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Pioneers of Sustainable Development

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Sustainable ArchitectureProf. Avlokita AgrawalDepartment of Architecture & PlanningIndian Institute of Technology, RoorkeeLecture – 05Pioneers of Sustainable DevelopmentGood morning, welcome back to this online course on Sustainable Architecture. Todayin lecture 5 of week 1; we will be seeing or reading about the great visionaries architectsas well as non architects, who have worked hard and their revolutions, their thinking,their visionary thinking has shaped the world and also largely what we read aboutsustainability.So, in the previous lecture we had seen the different events which have happenedthrough the history and which have shaped what we talked about sustainability today orhow we understand sustainability. Today, we are talking about the people, the visionarieswho have led to the success of these events and eventually the shaping of the topic ofsustainability as we know of it today.In those times, when these events were happening or when these people were bringing tothe fore; some of the issues which were not thought of by then; the sustainability as aterm was not even coined and we people did not understand the implications of it that weare seeing today. So, let us go ahead and look at, read about the works and these some ofthese great personalities.The way I have ordered are in no particular order of chronology or their qualification orthe kind of issues they raised; they are randomly picked and these visionaries are alsolimited for the given time that I have to take. There are many more people who havebeen instrumental in shaping the sustainable development; the overall discussion aboutsustainable development. (Refer Slide Time: 02:29)So, the first personality the visionary that we talked about here is John Muir. He was oneof the America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He was aScottish, he was born one in Scotland and he shifted to America with his family early inhis life. And he had a particular love for the nature and he was a conservationist at theend of towards the end of his life. He is also called the father of America’s nationalparks; he is known as the wilderness prophet and citizen of the universe.He was the person who was instrumental in protecting some of the greatest valleys ofAmerica; like Yosemite National Park. For the first time, he brought to the fore thatsome of the natural environments, natural areas as they appear as they are must beconserved and that is what has led to the creation of some of the greatest national parksand some which followed after him, but there was a great movement he was the one whohad opposed the Governments decision for creation of a dam.However, several years after his death; after he passed away the dam eventually gotconstructed and there were different policies which were taken and he considered thatdecision as a great loss to America’s biodiversity and America’s natural assets which arethere. His greatest achievement was not his greatest achievement, but one of the majoreventevent of his life was a 3 night3-night camping trip with president Roosevelt in1903. Because of this strip and his discussions with President Roosevelt; the dam project whichwas submerging a large part of the valley Yosemite valleyYosemite Valley was put onhold and for several years the project was put on hold. However, many years later afterRoosevelt was not the president; the decisions were taken, the policies; the new policieswere formed.(Refer Slide Time: 05:00)Another visionary was Rachal Carson; she was actually an aquatic biologist. She wasworking in us fisheries and marine department and her PhD was on the use of chemicalsand pesticides and their impact on aquatic life; aquatic biota.Through her research, she found out that the spray of DDT; the wide spray of DDT wascausing a lot of biodiversity loss to aquatic systems. Different species of fish and marinelife are getting affected by it and it is actually entering the food chain. She was alreadyan established writer; a visionary thinker and writer who was publishing books likeUnder the Sea, Under the Sea Wind; these such a; some of these books which were hugesuccess were already published by the time she was writing this book called silent springwhich got published in 1962.And for the first time this issue of large scalelarge-scale DDT spray in the fields; DDT atthat time was called insect bomb. So, for the first time she brought to the fore andAmerican people the common man understood the impact of the use of pesticides;specially DDT on human beings. Till then, it was considered as a boon because it would DDT would kill all the insects and pests and it was helping them have thriving crops anda lot of production was seen.But after this there was a lot of revolt, there was a lot of opposition from commonmasses which eventually led to the policy of banning of DDT. This book and therevolution which came across America, from common people also led to the formationof US Environmental Protection Agency; US EPA which is a; which is an agency, whichis in the forefront of protecting environment in the US and across the world as well.(Refer Slide Time: 07:22)The next visionary we have is Mahatma Gandhi; the previous two visionaries werelargely talking about or focusing on the environment and conservation of theenvironment. While the discussions and the thinking; the vision of Mahatma Gandhi wasof a self reliantself-reliant human life; self reliant villages, self reliant settlements wherethe betterment of human life and ensuring fulfillment of basic needs of all human beingswas his core philosophy.However, at the bottom of it his philosophy was to limit the needs as he said that earthprovides enough to satisfy every mans needs, but not every mans greedbreath. So, thepolicies which he advocated were of self reliance and judicious use of natural resources. (Refer Slide Time: 08:30)It is also one of the driving forces behind setting up of gram samaj at local level, grampanchayat in Indian administrative systems which is currently a very strong system ofgovernance.So, gram panchayat's still playplay a vital role in making our villages self reliant andempowering the local governments. And thereby enabling the local people; the commonmasses to become self dependent and that is and that is the essential part of sustainabledevelopment, where people come to the center of it man; human being human life is atthe center of it and betterment of human beings is the most important parameter.However, at the same time taking care of environment by controlling our needs; byputting our needs within limits. So, for the first time here we see how Mahatma Gandhiadvocated all the three dimensions to be brought together society, people, environmentand also prosperity; flourishment that is through economy. (Refer Slide Time: 09:45)Then we have Stewart Brand; Stewart Brand was he initially served in us navy before; hestarted working towards environment which was his gradual later interest initially evenbefore he started advocating for protection of environment.He started demanding NASA for an image of earth as seen from their space; till that timetill he demanded we had never seen earth from the space while NASA had alreadyreached the moon and spacespace, they had already sent human being to the space andmoon. So, after he started demanding and he was canvassing he was publicizing hestarted selling small buttons which conveyed the message that we want to see earth asseen from the space as an image and it started growing as a as a motion and peoplestarted demanding for such images that was when for the first time a satellite image ofearth was shared with people publicpeople, public.And we for the first time saw a blue planet, blue dot from space how it was seen fromspace and that suddenly revolutionized how people started looking at their own planet,own earth and subsequent revolutions and subsequent movements like the one started byStewart Brand led to the celebration of the first earth day which we have seen as ahistoric event. So, his efforts have eventually led to the celebration of first earth day andnow today earth day is being celebrated and earth actually got an identity.The way we attach to our planet as an identity changed suddenly because of the kind ofefforts this visionary put in place. At that time, several of his critics were talking about why at all do we want to see the image of earth how would it change life anywhere here.No, it would not change probably, but it would change the perception of people; today itmight seem a very ordinary thing for us because now we have seen earth as seen fromthe space. At that time, it was not like that and that is what changed the perception ofpeople; that is what great visionaries do.(Refer Slide Time: 12:23)Gradually, as he turned more of an environmentalistenvironmentalist, he was talkingabout buildings he was talking about cities and national parks and different policieswhich had an impact on the environment of earth as a planet. (Refer Slide Time: 12:41)Then we have E. F.f ShumacherSchumacher; he was Britain’s chief economist atnational coal board. Till that time industrial, revolution had already taken place andindustries after industries were being set up across Europe and in Britain. People weremore focused on growth of economy and growth of industries; it was a capitalist society,it was a capitalist economy that was flourishing; it was thriving because more and moreindustries were set up. And till that time the resources had not been consumed at the facewhich was suddenly; which had suddenly picked up.He was the first one to point out, the resource depletion as a threat to industrializationand he also criticized the advocacy of continual economic growth which was beingpushed in by the capitalists. The capitalists were pushing in for setting up more and moreindustries and the consumption of the products being produced from those industriesrequired that continual economic growth; otherwise the growth of industries would notbe sustained. He was the first one to criticize this need for continual economic growthand he instead proposed that new economic thinking which is more focused on humanwellbeing we thought about.So, for the first timefirst-time economy along with human wellbeing and also a part of ittowards environmentalism; towards concern for environment was being proposed. Now,here despite being an economist; he was talking about the focus on human wellbeing thatalso changed the way people looked at environmentalism and economy together. (Refer Slide Time: 14:37)Then we have Sir Ebenezer Howard; Ebenezer Howard was not a qualified architect ortownsound planner; yet he designed the one of the most convincing ideas of a Utopiancity which were we know as the Garden City. He did not publishedpublish much, he wasnot into the field of planning though towards the later period of his career of his life.Because of his visionary thinking of a Utopian idea; he had set up a body, anorganization with like mindedlike-minded people of his times and they went on to set upsome of the first garden cities of Britain and also of the world; where they actuallydemonstrated how a garden city would work. This was at a time when industrialrevolution had already taken place and the condition of cities in Europe was declining;the human health was declining; there was no focus on human wellbeing, that was whenhe had proposed the concept of garden cities which still holds today.And after he first proposed the concept of garden cities; there have been several suchconcepts which were proposed by people, visionaries in different periods of time acrossthe world, but the essential concept being of bringing human beings and their builtenvironment settlements in close proximity to nature where they are interchangeably thesame thing.So, the cities; the city actually comprises of settlement which is surrounded by greenery,surrounded by nature, agricultural farm lands, forests, maintained manicured gardens;everything within a city along with the occupied built spaces. So, this was much much-much ahead of its time and they had also proved it through some of the early gardencities.(Refer Slide Time: 16:50)Another visionary was Patrick Geddes; he was a planner, he said this is a green worldwith animals comparatively few and small and dependent on the leaves; by leaves welive. He advocated the protection of greenery, nature around our cities; more than that headvocated the participation of people towards planning of cities. He advocated that thecities be planned for people and for the first time he advocated for civic surveys.Till that time, it was around 1880s; till that time civic surveys were not conducted beforeplanning any new city. It was only a geographic survey which was undertaken, there wasno need which was felt for bringing in people and what they need; what are tounderstand their needs and their demands. He advocated that people be brought to thecenter of it and before any new city is planned; a civic survey be conducted which was agreat visionary step towards bringing people to the center of development.Another thing that he advocated was he advocated for a regional plan; instead ofplanning for cities, the limit of cities he advocated for planning of a regional region; aregional plan be prepared where our vision he advocated for the vision to be a long termand large spaced vision; not confined to a small physical area like a city. Through that; though it was not initially done like that though he advocated, but overyears we have seen that we advocate today the making of a regional plan before anydevelopment takes place and that is what governments and organizations across theworld are now doing. So, he was a great visionary who brought people to the center ofcities or urban development.(Refer Slide Time: 19:10)Patrick Geddes inspired Lewis Mumford; the writings of Patrick Geddes and hisphilosophy, his philosophy of bringing people to the center of cities and urban builtenvironment was what inspired Lewis Mumford; who was a planner, who was a townplanner. And he criticized he departed from the idea of the British idea; colonial idea ofvery planned cities. He criticized that idea by saying that this kind of a planning agridiron plan is required for military camps, for increasing the speed of movement tohelp better navigate.However, such cities which are too planned are not people friendly city; cities. Peoplemust be allowed to develop their own cities and they must always be organic in nature.The street how the streets develop, how the streets moved within the city, how thesquares happened; they should all be organic depending upon what people want and howpeople have been living and how people want to live. So, he further advocated the ideaof Patrick Geddes. (Refer Slide Time: 20:37)Lewis Mumford also introduced in his book Techniques and Civilization the distinctionof technology. He differentiated the technology as a two-fold technology one which waspolytechnic which enlists many different modes of technology providing a complexframework to solve human problems. However, the other type was mono techniquewhich is the technology only for its own sake which oppresses humanity as it movesalong its own trajectory.It is quite difficult to understand here, but mono technique by mono technique, he tookan example of the kind of transport systems which were being advocated in USA; whichwere largely personal car based. Now, there he said that the increased use of personal carfor travel; for movement has pushed the pedestrians, the bicycle riders to the core and allother means of transport to the sides where there is no space for them; this was long backwhen American cities were being planned when American highways were beingplanned.And after several decades of his advocating and his criticizing of such a transportsystem; America is actually reeling under a huge tremendous pressure where there is norobust public transport system. People drive almost everybody drives their own car;carpooling is being advocated more and more robust public systems are being advocated,which at that time nobody had thought as they were not even enough of cars; at that time such a visionary was criticizing the use of such a mono technique. So, he wroteelaborately on technology and its use towards human life; mankind at large.(Refer Slide Time: 22:41)Another visionary was CKonstantinos Doxiadis; Doxiadis was a landscape architect.(Refer Slide Time: 22:49)And he was an ecologist and he promoted, he advocated the idea of ecological citieswhere he advocated that society, the infrastructure system, the networks, the builtenvironment, the buildings all be connected together with nature and people be anintegral part of it. We cannot plan our cities with just infrastructure and buildings and not include the people, society and nature into it. He advocated the idea of ecological citieswhich is an established idea in today’s times.Now, all these different visions; the ideas which we are which we are listening to todaywhich I am discussing today seem to be pretty established in today’s times. Because weare being faced with such severe crisis environmental problems, social problems,economic problems that all these ideas are fairly established and we understand the needfor it. We have to think of the times in which these ideas were being advocated, thosewere the times when the population was probably one fourth of what it is now.The pressure on resources, on environment was also not as much. The pollution thoughhad begun had started being evident, but yet the quality of life from environmental pointof view was not so degraded yet these visionaries were thinking of these ideas. Andtoday all these visions and thinking’s have led to an understanding of sustainabledevelopment of sustainability as an established idea, as an established philosophy.(Refer Slide Time: 24:51)Another visionary is Ian McHharg; he was very critical of the way human beings aredeveloping; the way we are growing. He called mankind human beings as a disease onearth, he said we totally insult the natural systems; environment, we are the bullies ofearth. He would make very strong speeches in public and where he would always criticize theway we are developing, the way we are growing human being as a race. He called humanbeings as the bullies of the earth very strong, foul, coarse, greedy, careless, indifferent toothers laying waste as we proceeded leaving wounds, welts, lesions, suppurations on theearth’s body. His discussions, his discourses motivated people to look at what is beingdone and also charted a course, where the other side of the thinking started developingand gathering momentum.(Refer Slide Time: 26:12)Next visionary is Victor Olgyay; he was an architect and he was an associate professor atthe School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Princeton University. He was a leadingresearcher on the relationship between architecture, climate and energy. He advocatedthat all architecture at any scale starting from small buildings to large cities we designedand developed in direct relationship with the climate; climate of the place to which it isresponding.He wrote several books on establishing this relationship between architecture, climateand energy. He developed the design principles of how architecture should be shaped, hestarted discussing about the passive designing an architect passive designing inarchitecture for the first time and his writings he was an avid writer and his writings, hisbooks are used as textbooks in almost all the architecture schools across the world. He is a celebrated researcher; he researched in establishing the relationship betweenarchitecture and climate.(Refer Slide Time: 27:35)Otto Koenigsberger is another one of the same league; Victor Olgyay and he is almost acontemporary. Some of the great books which we read which were written by OttoKoenigsberger are being followed as textbooks in all architecture schools; the one wehave on tropical climate; Architecture in Tropical Climate was also written byKoenigsberger and Olgyay together.They talked about how buildings should be designed for different climates; almost acrossthe world and gave out handy tools to design these buildings. They advocated passivedesigning as the first measure towards designing climate responsive buildings whichconsume less energy. It was around the time when opaque all oil crisis had already takenplace at a prop almost a decade prior to that and buildings had already started to consumegreat amounts of energy.So, their vision at that time was much ahead of their time where they advocated forbuildings to be passively designed; in order to consume lesser amounts of energy and bemore comfortable in turn. (Refer Slide Time: 28:56)Another visionary is Jane Jacobs; she was no qualified architect or planner; she wasactually an activist,activist; she was a journalist. And for the first time when she startedthe movement, the revolution against the opposition; it was actually to protect her villagewhich was being taken up for the development of a city and a highway was supposed topass through that.She along with her fellow residents started protesting against the developmental project,development project which was eventually stalled and she from then on became aleading activist; who was looking at how American cities were growing, were beingplanned developed. She was the one who criticized the leading planner urban planner ofNew York city and she criticized the policies, the designs which were being undertakenby him.Her writings which were gathered, which were a reflection of the experience that shegained over years of understanding the city’s growth; the way cities were growing andshe termed them as totally people unfriendly cities where people do not feel comfortable.So, the cities were just growing to support economic growth, but not the growth ofsocieties of communities. (Refer Slide Time: 30:27)The last visionary that we are discussing today is Hassan Fathy; Hassan Fathy is alsoknown as Middle East’s father of sustainable architecture. He was a qualified architectwho promoted, advocated the use of natural building; natural building materials,traditional systems of designing buildings where passive design was the first steptowards designing comfortable buildings and also advocated the Utopian architecture.He was the architect who was commissioned by the Prince of Egypt in those times todesign for his own house. And he convinced the prince to construct his house which waseven actually a palace using the natural materials which were locally available;abundantly available, using the same passive design strategies which would be used forany other common mans residence and incorporating the same passive design featuresand making it look as of the common masses.He went on to develop some of the most prestigious projects in Egypt largely in that partof the world where he designed for cities, he designed for an entire settlement, hedesigned for the markets. All bearing the same identity as that of the place using thesame locally available materials which were abundant and engaging the same passivedesign techniques. That is why he is very rightly called the Middle East’s father ofsustainable architecture and the kind of architecture that he created was totally rooted tothe context; yet absolutely contextual, even for today’s times.His architecture paved way and coined; helped people coined the term sustainablearchitecture which is what we understand as on date. With this, we would conclude thelast lecture of week 1. In this week 1, we have understood how sustainability andsustainable development gradually developed as an idea, as a philosophy. What were thehistorical events which led to the growth of this concept, who were the visionaries andwhat were their contributions which led to our understanding of sustainability andsustainable development as we understand it today.today? What are our needs and howcan we move ahead; if we have to move ahead sustainably.In the coming week, we would talk about the impacts of development which is notsustainable on the natural environment and what is the need for sustainable architecture.Why at all are we focusing on sustainable architecture; we would see that in week 2.Thank you for watching this lecture; see you again in the next lecture.Thank you.