Countering techno-solutionist dogma

A few months ago I heard an interview with Stephen Diehl, a leading critic of crypto . I then read the Letter in Support of Responsible Fintech Policy from June 2022. Here are five takeaways that have stuck with me, and which I believe apply greatly to architecture and the future of constructing the built world. An informed society can make better decisions around the safety and practicality of emerging technology development. How safe does a technology need to be in order to call it safe enough? And safe enough for what purpose? Too often a new technology is a solution in search of a problem. Governance of emerging technologies is murky; it’s not clear who is in control of development, making regulation an afterthought. Innovation must be democratized. I am a skeptic of the techno-solutionist dogma that innovative technology is unreservedly good. I am advocate for "an approach that protects the public interest and ensures technology is deployed in genuine service to the needs of

Tone of architectural discourse and learning

Typically I'm turned away by the bombastic, self-referential discourse of highbrow architecture circles (see what I did there?). Name-dropping vainglory and wordsmithery is tiring, but runs rampant. I have only found small cracks in the armor, which I'm posting excerpts of here. First, from Christine Williamson's about me section on her Building Science Fight Club website. This was so refreshing to read the first time I read it (just a couple of months ago, even though I have been following her for a few years, and I've heard her say similar things before): ...[A]rchitects are supposed to be tastemakers; they’re supposed to be effortlessly cool, with clean, white desks, and MacBooks, and cashmere turtlenecks, and pocket sketchbooks filled with hand-drawn renderings of all the beautiful old buildings they saw on their last trip to Paris. Our profession cultivates an air of mystery and exclusivity. And that’s probably pretty good for business. But it’s terrible for learn


Organizing some old files and I found this from five years ago . So sad that nothing has changed. Get rid of the Electoral College; End gerry-mandering; Restrict presidential pardoning and commutation powers; Give full representative rights to the citizens of Washington D.C. and all overseas protectorates and territories; Establish term limits for Senators and Representatives; Make Election Day either a national holiday or have it on the weekend; Shorten and publicly fund the political campaign season; and, Establish a truly independent Department of Justice by making the Attorney General an elected office. These are a handful of no-nonsense, plain and simple, no-brainer, bipartisan changes to the way our government currently works. I can’t exactly say how many there are, since some of these proposed changes might overlap in what they are addressing, or how they would be implemented. Plus, I’m not really trying to count them out in my head as I think of them. Goes to show how obvious t

Architecture and the latest promises of technology

Over the past few years, I'm hearing more and more these sorts of statements surrounding architecture, urban design, and technology. Here are my thoughts. Technological solutions will play a key role in sustainable urban transformations. Advancements in technology can certainly be harnessed for the common good and a sustainable future. However, I’m hesitant to put too much faith in technical solutions to widespread structural problems originating from habits of culture and economic inequality. We need to recognize the risk of new technologies furthering forms of “carbon lock-in,” just as the post-WWII proliferation of a novel mobility technology – ubiquitous private ownership of the automobile – ensured the wasteful, inefficient, and impersonal suburban landscape. We are excited by the electric self-driving car, but it furthers the problems of larger concrete highways, traffic jams of single riders, and deleterious public health. Myriad other examples of new technologies transformi