by , 05/30/07

POSTOPOLIS EVENT IN NYC, Photo by Dan Hill, Postopolis, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Inhabitat, BLDGBLOG, City of Sound, Subtopia, Architecture Blogger Conference

Calling all of you who live outside New York who would like to participate in Postopolis!

If you’ve been checking in over the past couple days on Inhabitat, you’ve probably noticed that we keep talking about this Postopolis event at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City, which we are participating in over the next 5 days. Many people have written in to us to say that they wish they could make it or at least tune in from other places around the globe — and because of this interest we’ve decided to try to get a bit interactive with our events.

Today at 4pm EST, Inhabitat will sit down with Susan Szenasy of Metropolis Magazine, Allan Chochinov of Core77, and Graham Hill of Treehugger to discuss architecture blogging and sustainable design. We would love to hear from our readers and find out what YOU THINK about sustainable design, green building, blogging, and whatever else. Please join in our discussion by sending in your questions as comments on this post. The more you comment, the more we’ll have to talk about.


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  1. Clara June 1, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Thanks Dustin!

    And may i quote :
    “If marketers expect a product to become obsolete they can design it to last for a specific lifetime……

    The use of value engineering techniques have led to planned obsolescence being associated with product deterioration and inferior quality. Packard claimed that this could give engineering a bad name, because it directed creative engineering energies toward short-term market ends rather than more lofty and ambitious engineering goals. As with all these planned obsolescence issues, the marketer and product engineer must determine for themselves if any of these criticisms are warranted.”

    Who wouldn’t want return customers? No secret that some manfacturers make a loss selling this particular thing but make back through related accessories. It is all about sustainability.

  2. dustin May 31, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    clara, you’d be interested to know about designed or planned obsolescence. you can google it, but here are a few wiki links:

  3. Clara May 31, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Are manufacturers today making things last? Or in order to sustain their business in a competitive market have resorted to cheaper production methods resulting in poorer quality and that has become acceptable. We are then expected to replace with newer models and dump the ones that have either broken down or it’s just not cost-effective to have them repaired.

  4. Jill May 30, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Great questions all – I’m sorry I got a bit waylaid by the back to back presentations at Postopolis today, so we didn’t get a chance to address some of the most recently posted topics. But I think they are serious issues which need to be addressed, and of course don’t have any simple answers.

    I would encourage anyone reading this comment stream to chime in with their thoughts. Hopefully we can continue this discussion here.


  5. dustin May 30, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    in regards to lisa’s comment. i’d have to agree, our green strategies will never be sustainable until they are accessible to and reproducible by all or at least a majority…

  6. Lisa May 30, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Even with my limited education in all things sustainable and green, I have noticed that to actually live and enjoy the greener lifestyle, one has to have a rather large expendable income. For instance, I am looking into moving into an eco-friendly apartment (as I can’t afford a home at this time – not even prefab), however, to actually find one is few and far between. What’s worse, most times these type of living quarters are pricey condos. One such development in my town, when complete, will sell each unit for no less than $350,000.

    The majority of the 6 billion+ people on this planet could never have the hope of enjoying such luxury. Why can we not come up with simple, cost-effective housing? Or are there already such projects in development that I don’t know about? What about those living in refugee camps, misplaced, or in slums? THAT is where we should be seeing sustainable, green practices being put into play. Pollution is rampant in these places and the people living there often times lack the education to improve their quality of life. Perhaps we can find a way to educate them and implement housing that works with the surrounding environment, and not against it?

    I am aware of organizations like Architecture for Humanity, but what I really want to know is there some way we can help along the process to make a green lifestyle something EVERYONE can experience? Of course, we all know that politics, financing, and feasability are probably major rolls in the answer here. I just want to know what can be done to make this happen.

    Thank you.

  7. royalestel May 30, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    As a tightwad, I am always looking for ways to easy ways to cut down on my power usage. I look forward to cost-effective home energy generation designs. However, I have not seen as yet a long-term cost effective solution. What do you feel are the most promising technologies on the horizon that will truly be affordable and effective at home energy production?

  8. royalestel May 30, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    I hope I’m not too late…

    I have noticed a surprising dearth of efforts to design for current climate problems (as opoosed to future climate change). Design such as the floating Dutch houses and furniture certainly tiptoes towards a distant disaster preparedness. However, everytime there is a hurricane that hits the coastal South (where I live) people nail 4×8 sheets of plywood over their windows. Is that a result of good design? How about designers bringing back some more practical designs for current problems. In this case, real (as in not decorative) window shutters would seem the obvious answer. I would be interested to hear of other practical design solutions for bad weather, floods, earthquakes, etc.

  9. Jill May 30, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Great questions all – thank you so much! Especially the question on consumerism, Dustin, we will definitely be addressing this in some depth.

    We will be recording this session on video and will publish it on Inhabitat within the next few weeks.

    Best wishes-

  10. dustin May 30, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    i’ve been reading the gamut of green design blogs for a while now and it seems that the largest trend in the green movement is green consumerism. i’d argue that our problem is a fundamental disconnect with the environment, not that we don’t understand the current degradation, but that we can’t step out of our comfort zone to stop it. this may seem bonkers, but how many of us flush clean drinking water down the drain every day, multiple times? i know many people are aware of the egregious machine that our current toilet and what i really want to talk about is the use of toilet paper (again the comfort zone). we cut down trees to wipe our backside with – that’s bonkers. i’ll go so far as to give the public admission that i use a teapot of water and a launder-able rag to get the job done, not unlike most of asia. it’s great that greener materials and energy production are becoming more abundant, but more solar panels and hybrid cars doesn’t address the fact that the US uses 25% of the world’s resources*. i guess my question is why is there not more focus within “the movement” to address the real issue of over consumption rather than redirecting consumers (we used to be called citizens) to terracotta wine coolers? (

    *i’m aware that the building industry is the biggest culprit for energy and material waste and therefore general consumer consumption isn’t the biggest problem.

  11. Abigail May 30, 2007 at 10:58 am

    PART ONE: How has blogging or the dawn of the blogosphere impacted the momentum of sustainable design products and architecture? That is, how has preliminary or online feedback about building materials that users do or don’t want in their lives or their homes shaped our thinking about what sort of demand really exists?

    PART TWO: How are architecture and design students factoring in the goals of sustainability with the foundations of good design. Or rather, are there currently underlying tensions between new eco-design strategies that are being shaped in the blogosphere and what faculty and educators deem to be design ideas worth exploring?

  12. Stan May 30, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Will you make the sessions available as Videocasts? It is a very green way of letting us far from New York participate!

  13. Piper May 30, 2007 at 10:35 am

    OK, here’s another… The US Green Building Council and its LEED Rating System have made strides in moving the building industry towards more environment-responsive, efficient design. Do you think a similar organization and third party certification checklist would help consumer products become more sustainable?

  14. Nama May 30, 2007 at 10:29 am

    People always talk about sustainable design or sustainability as a (new) needed, desired function or aspect of design programs (architecture or otherwise).
    However, it seems to me as if good design has always =sustainable or green or whatever adjective is now the hip or new or trendy thing.
    Why do we now and/or should we/it continue to focus on sustainable as oppossed to good design?
    As i have said it seems as if good design has always taken context and use (which in my mind includes issues of resources, use, and lifecycle) into account. Whether we are talkign about Roman architecture which has stood 1000= years or the modern designs of Alvaar Alto?
    Any thoughts?

  15. Piper May 30, 2007 at 9:23 am

    If you were part of a review committee for new consumer products, what are some things you would want to see in the design of each new product? (please be more specific than just saying- ‘make it sustainable’.

  16. Piper May 30, 2007 at 9:22 am

    PART ONE: On the one hand, green thankfully is going mainstream.. but do you think that blogging and specialty magazines have a tendency to isolate important information as people tend to revisit the same news resources that interest them most?

    PART TWO: How are each of your organizations branching out to impact those outside your established audience?

  17. alex May 30, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Question for panel – do you think garden offices/shedworking is the green way forward for homeworkers?

  18. Jorge May 30, 2007 at 3:36 am

    When I first started my architecture degree oh, about 10 years ago, I had con conception of what sustainable design, or climate change was. When I decided to study a Masters in sustainable design, five years ago, I felt that this would be necessary to know in 15 years time; and when I finished it three years ago, I felt that, well, it might become an issue in 10. Needless to say, I feel astonished by how far it has come in the past 2 years, and how it has exploded in the past year. So my question to you is, has this been the same experience for you, or was it just my foolishness in thinking that it wouldn’t be an issue so soon?. And, without taking the easy answer of saying “because people realized that it’s important” give a specifie example as to why you think that it has happened. Was it Katrina? Al Gore’s movie? or even the Climate Change disaster movie of a few years back? Or has it just simply become unavoidable now, that we have no option globally to address it?
    And readers of Inhabitat feel free to share your thoughts on this issue as well. But make sure that you put a question for the panel!

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