About amirgohar

An urban designer, planner & sustainable development expert with fourteen years of experience working with municipal governments, international organizations, and private sector firms on site planning, urban design strategies, master planning, informal settlement development and landscape planning. Possesses an outstanding ability to use illustrations, sketches and freehand drawings. Adept at communicating complicated design rationale through sketches and diagrams to make subject matter readable and understandable to technical as well as non-technical personnel. Exceptionally skilled at working with teams of architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, social experts, surveyors, road planners and engineers to produce quality deliverables within deadlines. Flexibility to adapt and communicate at all levels of business and within communities. Have in-depth experience in working through participatory planning with local inhabitants and trained to face challenges and overcome obstacles “politically” that occur from the local governance and decision-making.

The fit of urban waterfront interventions: matters of size, money and function. By: Pedro Pinto

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Credit: Kondolf & Yang 2008

A poorly designed riverfront intervention typically fails on several levels: a bad program, with the wrong budget and timing, no concern for local needs or context, results in an unattractive and costly intervention, with reduced to no social or environmental benefit. Urban riverfront interventions may be improved in the future if, when deciding what to do with our urban riverfronts, we learn from past mistakes. This may be as important (or perhaps more) as observing what worked. The successful element in another city may not be repeatable, as the context and opportunity was very specific to that one city. Yet, recognizing what didn’t work elsewhere, the causes for failure, may provide us with the clues we need on how to improve our own projects. Knowing how to avoid oversizing, overspending, inadequately planning, failing to attract diverse publics and uses or fail to provide ecological benefits will, paradoxically, provide us with an excellent framework on how to create a better, successful, intervention. To get it right, we should acknowledge the local context, the morphology of the river valley, the time and budget a set of solutions entail, and select uses and functions that work for a diverse crowd and provide multiple benefits, including good flood management performance and the restoration of the rivers’ natural connectivity.

 

Sabarmati Riverfront Development: An Exercise in ‘High-Modernism’? By: Krishna Balakrishnan

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Source: Presentation by SRFDCL & HCP Design at India Urban Conference 2011

Using the case of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project (SRDP) in Ahmedabad, this paper illustrates how the conceptual category of the ‘riverfront’, as seen in London and Paris in particular, has shaped the imagination of what an urban river ‘should’ be in India. The paper examines the lengths to which the project goes to fit a monsoon fed river-scape into this predefined conceptual category of a ‘riverfront’. The paper argues that the SRDP can be understood as a manifestation of ‘high-modernism’ as discussed by James Scott—both in terms of the visual order it strives to create and in terms of the reliance on simplistic conceptions of the ecology and hydrology of rivers. The paper concludes with a discussion on the need for urban and landscape design professionals to understand specificities of local ecosystems and societies and to use design as a process of going beyond simplistic spatial and conceptual categories.

  

Global Environmental Sustainability

sdgsssThere is a number of challenges and obstacles to achieve sustainable development goals. Select one of the SDGs that you see as most pressing and identify the obstacles that may prevent from achieving it. Explain these obstacles challenges demonstrating your understanding of how they connect to sustainability on global scale. (Do not exceed one page)

The implementation of Sustainable Consumption & Productions (SCP) helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty. In the light of the SDG you selected, and among the 4 policy instruments we discussed in class, what are the top two policy instruments you would use to overcome the obstacles of your selected goal? (select only two policy instruments – and do not exceed one page for this part)

The Whites

Slide5

AGENDA

The Whites are the synthesists, and do not entirely oppose or agree with any of the three other views. With an optimistic view of humankind, they believe that process will win the day, that people who tell others what is right lead society astray. Since Blues, Reds, and Greens all fall into that category, Whites reject them all, preferring a middle way of integration, reform, respect, and reliance. They reject ideologies whether based on markets, class, or nature, and trust that informed people can solve their own problems. On the environmental level, they argue that all issues are local. On business, they say the fabled level playing field never existed because of market imperfections, lobbying, subsidies, and capital concentration. On social problems, they argue that solutions will naturally arise from place and culture rather than from ideology. Leadership in the White world is reminiscent of the Taoist reminder that good rulers make their subjects feel as if they succeeded by themselves. Environmental and social solutions can emerge only when local people are empowered and honored.

WHITE’S HOMEWORK

What would you say to advocate for this Master plan? You are the center of the Sustainable Development approach and the plan touched on many aspects of Red/Green/Blue. In one page summarize that your approach in this city is the best as it includes education, business, ecology, and land uses + space that brings people together. In your 2ndpage and in three paragraphs: (i) how the Blues are taking advantage of a pristine ecosystem and wanting to exploit the resources and not benefit the local people or even the natural environment. (ii) Why the Reds are always ignoring the fact the low-income groups are people who also deserve good environment and that their well-being won’t be achieved without have a balanced ecosystem and an adequate use of the resources: (iii) why the Greens are not realistic and romanticizing the environment at the expense of other important pillars. And that the project can not be successful without synthesizing all the aspects of the main sustainability pillars.

The Reds

Slide4

AGENDA

The Reds represent the sundry forms of socialism. Although one might expect them to have been discredited by the downfall of the Soviet Union, their worldview is very much alive. They find validation in the chaotic and horrific economic conditions that the rise of bandit capitalism has brought to contemporary Russia, a country whose economic machinery now benefits a minority at the expense of a materially and socially disadvantaged majority. The growing and worldwide gap between rich and poor confirms the Reds’ analyses, which are as accurate about poverty and suffering as the Blues’ observations are accurate about growth and change. While Blues focus on the promise of growth and technology, Reds focus on its shadow and try to discern its root causes. They view labor—one aspect of human capital—as the principal source of wealth and see its exploitation as the basis of injustice, impoverishment, and ignorance. The Reds generally have little to say about the environment, seeing it as a distraction from fundamentally important social issues.

RED’S HOMEWORK

What would you say to support this project and make use of the opportunities it may provide to help the social/working class. In one page advocate for the project and indicate your agenda and firm policies that you want to see to make this a project equitable. In your 2ndpage, write three paragraphs: (i) why the Greens are not realistic and romanticizing the environment as if people are not part of it. They are making lots of green spaces, not thinking of fresh water, they are changing the shoreline and really not caring about the ecosystem (ii) How the Blues are taking advantage of a pristine ecosystem and wanting to exploit the resources and not benefit the local people or even the natural environment. (iii) Why the Whites are too neutral and have no much stake in such a project and their neutrality doesn’t help much.

The Blues

Slide2

AGENDA

The Blues are mainstream free-marketers. Such people have a positive bias toward the future based on technological optimism and the strength of the economy. They are armed with a strong statistical case, based on the vigorous and dynamic economies of Western and (until1998) Asian nations. Their approach is deeply rooted in conventional economics, and their number-crunching reveals a world vastly improved and rapidly ascending. Blues believe that reliance on innovation, investment, and individual freedom will ensure a shining future for humankind, and a level of material well-being that has strong appeal to virtually everyone in the world. Their optimism also extends to the environment, believing that in most cases, markets will send strong and appropriate price signals that will elicit timely responses, mitigating environmental damage or causing technological breakthroughs

BLUES HOMEWORK

Advocating for the Pink Lake city require some solid arguments about how you are brining benefits not only to business but also working class and environment. In one-page write why this city is a desirable one and what are bringing to the table that makes is irresistible solution. In your 2ndpage, write three paragraphs: (i) why the Greens are not realistic and will not get things done on their own, (ii) How the Reds are romanticizing their goals and can’t achieve them without such a project that is mainly centered around business, and hoe their lack of funding will always make it essential for the business to take part, (iii) Why the whites are too neutral and have no much stake in this.

The Greens

Slide3

AGENDA

The Greens see the world primarily in terms of ecosystems, and thus concentrate on depletion, damage, pollution, and population growth. They focus on carrying capacity and want to bring about better under- standing of how large the economy can grow before it outstrips its host. Their policy focuses on how many and how much, the number of people, and the amount of impact each person can have upon the environment. Greens are not usually technophobes; most see technology as an important tool to reduce human impact. More recently, some have become interested in free-market mechanisms, and want externalities presently borne by society to be fully integrated into producer costs and consumer prices so that markets become, in David Korten’s phrase, “mindful.” The Greens, and to some extent the Reds, host bigger tents in that they hold a bolder and broader diversity of views. But this also keeps them splintered and self-canceling, as Greens tend to unite their enemies and divide their friends, a good formula for political failure. They are often portrayed as caring less for people than animals, more about halogenated compounds than waterborne diseases.

GREEN’S HOMEWORK

What are your core arguments to advocate for this project and why caring about the environment is the foundation of everything? In one-page advocate for the project and tell us why such green spaces are important to micro climate enhancement, the well-being of people, the air quality and even the aesthetics of the spaces that people use. In your 2ndpage in three paragraphs indicate (i) How the Blues are taking advantage of a pristine ecosystem and wanting to exploit the resources and not benefit the local people or even the natural environment. (ii) Why the Whites are too neutral and have no much stake in such a project and their neutrality doesn’t help much. (iii) Why the Reds are always ignoring the fact the low-income groups are people who also deserve good environment and that their well-being won’t be achieved without have a balanced ecosystem and an adequate use of the resources.

Environment & International Organizations

_________K1602727 INF 5 Eng

In groups of two, see the UNEP shared report on the class-material page and write an over all critique of it. Focus on the indicated pages as they correspond to class material and focus. You may use the following questions as g guide:

  • In couple of lines describe your understanding of the UN in general and UNEP in particular in protecting the environment.
  • In your views: What are the SDGs that relate directly to the environment and do they cover all aspects of the environment?
  • The report suggests 10 recommendations, according to earlier lectures and class material, which of those is more important and significant for the environment and why?
  • The report addresses several topics such as climate, ecosystem, urbanization,…etc. What is the most significant one that can be addressed globally via the international organizations (UNEP or other)? And Why?
  • The report connects the environment and health (our well-being), give an example from a case you know or from your daily life showing this relationship.
  • What are the suggested policies/ government strategies to maintain healthy environments, and what is your assessment of such policies.

Environmental Organizations on International Scale

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  • In couple of lines describe your understanding of the UN in general and UNEP in particular in protecting the environment.
  • In your views: What are the SDGs that relate directly to the environment and do they cover all aspects of the environment?
  • The report suggests 10 recommendations, according to earlier lectures and class material, which of those is more important and significant for the environment and why?
  • The report addresses several topics such as climate, ecosystem, urbanization,…etc. What is the most significant one that can be addressed globally via the international organizations (UNEP or other)? And Why?
  • The report connects the environment and health (our well-being), give an example from a case you know or from your daily life showing this relationship.
  • What are the suggested policies/ government strategies to maintain healthy environments, and what is your assessment of such policies.

Regional & Interstate Environmental Authorities

300_10

Established in 1936, the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) is a tri-state water and air pollution control agency for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

You are an environmental consultant hired to assess and evaluate the performance of such an organization. You are tasked to indicate its strengths and weaknesses then suggest policy reform and adjustments for its mandates. You are given two academic papers to assist you:

  • Political Externalities, Federalism, and a Proposal for an Interstate Environmental Impact Assessment Policy
  • Evaluating collaborative environmental planning outputs and outcomes: Restoring and protecting habitat and the New York-New Jersey harbor estuary program

Your report as an evaluator should incorporate four sections:

  1. Current Situation of the (IEC) and its relation to individual states
  2. Advantages of such organization and the regional benefits it brings
  3. Highlight the shortcomings and explain where do you think it did not serve its purpose
  4. Future recommendations for its environmental mandate

In groups, write the evaluation report and do not exceed 4 pages covering the above structure.

Environmental Authorities on Regional & Interstate Level

331_10

Established in 1936, the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) is a tri-state water and air pollution control agency for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

You are an environmental consultant hired to assess and evaluate the performance of such an organization. You are tasked to indicate its strengths and weaknesses then suggest policy reform and adjustments for its mandates. You are given two academic papers to assist you:

  • Political Externalities, Federalism, and a Proposal for an Interstate Environmental Impact Assessment Policy
  • Evaluating collaborative environmental planning outputs and outcomes: Restoring and protecting habitat and the New York-New Jersey harbor estuary program

Your report as an evaluator should incorporate four sections:

  1. Current Situation of the (IEC) and its relation to individual states
  2. Advantages of such organization and the regional benefits it brings
  3. Highlight the shortcomings and explain where do you think it did not serve its purpose
  4. Future recommendations for its environmental mandate

In groups, write the evaluation report and do not exceed 4 pages covering the above structure.