“What freedom was for our parents’ generation, sustainability is for our generation.” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman didn’t mince words during his keynote address, which opened the day at the 2011 AIA Convention. Friedman, the author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded spoke about the subprime crisis—which broke between the hardcover and paperback releases of his book. Global “weirding” and the global financial crisis have three features in common, according to Friedman: underpriced risk, privatized gains, and socialized losses. Glossing on themes that he has developed in his books and column over the years, Friedman says that U.S. innovation is key to ensuring that rising commercial and industrial giants emulating the American model—from Doha, Qatar, to Dalian, China—do so sustainably. To this end, he praised BNIM director of design Steve McDowell, who presented before Friedman. “It’s one of the great truisms,” Friedman says. “Green is just better.”