5KL: Land | September 26

Land is fundamental: it is the foundation on which we build our communities, the source from which we reap sustenance, and the depths from which we extract many of the resources that power contemporary lifestyles. On Friday an impressive host of thinkers with different perspectives on land will gather for the second in a series of symposia held as part of The Five Thousand Pound Life, The Architectural League’s multi-year initiative of public events, digital releases, and a major design study that grapples with the intertwined challenges of reimagining the American way of life to address climate change and rebuilding a robust, equitable economic structure.

5KL: Land will reframe our understanding of settlement patterns and competing land uses, given the reality of climate change. The value assigned to various forms of land use, and various attitudes towards land as a resource, must be understood in terms of ecological services and impacts, rather than narrowly defined economic imperatives. In sessions on “Nature and the City,” “Spatial Logistics,” and “Density,” speakers will consider American approaches to development, attitudes toward nature, and whether the current dominant narrative of the environmental superiority of concentrated high density development might be challenged by a counter-narrative of lower density land use that takes advantage of distributed energy production and localized treatment of waste. Ultimately, the symposium will ask what the desirable and politically achievable mix of these narratives could be.

Among the participants will be celebrated writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit; Charles Waldheim, Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; Eric Sanderson, Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and the best-selling author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (2009) and Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (2013); and Ted Steinberg, Professor of History and Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University and author of the new book Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York (2014). For a full list of speakers, visit the League’s website.

The Five Thousand Pound Life: Land
4.0 AIA and New York State CEUs
This symposium is co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design.

Time & Place
Friday, September 26th, 2014
2:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

Tickets are free for League members and students; $20 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: rsvp@archleague.org. Non-members may purchase tickets here.

Visit the League website for more information about the symposium and The Five Thousand Pound Life.

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