CEE 320 - CIFE Seminar - Winter 2007

Building for a Better World

12:15 – 1:05 PM on Wednesdays

Location: 200-305

Buildings and infrastructure are the fixed physical wealth of society. They are critical to sustain human activity. Their construction and use generate significant benefits, but also costs, for our social and natural environments. In the next ten years, 1 billion people will be added to the world’s population, and many more will move to urban areas. Trillions of dollars of investment will be needed in housing, water, sanitation, energy, and other infrastructure services to sustain the economic and cultural well being of communities. In their professional lifetimes, Stanford students will help shape the built environment for billions of people. This seminar presents multiple perspectives to explore the complex web of relationships among the built, natural, and social environments. Understanding these interrelationships is critical to our sustainable stewardship of the planet and its resources.

To build for a better world,

1 unit seminar. The only seminar requirement is class participation; there is (only) one excused absence.



Jan. 10

Jim Sweeney: "Economic Issues of Energy Efficiency"

Jan 17

Ben Schwegler, vice president and chief scientist at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Abstract

Jan 24

Ray Levitt: Abstract Sustainable Built Environment Initiative at Stanford

Jan 31

Karen Seto Abstract Urban Growth in China

Feb 7

John Kunz and Martin Fischer: Abstract Grand Challenges for Sustainability Ballot-1 Final Tally

Feb 14

Gretchen Daily Abstract

Feb 21

Margaret O'Mara
High-Tech Cities, Sustainable Cities?

Feb 28

Kos Ishii and Rãzvan GHEORGHE, Eco-Design: A Life Cycle Perspective

March 7

Dick Luthy, Cole Roberts (Arup) Green by Design: The New Environment and Energy Building and the School of Engineering Center
March 14 Anne Kiremidjian Sustainable Built Environment Subjected to Natural Disasters Abstract

March 7 CEE258 seminar, David Gottfried, Building a Sustainable World

Seto abstract:

China is undergoing an urban revolution. With the urban population expected to double to nearly 900 million by 2030, Chinese cities and metropolitan areas are likely to change dramatically in the next two decades. Traditional agrarian communities and farmland are being metamorphosed by a changed economy and enveloped by extended urban
regions. The kinds of urban regions that ultimately emerge in China will have considerable impacts on the country's continued economic development, social and political character, and environmental health and sustainability. What are the driving forces behind urban growth, and what determines the shape and size of cities? This talk will describe the
changing urban landscape in two regions--the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong Province, and Greater Chengdu, Sichuan Province--in the context of policy and socioeconomic drivers.

Schwegler abstract:

In this seminar on sustainability in the built environment, Ben will explore the following issues and questions: In a subject for which the answer to every specific question is “it depends”, clear organizational goals and priorities are essential to navigate the difficult choices inherent in the grand ambitions of Sustainable Development. What is the “right” performance level of an organization’s environmental goals? What data to engineers, architects and developers need to inform their choices? How can they ensure continuous improvement in Sustainability? How are these environmental goals reconciled with financial goals? What role do private companies play in this issue?

Levitt abstract:

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering recently developed an exciting new statement of its Mission Goals & Vision that identified a Sustainable Built Environment as an integral and essential part of the department’s vision of Engineering for Sustainability. Our CEE vision of sustainability recognizes the critical challenge of providing the necessities for human life and civil societies, while sustaining the environment and the natural cycles on which all life depends. There is a large and growing, multidisciplinary community of faculty and students from around the University interested in contributing to a more sustainable built environment. To harness the passion of this community, and to focus and organize its talents and energies, our ambitious vision is to create the Stanford Center for a Sustainable Built Environment as a new “collaboration of scholars” within the Ward Woods Institute for the Environment.

Building on four existing, closely related research centers — The John Blume Earthquake Engineering Research Center, The Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, The Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects and The Project-Based Learning Center — and leveraging the work of the new PIEE Center focusing on the demand side of global energy use, the SBE center will provide an overarching vision, framework and resources for developing new theory, methods, tools and policy guidelines to change how facilities are planned, designed, built and operated.

This presentation will preview the formation of the SBE collaboration within the Woods Institute and discuss the kinds of research that might be done it the center.

Daily Abstract:

Gretchen Daily will describe the Natural Capital Project, a Stanford partnership with the two largest conservation organizations in the world, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. The Project aims to make conservation mainstream – economically attractive and commonplace -- by developing and deploying conservation approaches that explicitly link conservation with human well-being. The focus is on “ecosystem services,” the vital life-support benefits that flow from effectively managed ecosystems, including climate stabilization, provision of drinking water, fish production, flood control, crop pollination, and cultural values. Gretchen will describe the research at the core of the effort.

Kunz - Fischer Abstract:

"Grand Challenges" have become an important focusing and motivating influence in the in the communities of science and engineering. In recent years, there have been successful responses to such grand challenges in molecular biology (e.g., the human genome project) and robotics (e.g., the work of Stanford's Sebastian Thrun) as well as ongoing challenges, e.g., in public health. Sustainability as a research field will advance most quickly if a community focuses on a set of appropriate grand challenges. In this seminar, individual participants will help define such broad interdisciplinary challenges, and as a group, we will describe some. Please bring your creative ideas to class. Ideally, they will be clearly stated, socially worthy, and difficult but not impossible to achieve.

O'Mara Abstract:

The past fifteen years have witnessed the rise of new, explosively
growing high-tech clusters around the world. Spurred by growing
consumer markets and rapid technological change, encouraged by trade
liberalization and economic reform, and searching for a highly educated
and lower-cost workforce, American and European technology companies
have gone global, establishing major facilities in Bangalore and
Beijing, Shanghai and Chennai, and now even Bucharest and Sao Paolo.
With this globalization has come the exportation of a low-density and
vehicle-dependent residential and industrial landscape of research parks
and subdivisions, and a new push by governments to encourage the
creation of satellite cities to house high tech. What does the
globalization of high technology mean for urban sustainability in these
places? Is the new interest in green technology and environmental
stewardship filtering into the way these new industrial clusters are
growing? How do government policies shape the form and sustainability
of these regions? Can the leaders of this industry help build a better
world? This seminar will discuss these questions through a comparison
of the built environment of Silicon Valley and 'India's Silicon Valley',

Kiremidjian abstract:

Building sustainable infrastructure under conventional loads and environmental conditions has shown to be challenging, however, the challenges are greatly increased when our infrastructure is subjected to extreme natural disasters. This presentation will briefly review the main premise for sustainable built environment; will show examples of the consequences of extreme events on the environment, in general, and on the built environment in particular; will raise issues of conflicting requirements and will offer some compromises to the enormous problems presented by extreme events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and large fires.