How We Sustain: UBC’s John Robinson

I dug up this image from Word and I set out to look at it from a few different perspectives. I saw…

  • an underused piece of Clip Art
  • a modern representation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (bit of a stretch)
  • memos  in paper form (widely considered an obsolete way to communicate anything to anyone)

I call it a ‘thought exercise’. Now, if you are John Robinson, you look around at things in the world and you can pinpoint the potential. He is a UBC professor studying sustainability, and he would see

  • a means by which to sequester carbon (much better to store carbon in solid form in wood than in the air)
  • a scale model representation of the future of Vancouver buildings (a mere 2 story structure! Did you know modern building technology can support 10 story wood buildings? 30 story wood buildings in the future?)

Imagine seeing a  wooden 30 story building in the heart of downtown.

The video at the bottom is of a talk he gave in May. A few more things I learned, while we have the bullet points out:

  • UBC is under a single owner (it owns itself I think) so you can use UBC as a way to study community sustainability on a sizeable piece of land. Elsewhere in Vancouver you would be tracking down multiple owners for the same sized piece of land.
  • The idea of net positive: current sustainable buildings aim to be a less-bad contribution to the environment. John Robinson floats the idea of a building with a net positive contribution to the surrounding area.

More on these, and many more: John Robinson speaks at Sam Sullivan\’s May 2011 Public Salon

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