Here’s the Original Green video channel. You can also find the Original Green Channel on YouTube... the only difference is that the quality of video is better here. Subscribe here or there, and you’ll have the latest.
What’s a video on brewing kombucha doing on a site dedicated to sustainable urbanism and architecture? It’s here because it’s a good analogy to sustainable place-making. But first, here’s the story on kombucha: The Chinese began brewing kombucha 2,000 years ago; they called it the “magic elixir of life.” The ingredients are simple: tea, water, and sugar… plus the SCOBY, or the “mother.” The SCOBY is a Symbiotic Community Of Bacteria & Yeast. To start brewing, you need to get a starter SCOBY from a friend who brews, or from a health food store. Our friend Karja Cygnus got us started.
Kombucha spread as far as Russia by about 400 years ago. The stories of health benefits of kombucha are as old as its Chinese origins, but the only thing even remotely resembling a scientific study was done by the USSR in the years leading up to World War II. They noticed (and documented) that in the most polluted parts of the Soviet Union, cancer rates were unusually high… except for the people who drank a lot of kombucha.
The problem is that because kombuch is so inexpensive to make (about $1/gallon), there’s no money in it to support an actual scientific study of its benefits. And that’s one of the big ties to the Original Green. As we discussed in Fitness Alfresco and the Money Problem, many Original Green measures are inexpensive if not free, and will never have big corporate sponsors with lots of promotional money. There are other connections. The Fate of Ought-To points out the fact that people sustain doing things they want to do much longer than things they ought to do. Properly-brewed kombucha is delicious (lovable to the taste) even while being a great probiotic with many other benefits such as those the Soviets noticed. It’s not like taking medicine; it’s something I look forward to every morning.
I could go on for hours on the benefits, such as the disappearance of my joint pain once I started drinking it regularly, and also on the other Original Green connections, but maybe you get the point. So here’s how Wanda and I make it:
Members of the TradArch listserv met in Charleston to confront some of the issues in face-to-face discussions that had embroiled the listserv over the past year or so. Speculation of possible fistfights preceded the event, as the climate had grown increasinly testy. But while there were some tense moments and a bit of shouting, nobody came to blows, as you can see in these videos.
Patrick Webb leads introductions of the Charleston attendees.
Bruce Donnelly leads off the Framing session, which is a sometimes-heated group-wide discussion once it moves to an adjacent room.
What is Classicism?
One of the central questions that stirred much controversy over the past year concerned the nature of classicism. Are the canons of classicism fixed? And if so, are they merely historical relics without currency, or can fixed canons inform design today? Or more radically, is classicism a living and evolving language? There is one particularly heated exchange involving Andrés Duany near the end of this segment.
Andrés Duany takes the crowd through Léon Krier’s fascinating proposition: it is possible to take the work of Le Corbusier, a self-proclaimed mortal enemy of traditional architecture, and transform his designs into architecture on the Classical-Vernacular Spectrum. Duany proposes that this cross-fertilization of a Corbusian parti with classical character can produce patterns unlikely to be approached in any other way.
Heterodoxia Architectonica is Andrés Duany’s upcoming treatise that hopes to redefine classical architecture in far broader terms than those by which it is understood to most today.
Gibson Worsham looks at the nature of living traditions, and how they are illustrated in the organic growth of cities in many small increments over time.
Town Planner Andrés Duany and Town Founder Vince Graham lead a lively discussion with the group through the streets of I’On on the morning after the segments above.
These are the speakers and their presentations from the Build Maine conference in Lewiston, Maine on November 6, 2014. Thanks to Build Maine and the Congress for the New Urbanism Maine for allowing us to film and post these videos!
This is Lewiston City Administrator Edward Barrett’s welcome message and talk on the current economic conditions of the city and the region.
Kevin Bunker of Developers’ Collaborative discusses the state of development in Maine.
Wow, is this guy ever a surprise and a treat! Jeremiah Bartlett is a municipal transportation engineer from Portland who actually gets it about street width, speed, and many other things. We need more Jeremiah Bartletts in America!
Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City, talks about walkability and how to achieve it in this keynote presentation. Jeff really nails the fact that walkability is the key to both social and economic vitality in a city.
Chuck Marohn’s essential Strong Towns presentation lays bare how America has sold its future to sprawl, pushing us to the edge of unthinkable economic consequences.
George Proakis discusses the state of city planning, and some of the recent advances that make for better places.
Here’s my presentation on small scale infill. It builds on the Sprawl Recovery toolkit.
Victor Dover closes the day with an excellent presentation on community engagement.
Hope you enjoy these! Build Maine is happening again in late May. If you’re in New England, you should go.
Andrés Duany lays out the principles of Lean Urbanism, with its seven platforms of Lean Building, Lean Development, Lean Business, Lean Green, Lean Regulation, Lean Infrastructure, and Lean Learning, to an audience of architects and planners in Miami. Thanks to the Lean Urbanism Initiative (www.leanurbanism.org) for permission to film and post this video.
Author James Howard Kunstler and San Diego Planning Director Bill Fulton take a bracing and electric look at the future of cities.
The Next American Urbanism session at CNU 22 in Buffalo is a produced by the Next Urbanism group, which sprung out of NextGen. Thanks to the Congress for the New Urbanism for allowing us to film and post these videos!
Russ Preston leads off the Next American Urbanism session by laying out the Project for the Next American Urbanism.
Edward Erfurt proclaims that the suburban experiment is over, and that we need to look back at how America was first built, without debt and with a greater variety of choice.
Karja Hansen discusses the virtue of civicism, how it was lost, and how it can be regained in American culture in part through the networking in the built environment.
Jennifer Krouse looks at how the economies of scale upon which we have based urbanism for so long can run counter to cities’ abilities to be agile.
Kerry Hayes looks at causes of urban fragility today, and how they can grow more agile, based on his work in Memphis.
Kenny Craft documents our decline into “mediocritecture,” and looks at how our built environment might reacquire living traditions again.
Eliza Harris zooms in on the streets and civic spaces that make up most of our civic realm, and shows how we can re-balance them between the people and the cars.
Bruce Donnelly’s segment on reason, platforms, and comity is partly prognostication and part goal-setting.
Here’s the discussion between presenters and audience that wrapped up the session.
These are the speakers and their presentations from the Art Room’s Architectural Composition Techniques session on June 5, 2014 at CNU 22 in Buffalo. Thanks to the Congress for the New Urbanism for allowing us to film and post these videos!
Eric Osth lays out elevation composition techniques he uses at Urban Design Associates on commercial and larger residential projects.
Eric Moser of the Moser Design Group takes you through design composition methods he uses in the design of residential projects.
These are the speakers and their presentations from the Atypical Building Types session on June 4, 2014 at CNU 22 in Buffalo. Thanks to the Congress for the New Urbanism for allowing us to film and post these videos!
David lays out the basic principles of the “Form Follows Finance Fourplex” and other highly flexible and affordable mixed-use building types he is working out with John Anderson.
Murphy describes Torti Gallas’ work with “Super Wood” buildings, which are concrete podiums with 4-5 story wood structures above.
Originally slated to be presented by Julie Sanford, Eric Moser steps through Julie’s work on Eco-Dweller units, and also some of Studio Sky’s work in Belize.
Steve Maun describes spec house challenges post-Meltdown, and describes ways in which modular construction can be part of the solution.
Robert describes his development of some very innovative urban building types, all of which are designed to “pencil out better than a parking lot,” which is actually a major challenge in many small cities and towns.
Andrew takes on the challenges of building townhouses in Miami, a city where this building type is rare. The new Miami21 code by DPZ makes it easier, but there are still a number of challenges on a multitude of existing lots in Miami.
Here’s my session, where I lay out several thoughts on maker spaces that I haven’t heard discussed until now, and then show some of our SmartDwelling work in Belize.
This is the panel discussion between all of the panelists plus organizers Frank Starkey, Mike Watkins, and the audience.
Tidal flooding is the worst it's ever been in South Beach. Ten years ago when I moved here, nobody ever mentioned tidal flooding. Now, it's getting worse all the time as sea levels rise. While the politicians fiddle, South Beach floods.
To be clear, the city says it's a storm drainage problem, and that their new pipes will fix it. But when sea level is higher than the streets, there's nothing a pipe can do.
This is the entire lightning-paced joint session I did with Clay Chapman at CNU21 Unsacntioned at the Peery Hotel in Salt Lake City. I covered the big picture of the Original Green at the blistering pace of just over 5 slides per minute… first time I've ever done that. And Clay closed out with the awesome work that he's doing to pull off the unthinkable: build a loadbearing masonry house designed to last a thousand years, and do it at a cost that regular people can afford. The first one was around $150 per square foot, but he believes he can get it down to $85 per square foot soon. This changes everything!
A special thanks to Justin Burslie of the StrongTowns Network and to StrongTowns founder Chuck Marohn for filming the presentation! Please be sure to visit their StrongTowns Network, where you'll find some of the most vibrant and incisive discussions on sustainable urbanism taking place today.
Building "maintenance-free" is an illusion. When so-called maintenance-free items fail, they fail catastrophically so that you have to rip all of the mess off and cart it off to the landfill. The high standard should be materials that can be patched and repaired, as I explain in this sub-2-minute conversation with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University.
This 3-minute clip with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University highlights the dangers of framing everything within a Gimo Green view. Gizmo Green is the proposition that we can achieve sustainability with better equipment and better materials. Gizmo Green is a part of the solution, but only a small part.
Standard of living focuses on how much we've got, while quality of life focuses on how good we have it, as discussed in this 2-minute clip with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University. Bigger vs. better. When one goes up, the other goes down… it's just simple economics.
Sustainable architecture is possible only when we're allowed to share wisdom broadly. Unfortunately, as I discuss with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University, we have burdened the profession of architecture with the necessity of uniqueness. Your work is expected to be your own unique creation if you expect to get published in the architectural magazines. But if you're not allowed to use other people's good ideas, then truly sustainable practices cannot spread broadly. This is one of the most important dilemmas in architecture today.
Living traditions are proven methods of spreading the wisdom of sustainable construction. They have spread sustainability broadly from the beginning of human history, until we gave them up and all became specialists over a span of several decades nearly a century ago, as I discuss with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University.
Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University and I talk about the problem with experts and specialists in this sub-3-minute clip. Actually, it's not a problem that we have specialists, but when everybody becomes one, it leaves a tremendous common sense vacuum because specialists focus on narrower and narrower bands of practice, leaving the wider view unconsidered.
Here's a 4-minute clip I did with Chuck Marohn for StrongTowns University on the importance of lovable buildings. If a building can't be loved, it won't last. It's carbon footprint means nothing once its parts have been carted off to the landfill.
Sustainability targets are nothing more than wishes if someone else sets them up for you, as Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University and I discuss in this sub-2-minute clip. Targets only have meaning when they are my targets for me, not my targets for you.
This 4½-minute clip with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University tells the story of a fascinating recent discovery in Rose Town, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, that I believe provides crucial insights into how we might re-start living traditions.
City growth since World War II has been almost exclusively outward, leapfrogging at breakneck speed into the countryside. But while nature limits physical growth in every creature, many other types of growth can occur… things can grow smarter, better, etc., not just bigger. Thanks to Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University for filming these episodes!
Buildings that can be used for only one thing aren't likely to last for very long. Building uses come and go all the time… telephone exchanges didn't exist just over a century ago, whereas indoor shopping malls are quickly becoming obsolete even as we watch. Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns Network and I discuss the details in this 2½-minute clip.
I tell Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns Network the story of nourishable places in this 2¼-minute clip. In a nutshell, if people can't eat there, they can't live there. Today, we can ship food in from all around the world, but that may not always be true as energy costs rise. And today, more people are celebrating the virtues of local food.
If architecture were nothing more than fashion and style, it would be impossible to design buildings that would be loved by future generations because we have no idea what fashions will be like even just a few quarters into the future, much less in the lives of our descendants. But as I discussed with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University in this clip, there are things we can do to stack the desk in our buildings' favor, giving them a much greater chance of survival long into an uncertain future.
If you want to be a significant architect today, your work must be largely unique. Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it spur inventiveness and creativity? Yes, but there are huge sustainability problems which I discuss here with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University.
Here's my one-minute summary of the Original Green with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns University.
What's best for a hotel isn't necessarily what's best for the sidewalk in an urban setting. Yet hotels clearly belong in the city, because the travelers' destinations are most often somewhere nearby in the city. This clip examines these issues, and looks at a surprise South Beach solution at the end.
You can get a great sidewalk café in less space than you might think… check out these cafés in some of the most famous parts of South Beach.
Traffic problems in the US pale compared to those of other places, such as Sao Paulo, Brazil. But we'll be much like them in the future if we don't make radical changes.
Here's my interview with Michael Lykoudis, Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, for First + Main Media's Daily Show at CNU19 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Here's my first interview with Dhiru Thadani, author of The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary, for First + Main Media's Daily Show at CNU19 in Madison, Wisconsin. Dhiru discusses his drawings and his book in this interview.
Here's Andrés Duany's pecha kucha presentation of his new Garden Cities book at the Project Lodge during CNU19 in Madison.
Here's my interview with Nathan Norris of PlaceMakers for First + Main Media's Daily Show at CNU19 in Madison, Wisconsin. Nathan talks about the remarkable resilience of the John Nolen plan for Madison in this discussion.
Here's my interview with Howard Blackson of PlaceMakers for First + Main Media's Daily Show at CNU19 in Madison, Wisconsin. Howard discusses the increasing role played within the New Urbanism by NextGen, an organization of mostly younger New Urbanists whose involvement with the movement began well after its founding.
Here's my interview with Galina Tachieva of DPZ for First + Main Media's Daily Show at CNU19 in Madison, Wisconsin. Galina describes her Sprawl Repair initiative and her new book, the Sprawl Repair Manual in this interview.
Chrisopher Alexander's instructions to make small parking lots for cars might apply to bike racks as well.
You don't need an SUV to drive to the grocery store and bring home a week's worth of rations when you live or work close enough to the grocery that you can walk there to buy groceries for each meal. Get a bit of exercise. And get fresher food.
You don't need a super-center or mega-grocery to buy the ingredients of an excellent meal. Here's a grocery two blocks from my office that only has 4,500 square feet of sales space.
Wind generators don't need to look like rooftop egg-beaters. If things can't be loved, they won't last. This video takes a look at a really cool alternative.
Solar panels shouldn't be put on the roof... they should BE the roof, or at least a part of it. The only thing we're missing if we want to do this today is panels that can be adjusted at the edge to match any size of roof.
Most people can't imagine being comfortable on South Beach on a summer afternoon, but Wanda and I show you how in this short clip.
~ Steve Mouzon