Monday, November 21, 2011

Seminar Record

Seminar 1.
Seminar 1.

Starting the day with everyone in the ‘Manufacture and Sustainability’ elective was a great way to re-introduce myself to the other topics involved. After spending the last few weeks focusing on my chosen topic it was interesting to see how other people had faced the subject, specifically on the topic of biomimicry.

We then continued to the King’s cross redevelopment program, stopping by St.Pancras Old Church, possibly one of the oldest churches in London, as it poses an issue of manufacture. When the railway was being built the graves were relocated without consideration creating a social stir. I think this is a prime example of how a lack of a holistic approach to viewing a landscape can overlook issues that could easily be avoided.

Though impressive in size, being Europe’s largest city redevelopment program, what I found most innovative was the concept of multi purpose buildings and public spaces. For example, in the image below you can see the plan for an apartment complex where spaces have been allocated for plot farming. The whole project has a utopian feel to it, combining all elements of a functioning micro society, whilst combining eco friendly building materials, and conserving the local surrounding community.   

Personally, I am skeptical on whether this will be a successful venture as the apartments on the complex are luxury apartments, thus much more expensive that could otherwise be expected of the area, and the shops that are planned for the area seem to be of a high standard. My question is whether this will alienate people from the local community, and will this type of forced development focused on a specific physical section lead to a larger economic gap in the community. As the venture is a new one, we will have to wait and see.

Seminar 2.

As the topic I have focused on, the maintenance of landscapes in terms of both their physical and cultural elements, is quite specific, it has been difficult for me to find peers who are researching similar topics. However, when grouped together with others focusing on politics, environmental policy, and community, I found many topics to which my research could relate.

First of all, Laura is focusing her research on how the attitudes towards arts and creative industries are changing in the political climate of the recession. From her research, she has deducted that people are now much more willing to invest in design objects and high quality products. With the limited amounts of jobs and work opportunities, designers themselves are forced to being more entrepreneurial. For her primary data she has done survey’s of consumer attitudes. In a sense, this links strongly to my research as it is about the attitudes in society and how this can create a certain type of supportive atmosphere. As times are becoming harder, support within a society grows and the need for long lasting solutions becomes clearer.

Michael’s research related to use of semiotics in the image in visual communications to explain environmental issues, and how this influences politics. As a case study, he has looked at the changes in the Canadian press in the 1990’s by analyzing the photographs that were linked with text on environmental issues, often being completely unrelated and focused on selling papers using the element of drama instead of clear journalistic efforts. Furthermore, the use of iconic images that we immediately relate to climate change, such as melting icebergs, drowning polar bears etc., can lead to a sense of detachment format he actual issues involved, making it inconceivable to the average reader how they can positively affect the environment. This research can partially be looked at as opposite force to collaboration in a society to maintain a landscape, which is a central idea to my project. The power of the visual image in an interesting one, and it’s ability to explain complicated issues in a manageable way has been clear to me as it is part of my profession, but rarely have I looked at it’s negative connotations. Though Micheals research highlights the negative in visual communication I think it is important to remember that these same techniques can be used for reinforcing the positive.