Hosey … advocated for a localized component: As plants change from region to region, he argued, so should buildings vary in response to the environment. By taking a one-size-fits-all approach to “good” design, Hosey accused architects of missing millennia of lessons from builders who have created localized engineering solutions. When desert dwelling nations made houses with small windows, it was not because they looked good: It was about responding to the conditions. For Hosey, the new challenge for architects is to create structures that are environmentally sound and also reflect the local culture.
For Philippe Cousteau Jr., the key may be in shifting from predatory self-interest to an appreciation of the mutual benefits of sustainability. The latest in the Cousteau eco-dynasty returned after keynoting the inaugural SXSW Eco (see “Defining the Eco Message,” Oct. 14, 2011) for the Texas launch of a new tool that he hopes will sway some minds. The Bay Game, developed by the University of Virginia and backed by Cousteau’s green marketing firm Azure Worldwide, allows large groups of players to simulate water management across an entire watershed. In March 2012, UVA researchers brought their test version, mapping out the needs and demands on the Chesapeake Bay, to SXSW Interactive. At SXSW Eco, they announced that they will be using the Texas water system as their new simulation. Cousteau said, “From the beginning, we’ve envisioned the potential of this game to expand globally, of this game to model watersheds around the world and help us come together and solve the defining crisis of the 21st century.” So far, the game is being tested and played by policy makers and stakeholders, who get an opportunity to be in one another’s shoes. Cousteau said, “To provide the opportunity for anyone to grasp, in an interesting and fun way, the complex interaction in these systems is critical if we’re going to solve these problems.”