efficiency trumps building efficiency; that where you live and work affects your carbon footprint a lot more than what you live and work in. That simple, resilient and flexible systems are better than green gizmos. That bikes will save us, not Teslas and Leafs.
Jane Jacobs said “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.” This year I hope to see a lot of great renovation, restoration, repurposing and reuse. I am not certain that we need a lot of new shiny baubles right now.
Zem Joaquin – Founder, Ecofabulous
Now that it is clear that green design is not just a passing trend, consumers will reward innovative companies and those companies will continue to expand their sustainable initiatives. Americans will continue to be more frugal than they were in the beginning of the Millennium, but I am hoping the trend of fast clothing will slow and people will invest in fewer pieces that are designed to be healthy and built to last. But as ‘flash sales’ keep spreading, sites like eBay will offer more vintage collections.
Yet, my most inspiring prediction for 2011 is that, thanks to Global Green and participating organizations, you will see more green schools and the recognition that these schools improve health, learning and attendance (graduating students will in turn be better environmental advocates). And since schools are just the first step, Global Green is now designing self-sustaining cities, starting with Youngstown, Ohio. Urban farming, water & energy conserving systems and local production are just the beginning. I predict that it will become a model that many cities will chose to follow. Lastly, I predict that ecofabulous.com and inhabitat.com will do some really cool work together in 2011.