Seminar 9_Energy

April 4th

Alicia Zayshley, Todd Wilick, Ivan Katz, Ian Chung, Sam McRae, Taylor Gould, Derek Wasylyshen, Krystyl Bergen, Matthew Rajfur

Wing, Sherin. “Techne: Zofnass and Sustainable Infrastructure.” Archdaily. (accessed April 6, 2013).

Sustainable infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design

By S. Bry Sarte

Renewable energy sources aren’t all that positive. This article sheds light upon downsides of these so called “renewable energy”. For example, when considering solar energy collection as a source it is important to recognize the expensive costs of implementation, hazardous wastes during installation, and land-use associated with it.

A successful energy strategy involves the following four steps:

  1. Reduce energy demand through design.
  2. Use energy effieciently
  3. Select sustainable power supplies
  4. Address climate change and reduce carbon footprint.

Better design can reduce costs and improve performance, which would then reduce energy demand. Passive design strategies rely on energy-independent systems.  These passive technologies include passive solar heating of homes with sunlight and cooling by natural ventilation.

Other passive design strategies include:

Grid orientation


Sealed building envelope

Natural ventilation

Building Design and Orientation

Thermal Mass

Low-emittance Windows

Radiant Barriers

Reflective surfaces


“Tug of War- Renewable vs. Non-Renewable Energy | Glacial Energy Blog – Commercial Electric Savings, Electric Provider, Electric Supplier.” Glacial Energy Blog – Commercial Electric Savings, Electric Provider, Electric Supplier. (accessed April 6, 2013).

Is the Use of Renewable Energy Sources an Answer to the Problems of Global Warming and Pollution?

Temperature rise is not the only problem global warming has produced. Ocean acidification is one of the most dangerous products of global warming.

This article addresses the different energy concepts not just as better technological options but as tools of social justice and power to the citizens as well. Renewable energy sources are not the absolute side-effects free cure they are known to be. Sometimes their environmental impacts can be as negative as the impacts of traditional energy sources. Solar energy is one of these sources. There are energy requirements and pollution generation associated with materials needed to construct solar power plants. These materials include steel, cement, glass and other hazardous substances. Solar energy harvesting facilities also puts stress upon water resources for their cooling processes.

This article also discussed the ways humans had utilized renewable energy sources throughout history. Renewable energy was used indirectly or directly.  Windmills, drying clothes and crops outdoors, and solar furnaces are some of the direct uses of renewable energy. Indirect ways of using renewable energy such as geothermal streams for bathing and heating were prevalent in the old days.


What is more important, being efficient in how we collect energy & how buildings operate or reduce the energy we use?

It’s not a question of which is more important. Both should exist along side one another on the road to sustainability. The change of everyone’s values

As an individual, how can you reduce your energy intake?

Public transportation, walking, natural light, education and turning off your phone.

How do you think will affect the corporation in terms of producers & gatherers? And how will this affect the society?

If the best case possible happens, that every individual reduces energy consumption, corporations are going to be forced to put resources upon research and production of technologies and products that are more efficient and affordable.  In conclusion, if everyone does their own individual part in the global trend, this wave of change would propagate to an extent that sustainability will no longer be an option but the status quo of our society.

Bry. Sarté. “Sustainable Infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design.” John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2010, pp.166-176.

Abbasi, Tasneem. “ Is the Use of Renewable Energy Sources an Answer to the Problems of Global Warming and Pollution?” Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 2012, Vol.42(2), pp.99-154.


Seminar 8_Transportation

March 28th

Members: Devon Meyer, Branton Leskiw, Marco Garcia, Corey Doucette, Kaitlyn bailey, Neilly, Heber Garcia, Kurt, Dan Ip, Alyssa Anderson.

Nyvold, Ulrik. “Ny side 1.” Startside. (accessed April 6, 2013).


Richard T. T. Forman and Lauren E. Alexander

Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

This article discusses the effects of our current roadway system to the biodiversity, hydrology and erosion effects of the areas that surround it. The species of plants along the side of the road are not severely affected by it. But these roadways divide habitats, which prohibit animals to go from place to place safely. Road maintenance such as mowing reduces the number of possible population of species around the road. Road vehicles kill many terrestrial vertebrates and other rare species of animals.  Animals avoid roadways because of the noises that are produced by the vehicles. This creates large zones on both sides of the road exhibiting lower breeding densities and reduced biodiversity compared to natural undisturbed habitats. Roads accelerate water flow, which in turn raises flood levels, and degrade aquatic ecosystems. Road runoff carries chemicals and other substances that can harm species in nearby streams and ponds. Wildlife overpasses and underpasses are built along with fencing and vegetation to mitigate the effects of roads to the natural horizontal processes of the land.

Forman, Richard T.. “The Future of Roads: No Driving, No Emissions, Nature Reconnected | Solutions.” Solutions | For a sustainable and desirable future. (accessed April 6, 2013).

The Future of Roads: No Driving, No Emissions, Nature Reconnected

Problems with the current road network:

Habitat loss

Roakillled animals

Barrier to wildlife movement

Fragmented habitats

Traffic Noise

Degraded roadside



Ditch water and groundwater

Altered wetlands

This article discusses a new potential way of transportation called the “Netway System”. This new system involves elevated roads and belowground subway-type of roadways. In this system there will be no collisions, no road kills and no emissions. Pods will be holding the passenger and will be remote-controlled by a control-center.  The netway system includes bike lanes, pathways for pedestrians and an emergency lane. There will be different sizes of pods that are intended to carry different sizes of loads such as personal pods, public pods, pod buses, freight pods and pod trucks. As technologies advance, the plausibility of such seemingly extravagant change in transportation will increase. This is just a spark for the other great minds to think bigger and much more efficient when it comes to the future of transportation.



Either elevated or underground.

Computer Automated.

Pods and Stations.

No more collisions, no more road kills.

Environmentally friendly

What are the possible downside of the Netway System?

Both options would be expensive. Both elevated and underground roadways could

Would the negative effects of the current road system get so severe that we would implement the Netway System?

Yes, a lot of evidence and studies suggest that it will be long before we let go of  our fossil fuel thirsty transportation system.

What suggestions do you have for reconnecting the land to nature?


Would you accept the Netway System if it is implemented?

Yes, I believe that the technologies involved in this project will advance enough that the cost will drop and effectiveness will increase which in turn would make Netway only way we will move around in the future.

Forman, Richard, T., and Daniel Sperling. “The Future of Roads: No Driving, No Emissions, Nature Reconnected.”Solutions 2, no. 5 (2011): 10-23.

Forman, Richard T., and Lauren E. Alexander. “Roads and their Major Ecological Effects”. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29 (1998): 207-231.

Seminar 7_Global Change

March 21st

Members: Jesse Ghasti, Caila Sveinson, Caroline Grimms, Nichelle Facey, Julieta Cohen, Jessica Sutter, Marla Bigelow

Unknown. “Urban Heat Island Effect Southwest Urban Hydrology.” Southwest Urban Hydrology. (accessed April 5, 2013).

Global Change and the Ecology of Cities

This article discusses the effects of urbanization on the changes in land use, biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity.  The populations of cities are rapidly increasing at an alarming rate. This inevitable increase forces cities to affect larger areas of land for their needs of resources.  Efforts are already put into creating denser high-rise housing. But this kind of development induces the Urban heat island effect. The creation of these high temperature microclimates needs more energy for heating and cooling purposes.  These dense populated cities forces an expansion of urban footprint beyond the city limits. This affects the biodiversity that exists in those areas. The reduction of biodiversity is the most obvious effect. Animals tend to adapt to these changes in temperature, air quality and resources. As the environment changes these ecosystems either change to survive or just die off.

Unknown. “Canadian Water | Earth Rangers Wild Wire Blog.” Earth (accessed April 5, 2013).

Urban Growth, Climate Change and Freshwater Availability

The article discusses the inevitable water shortage in growing cities in the future and solutions for this problem. Climate change and extreme population explosion will make it difficult to provide enough water for everyone. Dams and water storage can be utilized by seasonal cities. Salt water can be filtered into fresh water in cities near the coast. Agriculture can be improved so the need for water would be reduced. Plant species that need more water can be removed to increase groundwater discharged. As cities grow, technologies and political priorities need to improve to solve water shortages in these cities.

Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas

The video delves into the rise of temperatures in Chicago because of the heat-island effect. All the pavements and roofs absorb heat during the day and release it during the night. To lower these temperatures, green roofs are developed into the design of buildings. The government prioritizes buildings that will install green roofs when it comes to the permit applications over the other that wouldn’t to promote the reduction of the heat-island effect and reduces storm water run off. Permeable sidewalks that store water are implemented so that when the water evaporates it cools the environment around it. Other sidewalks are coated with thin film of concrete that reflects heat. Street curves are designed to catch storm water runoffs to water plants in the street landscaping. Widening pathways to encourage pedestrians to use them instead of driving is one of Chicago’s greener ideas.

Reflection: Change should always start with the government promoting a more sustainable living by prioritizing anyone who wants to part of the movement.

Grimm, Nancy B. “Global Change and the Ecology of Cities” Science 319, 756.2008 (accessed April 6, 2013)

McDonald, Robert, Pamela Green, Deborah Balk, Balazs M. Fekete, Carmen Revenga, Megan Todd and Mark Montgomery. Urban Growth, Climate Change and Freshwater Availability. Accessed March 13, 2013.

PBS News. “Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas – YouTube.” YouTube. (accessed April 6, 2013).

Seminar 5_Flood Resilient Planning

March 7th

Members: Desiree Rantala, Ashley James , Rob Freeman, Tanya Kapelus, Wei Zou, BJ, Emily Bews, Samantha Garret., Milan Code.

“International Institute for Environment and Development | Shaping decisions for development.” International Institute for Environment and Development | Shaping decisions for development. (accessed April 5, 2013).

A Theory on Urban Resilience to Floods – A Basis for Alternative Planning

Current flood management practices are based on resisting the water entirely through the use of levees, dams and channels. The article delves into a theory of urban resilience to floods as an alternative urban planning. This theory involves the idea of working with the fact of the ever-changing tides of rivers. The idea embraces the inherent dynamism and uncertainties to provide unconventional strategies for coping with floods. The radically new way of dealing with extreme flooding involves the use of floodable areas of a city. This means that instead of designing based on flood control, flood adaptation should be the priority of design. Ecological and Engineering resilience are the two sub topics of the article. Ecological resilience is the ability of systems in the city to survive after the change. Engineering resilience discusses factors that could impose negative effects on structures and it’s ability to be mended after receiving the power of extreme flooding. It’s living with the unpredictable nature of rivers might become the status quo when designing a river city or any city.

Butch. “LaSalle Farmers Say It’s Time To Lift Well Restrictions.” 94.3 Loudwire – Northern Colorado’s Maximum Rock – Fort Collins Music. (accessed April 5, 2013).

Harmon, Rob.: How the market can keep streams flowing               

This video talks about the negative effect on the hydrology of the river by right holders’ over usage of water. The original settlers of the riverside properties obtain these rights. These outdated laws force each owner to consume certain amount of water if they want to keep their rights, without any regards to the environment. It was discussed in the video that implementing new systems of incentives for the right holders to return water to the rest of the community rather than exploitation is the solution for the water problem.

Liao, Kuei-Hsien.  A Theory on Urban Resilience to Floods – A Basis for Alternative planning. Ecology and           Society 17(4): 48. (accessed April 5, 2013)

Harmon, Rob. “How the market can keep streams flowing.” TED TALKS. November 2010.          (accessed April 5, 2013)

Seminar 4_Land Use and Biodiversity

Feb 28th

Members: Emeil Alvarez, Lukas Timmerman, Alanna Perron, Bethany Strecker, Kristen Mowat, Genevieve Mead, Kate Soltys, Allister Johnson, and Cedric Watat

Christoph. “Focx Photography.” (accessed April 5, 2013).

Spontaneous Urban Vegetation

Within urban areas, vegetation rarely grows because of the lack of inhabitable features of a city and the creation factors such as heat-island effect, disturbance of the landscape, poor soil and air condition. In the other hand, the plants that do succeed on thriving in deserted areas are proven to be more resilient and more tolerant to the negative impacts of the urban landscape. These species are perhaps the vegetation of the future. Perhaps it is more beneficial for us to promote these types of flora instead of trying to revive other plants that existed at the site before the urban landscape ever existed.

The James Hutton Institute. “NE Scotland Biodiversity – Biodiversity.” Welcome to the North East Scotland LBAP. Website. (accessed April 5, 2013).

Local Land-Use planning to Conserve Biodiversity

The integration of biodiversity conservation in local land-use planning is possible through several initiatives. First, conservation biologists should communicate research findings of potential biodiversity elements in urbanizing landscapes to the public and planners. Second, making both economic and noneconomic benefits of local biodiversity elements understandable to the public will make it easier for the idea to propagate. Third is collaboration of jurisidctions and including of biodiversity specialists in the planning process. The fourth action is the education of the public about biodiversity conservation and providing planners information on how to educate the local people, officials and developers. Lastly, a more effective and accessible way to send the message of biodiversity across to the planners and the public is vital.

Reflection: Every person has a responsibility to promote and maintain biodiversity but it’s the specialists’ responsibility to educate the public about it.

Stokes, David L., Marian F. Hanson, Deborah D. Oaks, Jamie E. Straub, and Aileen V. Ponio. “Local Land-Use Planning to Conserve Biodiversity: Planners’ Perspectives on What Works.”Conservation Biology . 24. no. 2 (2009): 450-460. 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01356.x (accessed April 5, 2013).

Del Tredici, Peter.”Spontaneous Urban Vegetation: Reflections of Change
in a Globalized World”. and Culture 5(3), Winter 2010: 299–315 © Berghahn Journals doi:10.3167/nc.2010.050305 (accessed April 5, 2013).

Seminar 3_Urban Agriculture

Paulin8. “Paulinate :::: Paulin8: The Economic Case for Urban Agriculture & Household Food Security.” Paulinate :::: Paulin8. (accessed April 5, 2013).


Erica. “Weekend Inspiration.” Northwest Edible Life — life on garden time. (accessed April 5, 2013).

February 14th

Members: Caleb McGinn, Darylanne Hammlin, Brydget Lewicki, Anita Robels, Lindsay Ledohowski, Amanda Reis, Samantha Brodick, Ellen Enns, Mitch

The integration of Urban Agriculture into urban planning – An Analysis of the current status and constraints 

Axel Drescher
University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Urban agriculture does not exist enough within inner-city land. Urban agriculture usually exists as a small-scale project and is not intended for profit but to provide everyday sustenance for the community, educate people about sustainable living and allow them to be self-sufficient. This idea of a local urban garden also decreases transportation energy when acquiring these foods. Proper education of what to do and how to do it well will pursued everyone to live more sustainably because it’s financially beneficial.

Urban Agriculture: Environment, Ecology and the Urban Poor

The Second article discusses the benefits of Urban agriculture and the discrepancy between the data that is being collected and the urban agriculture practices of the people. In order to fully understand and bridge the gap between the literature and the practices, we need to start from the perspective of these poor people. Let’s start in the human-scale of the community. Getting direct feedback from the citizens will provide the best data needed to improve the urban agriculture practices in both rich and poor communities.

Reflections: I believe that with proper education and ample resources, every community should start and maintain a community garden. This type of activity could bring the whole community together and would definitely teach everyone to live a very self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.

Axel, Drescher. “The integration of Urban Agriculture into urban planning – An analysis of the current status and constraints”. Urban Agriculture. ( 2001) 

Webb, Nigel. “Urban Agriculture Environment, Ecology and the Urban Poor” URBAN FORUM 9:1, (1998) pg. 96- 107 (1998)


Seminar 10_Passive

April 4th

Sava, Loredana. “Earthship Homes Made of Recycled Tyres.” Home decorating trends- Interior design & Architecture inspiration. (accessed April 6, 2013)

Thermal behaviour of an earth-sheltered autonomous building – The Brighton Earthship by Kenneth Ip

There is a resurgence of  people that interested in heavier construction due to its advantages against severe storms. “Earthship” is an earth-sheltered heavy construction method that has been pioneered by an American architect Michael Reynolds and was used in Brighton. The building’s main goal is to be self-sufficient through the use of recycled and reclaimed materials, excellent insulation, and other technologies. Storing heat through the use of a thermal store is one of the key features of  the shelter. This technology helps in regulating heat during the summer through absorption and releases heat during winter. The “earthship” is still in its early stage, which means that studies are still being conducted to improve the optimization of the heat store feature with the rest of the house.

Maynard, Andrew. “Holl House.” Andrew Maynard Architects. (accessed April 6, 2013).

Building a Green Home

The reality of effects of global warming is becoming more evident. An increase of interest on environmentally conscious living had spread through out the globe. Housing is one of the areas this movement is quite evident. Technology is in the forefront of this change. Solar technology, in union with the fast evolving technologies, allows for the production of compact fuel-free energy sources.

Houses are starting to “act more like an appliance than a container”. As advance technology gets integrated further into our homes, it opens doors of possibilities to conserve energy with a touch of a button. Prefabrication of homes is also one of the ecologically viable trends that recently emerged. Flexibility, adaptability, and interactivity along with technology are characteristics that will be evident in tomorrow’s housing.


Would you live in a Passive House?  Why or Why not?

Yes, but based on the examples shown, if aesthetics could be improved while still keeping its efficiency.

Prefab Passive House or site specific architecture?

The combination of two would make a better house. But to chose one, site specific architecture would seem more practical because of the fact that there’s more opportunity to be efficient with energy and optimizing what the site provides.

Which of the passive design strategies would work best in Winnipeg? The least?

Vegetation would be a challenge to implement during winter.

What have your learned form this class? How could this affect how you design in the future?

I’ve come into the realization that creating ecologically efficient houses does not mean that aesthetics should be compromised. Efficiency could be the main focus of a design and beauty would come naturally.

Unknown. “Building a Green Home”. Article. (accessed April 7, 2013)

Ip, Kenneth et al. “Thermal behaviour of an earth-sheltered autonomous building – The Brighton Earthship “. Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 2037–2043.