A conversation on the future of air travel

Robert Chicas, Kai Flender, Jesse LeCavalier, and Daniel Aldana Cohen discuss the carbon emissions and ethics of air travel.

June 13, 2018

Recorded on June 13, 2018.

In the closing conversation of the League’s aviation and climate change event, architects Robert Chicas and Kai Flender, designer Jesse LeCavalier, and sociologist Daniel Aldana Cohen discuss the relationship between air travel, globalization, and greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative fuel development as well as demand management must be further explored in order to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

Links to videos of Chicas and Flender discussing their airport design work, recorded immediately prior to this conversation, can be found in the Related section below.

Also featured below: a primer on the carbon impact of aviation (and shipping) from Professor Alice Larkin of the University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, presented as the introduction to this session.

Designer Jesse LeCavalier and sociologist Daniel Aldana Cohen serve as moderators and interlocutors for all programs in The Five Thousand Pound Life: Transportation series.

Jesse LeCavalier is a designer, writer, and educator whose work explores the architectural and urban implications of contemporary logistics. He is the author of The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). He is assistant professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Daniel Rose Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. His work has been published widely, including contributions to Cabinet, Public Culture, Places, Art Papers, and Harvard Design Magazine.

Daniel Aldana Cohen is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, which investigates the intersection of social and ecological inequalities in the built environment, with an eye to broad public engagement and public policy. His work focuses on the politics of climate change, investigating the intersections of climate change, political economy, inequalities of race and social class, and political projects of elites and social movements in global cities of the North and South. His work on the first per capita map of New Yorkers’ carbon footprint was featured in The Nonstop Metropolis: A New York Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Jonathan Jelly Shapiro.

Robert Chicas, AIA, LEED AP, is the director of HOK’s global aviation and transportation practice. He specializes in leading large-scale airport projects and is recognized throughout the industry for his ability to lead multidisciplinary teams through the delivery of complex projects. Chicas is a member of the Airports Council International–North America World Business Partners/Associates Board of Directors.

Kai Flender is an associate principal at Grimshaw’s New York studio. His experience includes a previous tenure at Grimshaw’s London studio, where he led the design of the firm’s Zurich Airport terminal project. He brings his expertise in architecture for aviation to Grimshaw’s teams executing the new Terminal 1 at Newark Liberty International Airport and a new master plan for John F. Kennedy International Airport. Flender has worked on a range of projects beyond aviation, including major commercial developments in Berlin and London, as well as projects for transport. He recently held a faculty position at the Monterrey Institute of Higher Education and Technology in Monterrey, Mexico, before relocating to New York in mid-2018.

As part of the The Five Thousand Pound Life: Transportation, Connection and its Costs: Aviation and Climate Change was a discussion on rethinking transportation modes and their collective impact on greenhouse gas emissions organized by The Architectural League in June 2018. The series focused on air and sea in the spring of 2018 and will continue with two events on land-based transit in the fall of 2018.

The Five Thousand Pound Life is the League’s ongoing initiative to rethink our collective future through design in the face of climate change.