Going Green

July 22, 2019 in Design, Environment

What do we mean when we talk about making buildings greener? It sounds pretty straightforward, but there’s no shortage of systems and terms to navigate –  passive houses, net zero homes or LEED certified buildings, life cycle assessments, energy efficiency and water conservation. And although the technical elements of going green are incredibly important, our guest today suggests that the definition of a green building is personal and individualized. Matt Grace is a green building engineer and the managing Principal at Integral Group in Calgary.


The Laws of Settlements

June 24, 2019 in Design, History

From a small Nova Scotia town to booming Barcelona to the mega-city of Jakarta, are there any laws that govern all human settlements? Are there consistent patterns that manage where people live, across scale and time? 

Back in the sixties, an architect and planner named Constantinos Doxiadis explored this question. He sought to understand the complexity and growth of human settlements. In his 1968 book called Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements, Doxiadisspent 527 pages proposing a science of settlements. 

Today I am talking with Erick Villagomez, an urban designer, professor and writer in Vancouver who has revived and expanded on some elements of Doxiadis’ work. In 2017, Erick self-published a book called The Laws of Settlements. 


Child Scale Cities

May 27, 2019 in Design

One of the trademark elements of cities is their diversity – of spaces, or activities and of people. Yet, when we consider how our cities get built, that diversity can often be forgotten. I’m a middle aged, able bodied, Caucasian male. Cities generally work pretty well for me. But what if you have a visual impairment? What if you are female? Or what if you are a child? We have explored some of the implications of considering diversity in our cities in previous episodes and will continue to do so in the future, but today, I wanted to talk to someone who is examining urban places from the perspective of children. John talks with Vivian Doumpa, who is examining urban places from the perspective of children.