Investing In Yourself


Art Center College of Design's Summit: Expanding the Vision of Sustainable Mobility was a three day conference that brought together industries and organizations that looked to a sustainable future.

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I sat in on a panel that had Bryn Davidson from Dynamic Cities Project speak about helping cities adapt to peak oil and climate change. He summed up the conference for me in one sentence, "What is the best investment that you can make for your career for the future?"

The world is changing and your job description is/has changed as well, not only will we be living a more sustainable lifestyle, we will also be gearing our careers in that mode as well. For instance a designer will now be more cognizant to use materials that are recycled or can be recycled not as a marketing flourish but as a necessity, they will use less print and more web to market their products, and work spaces will be virtual to save on the use of fossil fuels to transport ourselves into a communal workspace.

The End of Redundancy

At the onset of the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a person could put their head down and hope that it passes them by quickly, however when they raised their eyes, they saw a landscape that was changed forever and their place in it redundant. In our current times, we cannot lower our sights because the change is here and to be viable in the next wave of change, you must change with it.

With the economy uppermost in our minds, who will be the most employable of the future? One Art Center student Gabriel Wartofsky comes to mind. Gabriel presented two projects at the Summit, The Floating Home and The Little Blue Bike.


The Floating Home
by Gabriel Wartofsky

Designed for James Meraz's class, 'Sustainable Studio: Prefab housing for the Modern Nomad', the floating home addresses the housing needs of coastal communities affected by rising sea levels through systems design solutions. Inspired by pre-fab architecture, the Dymaxion House, John Todd's eco-machines, aircraft manufacturing techniques and engine cooling systems, the house autonomously produces and regulates its own energy, water supply and climate control.

The floating home is partially assembled in nearby shipping yards, and partially grown on-site. The backbone of the house consists of pre-fabricated aluminum extrusions set into an ashcrete/ post-consumer styrofoam base, between which trellises are hung to allow location-specific herbs, flowers and plants, ranging from wisteria to catnip, to grow walls that provide structure, privacy, filter air and grey water, maintain climate and repel insects. A central spine circulates potable water between a living machine purification system and solar heating cisterns.

Communal tugboats transport homes from location to location, depending on environmental conditions and/or the owner's whim.

The Little Blue Bike
by Gabriel Wartofsky

Gabriel's project, "Little Blue Bike," explores part of a multi-modal public transit system designed to provide Santa Monica's residents with a convenient, comprehensive and sustainable mobility alternative to the automobile. Inspired by the progressive nature of Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus public transit company, Little Blue Bike is a collapsible electric bikeshare system designed to meet the 'First and Final Mile' transportation needs of commuters that ride public transportation. Like other bikeshare systems, riders rent/ lease the bikes from bus hubs, eliminating the need for riders to travel on the bus with their bikes. At the bus hub, folded bikes serve as bus station seating while they recharge from solar energy stored from the hub's photovoltaic panels. Bikes are stored in transportable modules that buses distribute according to daily need around Santa Monica. Based on Life Cycle Analysis research, the bike's design incorporates 'design for disassembly', recyclable materials and local manufacturing techniques to minimize negative environmental impact.

Images: © Gabriel Wartofsky / Top: Little Blue Bike Bottom: The Floating Home
Contact info: gwartofsky@gmail.com

The Summit
Art Center College of Design

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