Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Brought to you by the experts who brought us credit default swaps, the rape of Fannie Mae, the collapse of our economy, interest free bailouts and the mega-bonuses that followed
GLOBAL CAPITALISTS have placed short term gain over long term energy conservation. American and European manufacturing was sent to China and the Far East, enabled by cheap oil for shipping and cheap coal power in China, which in a few short years has become the largest energy user in the world. In America, we sold the Chinese products in Big Box stores that used the buyers as the delivery system - another energy wasteful decision. We made a mortgage system that was guaranteed to go bust to sell people bigger houses to put these things in, and McMansions and SUVs to move between the McMansions and the Big Boxes were among the few things we did manufacture here. Now the global capitalists want shiny office towers with large trading floors and the same super luxury chains wherever their jets land - and of course jets waste energy.
To present this as green is ridiculous. But it is noticeable that someone like the World Trade Organization is successfully promoting this vision of every city remade with glass towers with large floorplates. The height of the towers, their glass skins and large floorplates are not the solutions that sustainability drives us towards, but London and Paris, not only Houston, Hong Kong and Dubai, are all moving in that direction.
From the Wall Street Journal today: Experts believe the 108-story ICC, now the fourth-tallest tower in the world, is a significant step towards the supercity of the future, which will soar into the skies amid increasing population pressures. Key to such towers is the integration of services and infrastructure, particularly transportation. The 1,588-foot ICC—which houses the Asian headquarters of Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse—is set atop a transportation hub that connects the local subway, a 20-minute express train to the airport, and railways to China.
"The ICC is a wonderful example of linkage," says Paul Katz, architect of the ICC and many other supertall structures. Bankers can fly in from New York, hop onto the airport express and enter the ICC ready to conduct business on site before zipping upward on some of the world's fastest elevators to a king-size bed at the plush Ritz. "There are considerable savings in the amount of energy not wasted in moving these people around," Mr. Katz says.