The Best of Our Knowledge
1:08 pm
Mon June 1, 2009

The Best of Our Knowledge # 976

Albany, NY – GREEN EDUCATION: CRADLE TO CRADLE DESIGN -

As people, communities, and colleges continue to worry about the economic downturn, it brings them closer together. And in so doing, opens doors of opportunity. This can often lead to a new area of learning we refer to on this show as "Green" Education.

The people who make everyday items, from cars to chairs to cell phones attractive and functional, are called industrial designers. Now, a new generation of industrial designers (these are at Western Washington University in Bellingham) is learning how to create products that are environmentally friendly at the same time. TBOOK get this description of how it makes their jobs a bit more challenging.

The Environment Report's, Ann Dornfeld. (3:54)

PUBLIC-INTEREST DESIGN & DESIGN STIMULUS -

With the world focused in recent weeks on the flu, it showed the importance of the public health model to deal with those concerns.

Now, Thomas Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, writes that design needs a model, like public health, that can operate in the public interest. You can read about this in Fisher's recent book, "Architectural Design and Ethics: Tools for Survival." His article on public-interest design also appears in a May issue of "The Chronicle of Higher Education."

Dean Thomas Fisher writes that "At a time of declining employment in architectural offices and fading prospects for architectural graduates, an enormous amount of work remains largely overlooked by the profession: the provision of design services for the billions of people on the planet who need what architects can provide but who lack the ability to pay."

He says public-interest design would likely require a new business model and new forms of education. And he believes firms would probably need relationships with university-based design schools.

Fisher would be happy to learn then that the new model he proposes is already underway at Ulster County Community College, a two-year college of the State University of New York (SUNY). It's located in historic Hudson Valley, near the artists' communities of Woodstock, and close to New York City's metropolitan region.

Glenn Busby reports. (4:25)

NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY'S PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS DESIGN AND TEST ECO-FRIENDLY HOMES OF THE FUTURE -

In Great Britain, the government has decided to overhaul housing to try and increase efficiency and cut carbon consumption. They set the bar pretty high for this challenge. That means homes will definitely have to change the way they are built, and the way they are designed.

At Nottingham University in England, they're building homes of the future pretty much from the ground up to find out what works and what doesn't.

The best way to test a house is to live in it. TBOOK talks with university professors and students involved in this project.

Francis Kahn reports. (5:54)

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IS BIOFUEL WHIZ-KID -

When oil was over 150-dollars a barrel and we were paying over 4-dollars a gallon at the gas pumps, it was hard to find anything positive about the price of petroleum products.

But when you are a teenager working on new ways to make cheap fuel, your world can be pretty exciting.

We met a high school student who was showing off his biodiesel converter at a county fair in Ohio.

Julie Grant from The Environment Report. (3:30)