The Five Thousand Pound Life: Water


“Parker Dam on the Colorado River forms the eastern end of the 150-mile metropolitan aqueduct which supplies drinking water to Los Angeles and intermediate cities” | photo by Charles O’Rear, desaturated from original

The Five Thousand Pound Life: Water
A symposium on issues of water supply in the context of climate change.
Speakers include: Al Appleton, Hadley Arnold, Peter Arnold, Maria Arquero de Alarcón, Ila Berman, Kevin Bone, Rosalie Genevro, Henry L. Henderson, Jen Maigret, Peter Mulvaney, Josh Newell, Stephanie Pincetl, and James Wescoat

AIA Credits: 5 LU/HSW

Organized and presented by The Architectural League and The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design.

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The Five Thousand Pound Life: Water considers how the energy intensity of providing a clean and adequate water supply can be minimized, and how planning and design, including regional planning, urban design, landscape design, architecture, and engineering, can contribute to that goal.  Los Angeles, the Great Lakes, and New York will provide case studies for the symposium.

The Architectural League launched The Five Thousand Pound Life—an initiative of public events, digital releases, and a major design study—in September 2013 to address the intertwined challenges of reimagining the American way of life to address climate change and to rebuild a robust economic structure that offers viable livelihoods across the income spectrum. The League brings the perspective of the design professions to these issues, as its contribution to what must be a broad collective effort spanning geographies, generations, occupations, disciplines, and ideologies.

Introductory remarks
1:00 p.m.
Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director, The Architectural League of New York

Opening Lecture
1:05 p.m.
James Wescoat

James Wescoat is a landscape architect and geographer and Aga Khan Professor in the Department of Architecture at MIT. Wescoat has carried out research in the Colorado, Indus, Ganges, and Great Lakes basins, and is the co-author (with Gilbert F. White) of Water for Life: Water Management and Environmental Policy and co-editor of Political Economies of Landscape Change: Places of Integrative Power.

Case Study: Los Angeles
1:45 p.m.
Hadley Arnold
Peter Arnold
Josh Newell
Stephanie Pincetl

Architects Hadley and Peter Arnold are founders and co-directors of the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University. The Arid Lands Institute briefly describes its mission as “design innovation at the nexus of water, energy, and climate change.” The Institute is an “education, research, and outreach center providing site-specific, data-intensive modeling, planning, and design services to partner communities, urban and rural.”

Geographer Josh Newell, a faculty member in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, leads the Urban Sustainability Research Group at the University of Michigan. He is co-author, with Joshua Cousins, of the recent paper “A political-industrial ecology of water supply infrastructure for Los Angeles.”

Stephanie Pincetl is director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities and Professor in Residence at the Institute of the Environment, and Sustainability at UCLA. She is the author of Transforming California: The political history of land use and development, and has written extensively on planning, institutional, and regulatory aspects of environmental issues.

Case Study: The Great Lakes
3:00 p.m.
Maria Arquero de Alarcón
Ila Berman
Henry L. Henderson
Jen Maigret
Peter Mulvaney

Maria Arquero de Alarcón and Jen Maigret are partners in MAde-studio, a research-based design practice that uses data and geographic analysis and visualization techniques to make vivid the complexity of the constructed environment and its effect on water resources. Recent projects include Liquid Planning Detroit; Great Lakes Dynamic Shores; and Water + Sheds. Maigret and Arquero de Alarcón both teach at the Taubman College of Architecture at the University of Michigan.

Ila Berman is principal of Scaleshift design and the O’Donovan Director of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. Her work and publications on fluid environs include URBANbuild local global, New Orleans: Strategies for a City in Soft Land, “Amphibious Territories” in the AD Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment, “Inundation to Scarcity” in Design in the Terrain of Water, and the Urban Operations for a Future City exhibition in After the Flood at the U.S. Pavilion in the 2006 International Architectural Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Henry Henderson is Midwest Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He leads NRDC’s work to advance clean energy, protect the Great Lakes and clean water resources, build sustainable communities, and safeguard our natural resources in eight Midwestern states. Henry served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois, and was the founding Commissioner of Environment for the City of Chicago.

Peter Mulvaney leads the sustainable water resource strategies in the Chicago offices of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), where he designs solutions for a healthy and sustainable world. Previously Pete held roles as a water resource consultant, a water utility leader in Chicago, and an investment strategist in the water industry.  He is a contributing author to the SOM project The Great Lakes Century, a 100 Year Vision.

4:15 p.m.

Case Study: New York City
4:30 p.m.
Al Appleton
Kevin Bone

Al Appleton is an international environmental and infrastructure consultant with interlocking expertise in water resource and water utility management, infrastructure economics, public finance, land use, and landscape preservation. During the first half of the 1990s, Appleton was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Director of the New York City Water and Sewer System.

Architect Kevin Bone is director of the Institute for Sustainable Design at The Cooper Union, where he teaches design studios and advanced courses on sustainability. Professor Bone is a principal at Bone/Levine Architects. He was the editor and contributed to Water-Works, The Architecture and Engineering of the New York City Water Supply.

Closing panel discussion
5:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Time & Place
Saturday, February 7th, 2015
1:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Rose Auditorium
The Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square
New York
SOLD OUT—We are currently sold out for this event. To be added to the wait list, email Tickets are free for League members and students; $20 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk. Non-members may purchase tickets here.
The Five Thousand Pound Life is an initiative of The Architectural League of New York on new ways of thinking and acting on architecture, climate change, and our economic future. It is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. This project is also supported by the J. Clawson Mills Fund of The Architectural League. Architectural League programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.