(Nov. 7, 2012) -- The UTSA College of Architecture (COA) will present Eran Ben-Joseph, head of the joint program in city design and development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for a Wednesday, Nov. 7 lecture "ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking." The lecture, part of the COA Lecture Series, is based on his book of the same name and is free and open to the public.
>> The lecture is 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the Buena Vista Street Building Assembly Room (1.338) at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, which presents the Tech Talks Series.
This semester, the COA Lecture Series has focused on the impact of natural and man-made components on the built environment, while the institute has focused on areas of energy, water and their nexus.
There are widely varying estimates of the total number of parking spaces in the United States, all of them massive. In "ReThinking a Lot," Ben-Joseph settles on the moderate number of three nonresidential parking spaces for every car, which adds up to almost 800 million parking spaces. He says surface lots, which cover more than a third of the land area in some U.S. cities, are perhaps our most commonly used outdoor space. But, as the vast majority of these lots are dirty, under-designed and unsustainable, they serve as a bleak reminder of the costs of an automobile-oriented society. Among other environmental issues, surface lots typically contribute to the urban heat-island effect, water pollution and flash flooding.
"Parking lots are an environmental tragedy," said Afamia Elnakat, an associate professor in environmental sustainability with the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute. "Not only do they increase impervious cover, reduce wildlife areas and increase heat reflection, they also accumulate suspended solids that are picked up by rainfall runoff. In our aquifer recharge areas, water quality and quantity are important components of our engineering best management practices. Here at the institute, we are part of the effort to look at low-impact design."
In addition to their environmental shortcomings, most parking lots have vastly underutilized architectural functions. Ben-Joseph argues that, planned with greater intent, parking lots could actually become significant public spaces, contributing as much to their communities as great boulevards, parks or plazas. Because a parking lot is typically the gateway through which dwellers, customers or employees pass before entering a building, he believes the visitor's arrival experience should be a central focus in the planning process.
"We need to redefine what we mean by 'parking lot' to include something that not only allows a driver to park his car, but also offers a variety of other public uses, mitigates its effect on the environment and gives greater consideration to aesthetics and architectural context," said Ben-Joseph in a New York Times op-ed, "When Parking is So Much More."
Ben-Joseph's research and teaching areas include urban and physical design, standards and regulations, sustainable site planning technologies and urban retrofitting. In addition to publishing numerous articles, monographs and book chapters, he has authored or co-authored the books "Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities," "Regulating Place: Standards and the Shaping of Urban America," "The Code of the City" and "RENEW Town." His latest, "ReThinking a Lot," was published in February 2012.
Ben-Joseph has worked as a city planner, urban designer and landscape architect in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States on projects including new towns and residential developments, streetscapes, stream restorations and parks and recreation planning. He has led national and international multi-disciplinary projects in Singapore, Barcelona, Santiago, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., among other places.
He received the Wade Award for his work on Representation of Places -- a collaboration project with MIT Media Lab -- and the Milka Bliznakov Prize for his historical work on Pioneering Women of Landscape Architecture. He holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Chiba National University of Japan.
For more information about the Nov. 7 lecture, email Nicole Chavez.
A revolution in cloud computing is underway, and Ravi Sandhu believes it will be much bigger than the PC and Internet revolutions that have already changed the way we live. Sandhu, director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security, says UTSA is taking a leadership role in tackling three fundamental cloud technology problems: how to build and operate the cloud, how to use it profitably for diverse applications and how to keep it secure.
Sandhu, the Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in the College of Sciences, and Ram Krishnan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering, are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve cloud security.
Did you know? Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert, holds 30 patents, has authored more than 250 papers and been cited more than 30,000 times.
This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
After graduation, Queretaro native founded a music label recognized by SXSW
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