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Nitro

Speakers in Grand Rapids

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Since the Ghel lecture was well received last night and the Sarah Susanka lecture was a huge hit last year. Who would you like to see speak here in Grand Rapids?

As I am in charge of programming for the AIA next year your input could result in said person showing up next in GR next year.

The speakers could be from just about any field, Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Landscape Design, Urban planning, Sustainability, New Urbanism, Authors....etc, etc, etc.

(By the way, don't ask for Daniel Libeskind. His fee is 25K for a one hour lecture......... :blink:)

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(By the way, don't ask for Daniel Libeskind. His fee is 25K for a one hour lecture......... )

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Who would you like to see speak here in Grand Rapids?

As I am in charge of programming for the AIA next year your input could result in said person showing up next in GR next year.

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Why not some of the folks from U.R.S? Perhaps they can give lectures on the finer aspects of S Curve construction and emergency vehicle underpassage. Or, proper selection of facade tiling for high rise condos!

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If you want a reality check on the long term consequences of our existing built environment and how we need to start planning now for life in the latter part of this century, I suggest you consider James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere. His most recent essay, A Reflection on Cities of the Future, can be read on his website, kunstler.com

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If you want a reality check on the long term consequences of our existing built environment and how we need to start planning now for life in the latter part of this century, I suggest you consider James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere.

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Yeah.......no thanks. Kunstler was here addressing the GVMC, I believe, a few years ago. I also saw him speak when I lived in Georgia.

He didn't do much for me. He's great at analysis and telling everyone what's wrong but has absolutely no ideas on how to fix anything. In this day and age it's pretty easy to point out flaws. Action ideas are on a different level.

I think the best suggestions I've heard so far are Calatrava and I.M. Pei.

I haven't heard many author's names thrown out. How about Richard Florida?

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He didn't do much for me. He's great at analysis and telling everyone what's wrong but has absolutely no ideas on how to fix anything. In this day and age it's pretty easy to point out flaws. Action ideas are on a different level.

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Yeah.......no thanks. Kunstler was here addressing the GVMC, I believe, a few years ago. I also saw him speak when I lived in Georgia.

He didn't do much for me. He's great at analysis and telling everyone what's wrong but has absolutely no ideas on how to fix anything. In this day and age it's pretty easy to point out flaws. Action ideas are on a different level.

I think the best suggestions I've heard so far are Calatrava and I.M. Pei.

I haven't heard many author's names thrown out. How about Richard Florida?

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My list would include.

Ray Oldenburg

Wrote several books on social interaction and its relationship to location. He discussed how we as a society see home as the 1st place, work as the 2nd place, and then in successful communities, there are several opportunities for a 3rd place for form. These include everything from coffee shops, to bars, to golf courses, and such. Think along the lines of "Cheers" where you walk in and most people know who you are, and you know most of the people in there. He dives into how this is an important fabric of Urban Society in providing for a comfort zone for the its residents.

Richard Florida

Wrote the book, "Rise of the Create Class" in which Grand Rapids did not receive a favorable rating. Governor Granholm's entire "Cool Cities Program" is based on this idea that for a city to be successful it must have a wide range of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and an open expectance of minorities to attract successful businesses to its core. He also thinks that in these changing times, manufacturing will not have any influence on a local economy because the US will transform into a service information bases society where location of a business will matter less, while employees will look for a quality of living environment before they look for employment.

David Brooks

Wrote "On Paradise Drive" where he examines suburban and exurban sprawl, why people relocate outside of urban areas, and now why they are locating in exurban areas.

Thomas Friedman

Wrote "The world is flat" and is one of the foremost speakers on Urban Globalism and its relationship to corporations. He dives into the idea that distance decay has no impact on a services/ information based society and how urban areas are in need of global understanding to say competitive. The neighboring community is no longer the competition, emerging cities in 2nd and 3rd world countries are.

MARY E. MADDEN Partner in one of the leading firms for implementing Form Based Codes.

Or Steve Langworthy from LSL... (Quick, he is leaving!)

The biggest thing that I could suggest is look for someone who is involved with project or a tool that would be valuable to Grand Rapids. Look at people like the Planning Director in Boston, Chicago, or similar places that have gone though phenomenal positive transformations. Look at leaders in the industry, and fast rising up comers.

Also explore a range of specialties, including people who specialize in historic preservation and restoration, new urbanism, Form-Based Codes, urban social interaction, mass public transportation, and other situations that could help Grand Rapids.

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I am certainly an advocate of Kunstler, but ... he can grind on you after a while. I suspect he would not do much for many people.

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