We are entering a period of once-unfathomable hope on climate change. Grassroots movements and their allies in Congress, led by the insurgent millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are staking out an ambitious agenda that matches the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. These new leaders are articulating their vision in terms of a Green New Deal—a still-abstract set of proposals for decarbonizing the economy, eliminating poverty, creating green, working-class jobs, and retrofitting communities for the coming effects of climate change. Decarbonizing the U.S. economy would be a massive boost to the fundamentally international project of preventing runaway climate change. Domestically, a Green New Deal would constitute a generational investment in planning and design, reshaping the social and physical landscape of the U.S. in ways matched only by the Industrial Revolution, New Deal, and postwar suburban boom. But the debates around fleshing out the Green New Deal vision have been relatively silent on its enormous implications for the built environment. And there is too little dialogue between Green New Deal proponents and the planning and design professions.
Here we sit, in the throes of a new generation’s ecological crisis, buoyed by an ascendant and broad-based progressive movement, as the most ambitious and interesting environmental and design proposal of the last half-century, a Green New Deal, gains momentum. The entirety of the built environment is at stake. And the design professions—for all of their self-important rhetoric about leading on climate—are missing in action.
A national-scale landscape transformation is coming. We'll all have to decide how best to manage and guide that process. Designers must choose if they want to be an active part of the coalition driving this change in the built environment. If they do, they will have to change the way they operate, becoming public servants as they were during the New Deal. They would also gain the chance to bring extraordinary skills to bear on literally rebuilding the country. Creating landscapes of genuine economic and racial equality will require both mass mobilization and the best possible technical expertise.
"Designing a Green New Deal" intends to bring a broad array of voices together, placing economists, historians, and designers in conversation with journalists, organizers, elected officials, and other parties engaged in organizing for climate action. This event will serve as the launch of a broader, Green New Deal and the built environment research initiative in The McHarg Center.
Avery Hall Room 114, 1pm
This afternoon conference at Columbia GSAPP is co-organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, and the Society of Fellows / Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.
Introductions by Reinhold Martin, Columbia University, and Mirko Zardini, CCA
Daniel Barber, University of Pennsylvania
Aleksandr Bierig, Harvard University
Nerea Calvillo, Warwick University
Jiat-Hwee Chang, National University of Singapore
Isabelle Doucet, Manchester University
Hannah le Roux, University of the Witwatersrand
Kiel Moe, McGill University
Paulo Tavares, Universidade de Brasília
Response by Meredith TenHoor, Pratt Institute
Panel moderated by Meredith TenHoor and Kim Förster, CCA
Some profit from climate change, but many more suffer its consequences. It’s that simple; any history of anthropogenic planetary transformation is therefore also a history of inequality, injustice, and struggle.
Arguing that architecture needs an environmental history, the Canadian Centre for Architecture has organized, with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the multidisciplinary, collaborative research project ”Architecture and/for the Environment.” But what should this history look like? Around whose priorities should its objects of inquiry be defined and assembled? What truths should it seek?
As a part of the CCA’s research project and in conjunction with the Buell Center’s “Power: Infrastructure in America” research initiative, this afternoon event will offer new directions and agendas for environmental histories of architecture that combine a planetary perspective with an assertion that national centers of power, particularly those in the United States, continue to hold outsize influence and responsibility.
This event follows the CCA public seminar on 9 June, “It’s Complicated,” during which Mellon researchers and invited scholars interrogated paired concepts of Energy/Power, Control/Systems, Body/Exposure, and Post-human/Nature.
With “It’s Simple,” the CCA and the Buell Center propose that there are few winners and mostly losers in the Anthropocene, and that architectural—indeed environmental—historiography must begin by acknowledging this fact. Though the narratives might be complex, the imperative is simple.
This afternoon event is preceded by a pop-up display organized by the CCA on the fourth floor of Avery Hall entitled ”‘You Must Choose Between Oxygen or Wealth.’“ Shown from October 8–19, it will highlight the CCA’s recent efforts to examine environmental issues through distinct, yet interlinked curatorial approaches. The display’s title is taken from the artist Douglas Copeland’s Slogans for the Twenty-First Century.
Daniel Barber is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, as well as a Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany. His most recent book is titled A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War (2016).
Aleksandr Bierig is a PhD candidate studying urban and architectural history at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, United States. His research concerns interactions between the built environment, the natural environment, and political economy in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.
Nerea Calvillo is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom, where she investigates the material, technological, political, and social dimensions of environmental pollution.
Jiat-Hwee Chang is Associate Professor of Architecture at the National University of Singapore and has written and co-edited several books, including the recently published, A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience (2016).
Isabelle Doucet is professor of architectural theory and history at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, where her research focuses on the relationship between (urban) politics, aesthetics, and social responsibility in architecture. She is the author of The Practice Turn in Architecture. Brussels after 1968(2015) and she recently co-edited with Hélène Frichot the thematic issue “Resist Reclaim Speculate. Situated Perspectives on Architecture and the City” (Architectural Theory Review, 2018).
Kiel Moe is the Gerald Sheff Professor of Architecture at McGill University where he teaches design and advanced construction as energetic and environmental processes.
Hannah le Roux is an architect, curator, and educator at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work revisits the modernist project in architecture and considers how its transformation under the influence of the agency of African users presents a conceptual model for contemporary design.
Paulo Tavares is an architect based in Brasília, where he teaches at the Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil. He runs the design and research agency autonoma, is a long-term collaborator of Forensic Architecture anda co-curator of Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019.
Image: Lynne Cohen. Spa, 2003. Chromogenic color print. PH2017:0051. Canadian Centre for Architecture. Gift of Andrew Lugg © Lynne Cohen
Lynne Cohen. Spa, 2003. Chromogenic color print. PH2017:0051. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Gift of Andrew Lugg. (Lynne Cohen)
On Sunday, November 17, 2019, at the Queens Museum, “The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” gathered a wide array of advocates, organizers, and elected officials to explore the GND’s relationship to society, policy, and the built environment.
Climate change is a crisis of unevenly experienced and systemic injustices that asks hard questions of scholars, practitioners, and community members alike. The Green New Deal—most famously as drafted in US H. Res. 109 and S. Res. 59, but echoed by elected officials and activists around the world—addresses these questions head-on, linking equity, the environment, and the economy to the transformations necessitated by the climate crisis.
“The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” focused on modeling democratic debates that seriously consider the ambitions and challenges of the GND by thinking systemically and across scales. The public event included morning workshops and an afternoon series of discussions to encourage exchange among invited guests representing a range of disciplines as well as the general public. Spanish interpretation services was provided for the afternoon assembly, beginning at 1:00pm.
Located at the Queens Museum—home of the Panorama of the City of New York and in the heart of the nation's most diverse borough—“The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” took place within US Congressional District NY 14, jurisdiction of the GND Resolution’s sponsor Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who joined the assembly with a pre-recorded video.
The representative from D-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, responded to three questions posed to all event participants.
The event was organized by the Queens Museum, the American Institute of Architects New York (AIA New York), The Architecture Lobby, Francisco J. Casablanca (¿Quién Nos Representa?), and Gabriel Hernández Solano (GND Organizer), together with the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. At the Buell Center, “The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” forms part of the project “Power: Infrastructure in America,” within which the Center is organizing a series of research, curricular, and programming initiatives to consider the social, technical, and political contours of the ambitious— but still largely undefined—proposal.
10:00 Welcome / Bienvenida
10:30–12:00 Workshops / Talleres
1:00 Welcome (back) / Segunda Bienvenida
1:15 On a Green New Deal / Sobre un Green New Deal
2:00 On Energy and Power / Sobre energía y poder
Presentation by morning discussion group
2:20 Remarks by Costa Constantinides (City Council, 22nd CD)
2:30 Public Discussion
3:00 On Transportation and Power / Sobre transportación y poder
Presentation by morning discussion group
3:20 Remarks by Catalina Cruz (State Assembly, 39th AD)
3:30 Public Discussion
4:15 On Government and Power / Sobre gobierno y poder
Presentation by morning discussion group:
4:35 Remarks by Jessica Ramos (State Senator, 13th SD)
4:45 Public Discussion
5:15 Concluding remarks and discussion / Conclusión, comentarios y discusiones
6:00 Reception / Recepción
“The Green New Deal: Una Asamblea Pública” convocó una selección amplia de especialistas, organizadores, y oficiales elegidos para explorar la relación entre el "Green New Deal," la sociedad, la política, y el ambiente construido.
El cambio climático, siendo una crisis desigual y de injusticias sistemáticas, es un desafío lleno de interrogantes, tanto para académicos, profesionales, y miembros de la comunidad por igual. El Green New Deal—mejor conocido por su redacción en US H. Res. 109 y S. Res. 59, y que resuena con los oficiales elegidos y activistas alrededor del mundo—aborda esas preguntas de una forma directa, enlazando la equidad, el medio ambiente, y la economía a las transformaciones necesarias para enfrentar crisis climática.
“The Green New Deal: Una Asamblea Pública” se enfocó en modelar debates democráticos que consideran seriamente las ambiciones y los retos del GND, pensando sistemáticamente y en varias escalas. Este evento público incluyó talleres de trabajo en la mañana, en la tarde y una serie de discusiones para fomentar un intercambio productivo entre los invitados de distintas disciplinas y el público general. Se proveyó servicios de interpretación en español para la asamblea de la tarde, comenzando a las 13:00.
Al estar ubicado en el Museo de Queens—situado en el corazón del distrito más diverso del país y donde podemos encontrar la maqueta “Panorama of the City of New York”—“The Green New Deal: Una Asamblea Pública” se llevó a cabo dentro del Distrito NY 14 del Congreso de los Estados Unidos, jurisdicción de la patrocinadora de la Resolución del GND, la Representante Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, quien se unió a la discusión por un video pre-grabado (arriba).
Este evento estuvo organizado por el Museo de Queens, el Instituto Americano de Arquitectos de Nueva York (AIANY), el Lobby de Arquitectura, Francisco J. Casablanca (¿Quién Nos Representa?), y Gabriel Hernández Solano (Organizador del GND), en conjunto con el Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture en Columbia University. En el Buell Center, “The Green New Deal: Una Asamblea Pública” forma parte del proyecto “Power: Infrastructure in America” (Poder: Infraestructura en América), dentro del cual el Centro está organizando una serie de iniciativas curriculares, investigativas, y programáticas que consideran los entornos sociales, técnicos, y políticos de una propuesta ambiciosa, pero en gran parte indefinida.
"Green New Deal: Public Assembly" (Corey Torpie)
"Green New Deal: Public Assembly" begins around a Panorama of the City of New York (Corey Torpie)
Xiye Bastida participates in the "Democracy and Power" workshop (Claudia Kleffmann)
Workshop participants taking notes alongside "The Green New Deal: Assembled Annotations" (Claudia Kleffmann)
Charcol Language Cooperative gives a language justice orientation (Claudia Kleffmann)
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the audience (Claudia Kleffmann)
Andy Abreu discusses a Green New Deal (Corey Torpie)
Priya Mulgaonkar on "Energy and Power" (Claudia Kleffmann)
Leah Meisterlin discusses "Transportation and Power" (Claudia Kleffmann)
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz on "Transportation and Power" (Corey Torpie)
"Government and Power" (Corey Torpie)
The climate crisis is changing the world. Some people are moving in the face of rising seas and extreme weather, and others are redesigning the places they live. But those making such plans and those most affected by them are not always the same. The challenges posed by climate change thus force architects, planners, engineers, and others charged with imagining the future of their communities to contend with enduring questions of democracy and justice.
This conference foregrounds Louisiana’s experience with these challenges, because on the Gulf Coast, the climate has changed. New designs and infrastructures have reshaped how Louisianans live, just as evacuation, eviction, and emigration in the face of rising seas have redefined where they live. All the while, as the United States confronts climate change it is already riven by stark inequalities. Escaping critical interrogation, technocratic plans promulgated in the name of “resilience” can not only reproduce, but exacerbate existing injustices across the country and beyond its borders. Many policies that promise security for some cause suffering for others. But must there be winners and losers in the pursuit of safety, justice, and democracy?
This event brings together architects, planners, scholars, artists, and others whose work engages with the challenges of planning for climate change. Using Louisiana as the case to “think with,” participants will work comparatively to evaluate the perils and promises of risk and retreat, given the imperatives of justice and democracy.
Who, and what, is at risk?
Who leaves their home—when, why, and how?
How do technocratic claims obscure injustice?
What kind of a challenge is climate change?
Fallon Samuels Aidoo, Jean Brainard Boebel Chair in Historic Preservation, Assistant Professor of Planning & Urban Studies, University of New Orleans
Andy Horowitz, Assistant Professor, Department of History, School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University
Carol McMichael Reese, PhD, Director of the City, Culture, and Community Ph.D. Proram; Professor of Architecture, Tulane University
Columbia University, Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture
University of New Orleans: Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (CHART), Department of Planning and Urban Studies
Columbia University: Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture
Of interest might also be a related symposium on Saturday, March 30th at the University of New Orleans titled "Heritage at Risk: Climate Changes to Historic Preservation," which has been organized and sponsored by UNO's Jean Brainard Boebel Endowed Chair in Historic Preservation and produced in conjunction with "Democracy in Retreat?"
Flooded houses and highways in New Orleans (Jocelyn Augustino, FEMA)
Traci Birch on the "Defining and Managing Risk" Panel Discussion
Fallon Aidoo introducing "Evacuation, Emigration, Eviction" Panel
Daniel Aldana Cohen on the "Greenwashing" Panel
Bryan Parras on the "Is This Democracy?" Panel