Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Building Social Change Exchange From Tokyo To New York

There's a design charette brewin' for Brooklyn's Brownsville.
Eco products, urban agriculture, renewable energy: relatively new concepts which have become everyday terms around the world and now impact how we live day to day. We see the seeds of these ideas sprouting all over New York, with green roofs coming to life, street-side makeovers turning the city more bike friendly, and green markets popping up all over.

NYC is not alone in this transformation. Japan has made strides to answer the green call promoting more walking-friendly cities, LED lights are now the latest thing to cut energy costs, and architects are finding more ways to make green open space.

There are many ways the U.S. and Japan can learn and benefit from one another in the green revolution, and Japan Society fosters this discussion.

As part of a 2-day program, Japan Society’s U.S.-Innovators Network brings together designers, social entrepreneurs, and architects whose work focuses on social issues. On Tuesday, November 2, The Design Difference features Atelier Bow-Wow's Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Public Architecture's  John Peterson and moderator Valerie Casey from Designers Accord. They discuss the latest thinking in architecture and design from Japan and the U.S. and explore its influence on behavior, how it illuminates culture, and how the built environment shapes community. 

Tsukamoto seeks to create spaces in ways that align and maximize the harmony (wa) of the space, the surrounding environment, and human need. In his book Behaviorology, he describes his approach as a thought process:
[it] brings about an immediate shift in subjectivity, inviting many different elements together and calling into question who or what may be the main protagonist of a space. Through this ecological approach our imagination follows the principles of nature and experiences space from a variety of perspectives. When one is surrounded by and synchronized to the liveable rhythms embedded in different behaviors – there is no experience quite so delightful.”
Peterson is looking to harness the power of public service by bringing together architects to volunteer 1% of their time to projects focused on public good. The program "challenges architecture and design firms nationwide to pledge a minimum of 1% of their time to pro bono service," connecting and committing  powerful firms with nonprofit organizations in need of design assistance.

Casey recently told the design site Core77 that key questions addressed in the discussion are:
What do Tokyo and Brownsville, Brooklyn have in common? How can we apply the tenets of "Behaviorology" - the interplay of people, nature, and buildings - to change social conditions? How does the built environment shape community and create culture, and what are the responsibilities of architects and designers in making positive change?
Come find out the answers and discover new ways design is shaping our lives! Tickets are $12 for general public and $8 for Japan Society members, students and seniors. And if you’re looking for more, check out MOMA’s Small Scale Big Change exhibit, which also explores how architecture impacts social design.

One of Atelier Bow-Wow's innovative green spaces. Via.
 J.A.

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