5KL: Four Questions

Since The Architectural League launched its initiative The Five Thousand Pound Life in September, we’ve been bringing you periodic updates of its public programs and digital releases that explore how we think, talk, and act on architecture, climate change, and our economic future. In the most recent piece of the project, 5KL: Four Questions, the speakers, writers, and respondents involved in the initiative were asked to answer a set of common questions to more succinctly capture and compare their varied perspectives. In the first release of the questionnaire, Stephen Gardiner, Rosalie Genevro, Melissa Lane, Anthony Leiserowitz, Andrew Wade, and Adam Yarinsky weigh in on the following:

Q1: What is the most significant action an individual can take to move American society toward a sustainable future?

Q2: To what extent is economic growth necessary, and can it be sustained indefinitely?

Q3: Is regulation or innovation the better tool to slow climate change?

Q4: Is present sacrifice necessary for future prosperity, or can our creativity sidestep sacrifice through innovation?

Commonalities certainly arise among the answers: in response to what an individual can most significantly do to move American society toward a more sustainable future (Q1), both Stephen Gardiner and Anthony Leiserowitz promote active political engagement in hopes of reforming existing institutions, and every respondent spoke of the need for a coupling of innovation and regulation to address climate change (Q3). But the questionnaire also articulates distinct approaches and opinions based on the variety of backgrounds represented: Architect Adam Yarinsky spoke to the ability for creative design such as the “Passive House” to preclude the necessity for sacrifice for future prosperity while Melissa Lane, Professor of Politics at Princeton, advocated for “rethinking what ‘sacrifice’ in the present means” and noted that what may be cast as sacrifice today could leave us better off in the near future (Q4).

As the two-year initiative continues, future participants will add their answers to the questionnaire, so be sure to stay tuned as the diversity of the answers grow. Click through to any of the individual questions above or take stock of the full questionnaire.


The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.