All posts by Lance Hosey

December 27, 2010

"Truly Sustainable"

A large number of the comments readers post online fall into two camps—those that dismiss sustainability and those that misrepresent it. The former group, echoing many conservatives, rejects global warming as a hoax and Al Gore as a con man, and the UN as a "propaganda machine." The latter group, following many liberals, offers the opposite view—that sustainability is "essential" but that nothing labeled “green” ever measures up. One suggests that sustainable design is too much, while the other implies that it’s not enough. Both extremes rage about greenwashing but with opposite motivation. As one reader asked recently, Read more...

December 23, 2010

Buildings in Plain Packages

In April, Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd launched the world’s first health campaign that bans good design. Research conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reveals that attractive graphics on cigarette packaging distract from the health warnings about the dangers of smoking. In response, Rudd is mandating that cigarette companies use generic "plain packaging" to ensure that the warnings are more prominent. The move effectively makes graphic design illegal, Read more...

December 17, 2010

The Death of the Shelf

When buildings are no longer limited to manufactured products, will buildings feel less architectural and more atmospheric? The “state of the shelf,” a familiar term among product manufacturers, refers to constraints set by what materials are available on the market. Electronics makers, for example, often innovate by assembling readily available components in novel ways. Read more...

December 11, 2010

Quality Counts

As reported in today’s Washington Post, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros says that the biggest problem in housing today isn’t toxic loans, rampant foreclosures, or plummeting prices and sales—it’s the quality of construction. "The quality issue has been a serious problem in the home-building industry in the mid- and low price range for a long time," Cisneros says. "It was exacerbated in the boom because we outstretched the capabilities of the workforce." The issue isn’t just a concern for homeowners, he says. "When construction is poor and there are obvious signs of deterioration after 30 years or less," he says, “it impacts an entire neighborhood and an entire community. We are going to be building so much in the future, and we need to get it right." Read more...

December 03, 2010

Take It Back

If you haven’t heard about Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), get ready. Increasingly, sustainable solutions are focusing on end-of-life opportunities to reduce waste, recover material, and alleviate landfills. EPR, or product stewardship, does this through political means, by legislating requirements that urge or force manufacturers to bear the burden of recovery. The idea is to hold the makers of things accountable for the impact of things once they outlive practical use—that is, to shift the responsibility away from consumers and communities. Read more...


About the Blogger

Lance Hosey

thumbnail image Contributing editor and author of ARCHITECT’s monthly Eco column, Lance Hosey, AIA, LEED AP, Hon. FIGP, is president and CEO of GreenBlue, a nonprofit and consultancy dedicated to environmental innovation and the creative redesign of industry. A registered architect, he is a former director at William McDonough + Partners. With Kira Gould, he is the co-author of Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design (2007). His forthcoming book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design, studies how form and image can enhance conservation, comfort, and community at every scale of design, from products to cities.