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The Ecology of Practice: Spatial Tactics, the Present City and the Ideology of Sustainability

Daniel Ortega, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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Abstract

This paper will explore the link between industrial capitalism and its crafting of a contemporary ideology of sustainability as a hegemonic power structure. In doing so, I will draw upon a discursive body of criticism aimed at revealing the hegemony of sustainability (Kipfer; Spehr). I will also use the observations of a group of faculty members and design students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the California Polytechnic University at Pomona to illustrate an existing cultural infrastructure whose ecology of practice can be used to inform an opposition to the quixotic ideal of sustainability and embrace a more well rounded ‘everyday’ practice of sustainability.

Introduction

Las Vegas, Nevada, or more specifically the Las Vegas Strip, has long been recognized as a global icon of the postmodern architectural landscape. Ever since Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour published their seminal text, Learning from Las Vegas, in the early 1970’s, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and others who are interested in the cultural representations of urbanism, have looked to Las Vegas as a destination worthy of critical inquiry. Recent investigations of Las Vegas have leaned heavily toward indictments of urban sprawl, environmental degradation, and the unavoidable criticism of Las Vegas’ willingness to flaunt an air of excess, access, and a general persona of moral ambiguity. These criticisms have been summed up by the urban theorist Mike Davis in his 1995 article, House of Cards - Las Vegas: Too Many People in the Wrong Place Celebrating Waste as a Way of Life. In his article, Davis suggests that, “[t]he Las Vegas ‘miracle’...demonstrates the fanatical persistence of an environmentally and socially bankrupt system of human settlement.” In the same article, Davis furthers his criticism by stating that Las Vegas “recapitulates the ‘seven deadly sins’ of Los Angeles and its Sunbelt clones” (Davis 3).i

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[2] Davis’ reference to ‘sin’ immediately poses assertions of morality. While Davis’ use of the term “sin” draws upon morality as it is defined with reference to religious dogma, I am engaging a discussion of morality as it applies to the formation of societal norms. In his notes on ideology and sustainability John McCarthy implies that there is a significant connection between the ideology of sustainability and a “societal” morality. McCarthy asserts that, “[t]here have always been people who felt their neighbors did not live or believe quite as they should and wished to reform them - sometimes violently” (10). The suggestion that a certain segment of society lives properly, while another portion of society needs “reform” immediately suggests that a moralist approach to societal conventions forms a binary (good/bad) construct. By virtue of this binary coding, the invocation of morality into the discourse of urban design initiates a hegemonic power structure, a power structure where those who claim to be living properly assert a prevailing influence over those who are in need of reform. Recently, the ameliorative road to penance has been championed by proponents of the ‘sustainability’ movement. The quixotic visions of an environmentally enhanced future have become so romanticized that any debate focused toward sustainability has mostly been avoided, thus furthering the establishment of a hegemonic power structure.

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[3] I will use this essay as an opportunity to engage the limited debate aimed towards ‘sustainability’ as having become nothing more than a media endorsed extension of Fordist values (Kessi; Kipfer; Spehr). Las Vegas offers a particularly salient ground for this discussion for several reasons. First, the city exemplifies North American morally coded notions of ‘un-sustainable’ growth. Secondly, recognized as a global destination, Las Vegas has been one of the western United States’ fastest growing cities for the last two decades. Thirdly, its current development trends have swung greatly towards ‘green’ building. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the daily practices of the city’s inhabitants are rarely discussed within the context of any of the former scenarios. Attended to, these practices can illuminate local strategies for engaging and imagining sustainability beyond hegemonic and often empty media discourse.

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[4] The paper begins by revisiting an inter-university design charette hosted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Department of Landscape Architecture. I draw upon the statements and efforts of the group of landscape architecture and architecture students who participated in this charette to exemplify the link between hegemony and the ideology of sustainability as it currently exists within a Las Vegas context. During the charette, several observations were made that helped to identify a local ecology of practice. It is my contention that this ecology of practice, embodied by car wash vendors and ‘guerilla’ marketers’, works to illustrate an existing ‘everyday’ paradigm of sustainable practice that transcends a media endorsed ideology of sustainability.

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The Design Charette

The design charette, which was held during the last week of January 2009, involved students and faculty from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the California Polytechnic University at Pomona. The event, entitled “Transects of Adaptation: Radical Arid Adaptations for Land Use and Climate Control,” was meant to act as a petition that would question certain contentions regarding the current built fabric of Las Vegas. The theme of the charette was positioned by the following assertions:

“In order for true sustainability to be reached, adaptations of our existing systems must be addressed. Radical adaptations are necessary. No longer is ‘green’ enough. It’s time to challenge the conditions...bend, crack, fold, split, stretch existing patterns into new forms of extreme articulation. These patterns must move beyond current states of stasis and take risks to trigger evolution. Adapt or die ...”

“This gathering will conduct visionary adaptations based on the desert ecologies in Las Vegas, Nevada. A transect from west to east along Tropicana will be examined with emergent systems extruded from the diversity of sublime and hidden moments amongst the vast skies and hotel horizons. This experiment will create self-sustaining enterprises and adaptations that serve and engage local communities and visitors from around the world. Individual moments and larger systems will be explored. Las Vegas is the paradigm for all issues facing the southwestern United States. Poor planning policies have lead to unmitigated sprawl. The continually declining availability of water and housing typologies that are more nostalgic than realistic to the climate dominate the social, environmental and economic environment. An ever-expanding population, weak public transportation systems and drastically under-designed public infrastructures are ever present. Air quality continues to be compromised, and local impacts on global climate change continue to increase. It is in Las Vegas, in the literally and metaphorically ‘open’ desert of the American west, where radical adaptations of existing land use patterns are poised to reverse the consequences of these systems.”

“Prepare a design solution for Las Vegas ‘post peak oil’ - approximately 2016. How should Las Vegas evolve to prepare for this change? What radical impacts will be reflected in our designed and planned landscapes? In our natural landscapes? How can we create a more just, humane, and sustainable Las Vegas? Simply, what could Las Vegas’ future be?” - Wilcox, excerpts from the unpublished charette brief

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[9] The stance of the charette’s contentions is directly aligned with the previously mentioned idealistic posture that many contemporary theoreticians have taken towards Las Vegas and the need for a more sustainable development as a moral route. In fairness to the charette’s organizers, statements were made in the charette brief that directed the opportunity for advancement in the discourse of urban design toward the inclusion of social and economic interests as equally critical to environmental concerns. Overall, however, the statements in the brief are dedicated to a philosophical romanticism that make the following assumptions: 1) that Las Vegas’ existing “patterns” are in a “state of stasis”; 2) that “[t]his experiment will create self-sustaining enterprises and adaptations that serve and engage local communities...; and, 3) that a “more just, humane and sustainable Las Vegas” lies in the future. This perspective is clearly descended from an environmental ideology constructed during the romantic period. The environmental philosophy that was initiated during that period idealizes the picturesque landscape and natural settings while denouncing the city and the culture that it embodies. (Oerlemans) As such, this limiting viewpoint creates a historical precedence for the previously mentioned moralistic binary in which nature becomes put on a pedestal while the city and its inhabitants are in need of amendment.

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[10] The transect mentioned in the charette brief represents a total distance of approximately 22.5 miles. The segment of Tropicana Boulevard from Maryland Parkway at the western end and Mountain Vista Street at the eastern end was the focus of our team’s particular portion of the total transect.ii Our portion of the transect represents a distance of approximately six miles. It is my contention that the observations made during our team’s pre-design immersion into the site uncovered an active street culture that exists within this portion of the total transect line. Two specific groups of actors, mobile car wash vendors and pedestrian oriented ‘guerilla’ advertisers, were observed as depicting a ‘sustainable’ ecology of practice that is immediately active, progressive, and more ‘humane’ than the local version of sustainability offered by industrial capitalism. In order to understand how these two groups animate a ‘sustainable’ ecology of practice distinct from a dominant ideology of sustainability, let us first review that dominant ideology.

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Industrial Capitalism and the Ideology of Sustainability

While I do agree with much of the critique leveled at Las Vegas’ urban design ‘sins,’ my agreement is merely tangential. I do agree that Las Vegas is composed of poorly planned spaces that are detrimental to existing ecological systems. However, I see this as less a problem of a sinful, eco-systemic, urban design ethic and more symptomatic of a Fordist approach to industrial capitalism. For the purposes of this paper, I will refer to Spehr’s definition of Fordism as “a late stage of capitalism characterized by large-scale production, standardization, semi-skilled labor, easy credit and mass consumption” (5). The environmental ‘sins’ of Las Vegas are the result of municipal decision makers who have allowed contemporary Fordists, i.e. real estate developers, to dictate an urban design ethos for the city, and not in the hands of the city’s inhabitants as is implied by some critics such as Davis.

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[12] While contemporary, media-driven, attitudes toward sustainability tend to take a moral high ground, the sustainability movement has become one of material relationships (Spehr). The move to ‘Go Green’ has become more of a marketing campaign than a true call for environmental health. To illustrate this claim, I point to the following testimony recently offered before U.S. Congressional lawmakers; “It is now nearly impossible for the average consumer to get the information that they need to determine whether a product is truly green; how and where they were made and their potential health or environmental impacts”iii (GreenBiz 1). In 2008, almost one third of the new products released to American consumers had the word “natural” on its label, while at the same time products claiming to be environmentally friendly rose by almost 200 percent (ibid). Unlike the existing federal standards applied to environmental impact statements, corporate environmental policy statements, which ultimately represent an industrial commitment to the environment, are completely voluntary and not required by law (Ramus & Montiel). As such, it becomes easy to see how the notion of ‘sustainability’ has become a convenient greenwash for industrial capitalism and essentially labels corporate America’s argument for ecological health more of a strategy for “leaving the mechanisms which led to an overexploitation of the environment and the people in place” (Kessi).

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[13] This is not to say that the original tenets of the sustainability movement as proposed by environmental activists in the early 1970’s are without merit: quite the opposite. I merely wish to shed light on the suggestion that the tenets of the pioneering environmental activists such as Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold have been greenwashed, or perhaps more violently highjacked, by a media savvy industrial capitalist infrastructure. This misappropriation of ideals forms the basis for a hegemonizing power structure. I will employ a bit of conjecture when I assume that the early environmental activists would agree that “we do not need well-meaning suggestions for reform, but the difficult process of reaching an understanding on a social movement which will attack the core of the problem” (Spehr 2). The core of the problem as it exists today is industrial capitalism’s strategy of “flooding the marketplace with little, if any, evidence to help consumers determine what is green or greenwash” (GreenBiz 1).

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Greenwash in a Las Vegas Urban Design Context

In order to position a ‘greenwash’ argument within a Las Vegas’ urban design context, I direct attention to the advent of Project City Center, a multi-billion dollar casino-resort, luxury condominium and shopping development located on the Las Vegas Strip, as an example worthy of the assertion that sustainability has become an ‘extension of industrial capitalism.’ Since its inception in 2006, Project City Center has been marketed as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ‘Silver Rated’ commercial campus.iv Despite being a voluntary construction rating system, as opposed to a municipal building code, LEED “has become a de facto U.S. national standard for green architecture and development” (Thompson and Sorvig, 2008). While its’ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating has been used as a marketing tool to demonstrate MGM Mirage, the project’s developer, and the projects’ designers’ ‘sustainable’ approach to urban development and their commitment to the environment, the reality is that this commitment is dedicated more to their economic bottom line.

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[15] In a February 22nd 2009 article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, staff writer Tony Illia suggests that “gaming’s love affair with green construction didn’t blossom until the 2005 passage of Assembly Bill 3. The legislation gives projects that achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification up to a decade-long, 50 percent property tax break.” Illia’s article goes on to suggest that the tax breaks for the $9.1 billion dollar Project City Center alone could cost the state of Nevada millions in tax revenue (2009). The lost tax revenue will affect the people of the state of Nevada in a way that enforces Kessi’s assertion that the “capitalist order, [of sustainability] leav[es] the social relations and power structures intact and thus leav[es] the mechanisms which led to an overexploitation of the environment and the people in place” (Kessi). Recently critics have suggested that the ‘healthy environment’ components that dominate the marketability of LEED are less than eco-friendly. Given the fact that the current LEED rating system does very little to take the natural state of a building’s site into consideration, and instead focuses its attention on building materials and energy systems, the rating system “can become a little like fat-free cookies - an excuse to consume more because it’s better than other brands” (Thompson & Sorvig).

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[16] Despite the obvious link between this example of Las Vegas urban design, hegemony and the notion of sustainability as illustrated in context above, a local everyday cultural infrastructure whose ecology of practice can be used to inform an opposition to the quixotic ideal of sustainability and embrace a more active and participatory ‘everyday’ practice of sustainability does exist.

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Hegemony, Tactics, and the Ecology of Practice in the Present City

“Whether encountered by foot, public transit, or car, while sitting on a bench, listening and observing, or through participation, the present city is the taken-for- granted everyday that surrounds us.” - John Kaliski 88

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[18] I would like to suggest that the hegemony that exists within the discourse of Las Vegas’ urban design context is hegemony in the Gramscian sense that those who dominate in any given cultural exchange do so by “winning the consent of competing or marginalized groups” (Gledhill 348). The hegemony of sustainability has been arranged via the consent that our consumer society has given to the industrial capitalist strategic marketing of ‘green’ products. Therefore, once again referring to the Gramscian ideal of hegemony, there is an opportunity for people outside of the dominant power structure to find ample room to negotiate “between competing, social, political, and ideological forces through which power is contested, shifted, or reformed” (ibid). I feel that it is important to make this distinction because as Gledhill articulates,

“[t]he concepts of hegemony and negotiation... enable us to conceptualize the production of definitions and identities by the media industries in a way that acknowledges both the unequal power relations involved in the struggle and at the same time the space for negotiation and resistance from subordinated groups” (348).

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[20] In the vein of “resistance initiated by subordinated groups.” I would like to discuss some observations made during the design charette conducted by the students and faculty of the aforementioned design programs. The group that I worked with began their investigation by observing ‘everyday’ spaces along the project’s transect line. By ‘everyday’ spaces I mean those spaces that John Kaliski alludes to in the quote that opened this section of the essay. ‘Everyday’ spaces are the often “taken for granted” and easily ignored components of the city, such as, parking lots, bus stops, the sidewalk, etc. By observing the ingredient practices of daily activity that occur in those types of spaces, we discovered a positive local cultural infrastructure that exists as “resistant subordinates” within the hegemonic structure of the industrial capitalist ideology of sustainability. The actors who form this resistant cultural infrastructure offer an ‘ecology of practice’ that may propose a more realistic opportunity for social equity that lies outside of the current Fordist inspired concept of sustainability.v This deliberate ecology of practice becomes just as critical as the ‘all natural,’ ‘eco-friendly’ principles and ‘future healthy environments’ that the media and mass-society, via industrial capitalism, associate with a 19th century notion of the preservation of natural landscapes.

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Spatial Tactics in the Present City

The present city of Las Vegas, Nevada, exists in stark contrast to a naturalistic view of desert ecologies, and in even more direct contrast to its popular culture perception.vi The pedestrian oriented environments of the Las Vegas Strip and downtown’s Freemont Street Experience cease to exist in the present city. The ‘present’ condition of the area that we investigated, as is the case with many of Las Vegas’ neighborhoods, consists of narrow sidewalks, large expanses of parking that separate the pedestrian from commercial activity, and excessively wide streets, all of which work to dissuade significant personal relations. (Diaz) The present city lacks any real demarcation of public space that most urban environments feature. In short, the present city of Las Vegas has, as Davis rightly points out, “accepted the resulting dictatorship of the automobile” (Davis 3). It is not my intention to bemoan the allegory of the ‘sinful’ car culture of Las Vegas. Rather, I intend to use the disregard for pedestrian related space(s) and activities as a basis for furthering my argument that a Gramscian ideal of hegemony and its elemental concept of offering room for negotiation do exist within the context of a sustainable Las Vegas.

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[22] Ultimately, our observations focused on two specific groups of actors/actions that we experienced during our immersion into the present city. The first group that we focused on was the mobile car wash vendors that occupy the edges of parking lots. The second is a more socially anonymous but equally visible group that I will refer to as ‘guerilla’ marketers. The crux of our observations began to identify what Michel de Certeau’s calls a “tactic” (de Certeau xix). De Certeau’s ‘tactic’ refers to a mobile and temporal blend of “opportunities” in everyday life (ibid). Whereas de Certeau’s contentions contemplate the role of the consumer in everyday life, we proposed that the vernacular assemblage of these two business related activities found in the present city can be used to invite the ‘everyday’ entrepreneur into de Certeau’s discussion of the “tactical” use of spaces of consumption. By doing so, we can begin to illustrate two specific social and economic groups that lie subject to the hegemonic categorization established by the contemporary ideology of sustainability. In his article, A More Effective Industrialism: A Critique of the Ideology of Sustainability, the German social critic Christopher Spehr states : “Whoever wants ‘sustainability’ cannot simply strive to make industrial capitalism ‘better,’ more ecological, less wasteful, but they have to change the program” (1).

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Changing the Program: The Violence of Tactical Entrepreneurialism

In his book Architecture and Disjunction, Bernard Tschumi, presents the concept of the “Violence of Architecture” (121). To position this ideal, he begins with the following assertions; “1. There is no architecture without action, no architecture without events, no architecture without program. 2. By extension there is no architecture without violence” (ibid). Tschumi articulates his philosophy further by stating that;

“the logic of objects and the logic of man are independent in their relations to the world, they inevitably face one another in an intense confrontation. Any relationship between a building and its users is one of violence, for any use means the intrusion of a human body into a given space, the intrusion of one order into another. This intrusion is inherent in the idea of architecture; any reduction of architecture to its spaces at the expense of its events is as simplistic as the reduction of architecture to its facades. By ‘violence’ I do not mean the brutality that destroys physical or emotional integrity but a metaphor for the intensity of a relationship between individuals and their surrounding spaces. ” (121-122)

While Tschumi is postulating a theoretical ideal of “violence” within the context of “buildings” and their “users,” it is the necessary inclusion of event within the discourse of spatial considerations, and the “intensity of a relationship between individuals and their surroundings” (ibid) that resonates in the ecology of practice in the present city. Simply put, the mobile car wash vendors and ‘guerilla’ marketers have begun to negotiate a Tschumiesque ‘violent’ change of program.

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The Mobile Car Wash Vendors

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Gallery 1:
Car wash vendors in Las Vegas

In an egalitarian society, the street is a powerful emblem of the public domain (Diaz; Millar), Throughout history, the public realm has offered sites where individuals can congregate to sell whatever it is they have to sell (McMillan). Within the present city of Las Vegas, there exists a vibrant and relatively new appropriation of the street vending paradigm: the Mobile Car Wash. The mobile car wash exists along the edges of random parking lots throughout the present city, most of which have been abandoned by large box retail establishments who have become victims of the recent ‘economic downturn.’ By re-interpreting existing spatial conditions, i.e. starting a business in a parking lot, the mobile car wash vendors have essentially crafted a re-definition of social and economic conditions “both internally and externally from their bounded communities” (Diaz 124).vii

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[26] The opportunity for a passing motorist to make an instantaneous decision to patronize any one of the vendors can instigate the urban ideal of “[m]eeting and conversing with friends and strangers in chance situations which have a fluidity that is strikingly normal in a city...” (Diaz 125), This re-appropriation of public space into a potentially ‘fluid’ urban typology has essentially begun to negotiate a street culture that would typically be negated by the aforementioned poorly constructed urban environment. By doing so the vendors have not only initiated the possibility for a vital and energetic public space, they have also initiated an ‘ecology of practice’ that aides in establishing a unique cultural identity as well as economic sovereignty.

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The ‘Guerilla’ Marketer

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Gallery 2:
Guerilla marketing in Las Vegas

A second group who has initiated Tschumi’s ‘violent’ change of program is a much more ephemeral constituency. It is a group that I will refer to as ‘guerilla’ marketers. Like the flaneur, this group’s identity lies in its ‘tactical’ wanderings. ‘Guerilla’ marketers are armed with a milieu of ’advertising materials ranging from 8.5” x 11” Xerox photocopies, to cardboard and ink, to more stylish and sophisticated, assumingly self-manufactured stickers. Unlike the car wash vendors this group employs a pedestrian tactic. The ‘guerilla’ advertisers depend on those inhabitants of the present city whose daily life centers on walking. Thus employing an urban design tactic that relies on “the essence of human scale...meandering at an unencumbered pace.” (Diaz 125ibid). The social equity and economic relationships initiated by the ‘guerillas’ is arguably more democratic than the car wash vendors. Where the car wash vendors rely on a symbiotic relationship with the automobile, the ‘guerillas’ rely on the present city’s base constituency, the pedestrian.

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[28] One can argue that these ‘guerilla’ advertisements are tantamount to ineffective vandalism. However, as the economist John McMillan asserts, a market exists as long as there are consumers who wish to consume a given product. Based on the sheer quantity of ‘guerilla’ advertisements in the present city, one can only assume that a market for these products/services exists. These advertisements do not respond to the ‘rules’ of conventional graphic design and they eschew the conventional car to street signage mandate, which suggests that any good signage must be able to be read at 35 miles per hour. Instead these advertisements are placed spontaneously and made available for immediate consideration to those who decide to stop and read them. In this regard they offer a transient version of more established spaces of consumption. I would argue that, similar to Diaz’s discussion of Olvera Street’s puestos (small merchant booths), these temporary advertisements present a “sociocultural function...of equal importance to the physical form and daily commerce which coincides with the ambience of the street” (125).

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‘Everyday’ Sustainable Practice? - Future Consideration(s)

The mobile car wash vendors and ‘guerilla’ marketers of Las Vegas offer a glimpse into an urban entrepreneurialism that initiates a participatory ecology of practice. If I were concerned with the contemporary idealistic contextualization of sustainability, I could make the stretch and offer a thinly veiled argument that by re-appropriating existing mundane urban spaces, i.e. the parking lot or the lamppost, that the two groups of actors are in effect, re-using space and therefore they must be mitigating the city’s existing carbon footprint, etc. But this is not their most important contribution, in my view. These two groups are involved in an ecology of practice that organizes and utilizes public space in a way that is progressive, active and re-places social patterns that re-engage the street as a fundamental component of daily life. As such, I propose that these actors/actions truly illustrate a literal embodiment of sustainability in that they meet their needs and express their greatest present potential without compromising future generations abilities to do the same. I would argue that these two groups transcend the hegemonic ideology of sustainability as instituted by a contemporary media endorsed industrial capitalist ideology in the following ways: 1) by virtue of their ability to embody a literal definition of sustainability without being packaged as ‘green’ practitioners as currently defined by the media they have created an ecology of practice that can be maintained at a level necessary for success indefinitely ; and, 2) by illustrating the positive results formed by a segment of the city’s cultural constituency that exists counter to the ideology of a romantic view of environmentalism, these actors/ actions can begin to disintegrate the moralistic historical precedent that assumes that good environmentalism must embody a picturesque naturalness.

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[30] I strongly suggest that any future environmental design efforts in Las Vegas must incorporate an urban design ethos that is closely aligned with Norman Millar’s assertions that “[t]he approach supports light-handed and localized tactics to strengthen urban life and economic community through constantly shifting collaborations. The techniques empower voice over form and challenge conventional modes of architectural work, “ and in order to achieve true sustainability, “work in a social setting where the architectural outcome is unknown and, if successful, likely to be invisible” (137). As I have stated throughout this paper I hope to further a debate centered on the ‘highjacking of sustainability’ by industrial capitalism, but at the end of the day I am a designer, and I do have concerns relating to the current environmental degradation that has been implemented by the Fordist ideology employed by our cities’ decision makers. I am not arguing that the answers to a tableau of valid environmental concerns lie in the hands of car wash vendors or ‘guerilla’ advertisers. Rather, I am proposing that as designers, as citizens of the public realm, as participants in the democratic process, we look to the constituent practices of everyday life for glimpses of opportunity that lie outside of the canons of urban design and public policy. I am asking that we use a critical sensibility when corporate America launches the next greenwash. I am proposing that a ‘violent’ change of program is necessary to be able to effectively negotiate within the hegemony of sustainability.

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Footnotes

  1. The “seven deadly sins” of Los Angeles and its Sunbelt clones can be summarized as having: 1) abandoned a responsible water ethic, 2) fragmented local government and subordinated it to private land-use planning, 3) produced a negligible amount of public space, 4) refused to use “hazard zoning” to mitigate natural disaster and preserve landscape, 5) dispersed land uses over an enormous area, 6) accepted the resulting dictatorship of the automobile, and 7) tolerated extreme social and especially, racial inequality. (Davis 1995, p.3)
  2. The charette was composed of five teams. Each team was responsible for one of five sub-divided transect portions. Each team was lead by faculty members from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the California Polytechnic University at Pomona. The authors of this paper were the faculty supervisors for the design scheme illustrated in this essay. Our team’s efforts represent transect number two of five.
  3. This testimony was given by Dana O’Rourke, co-founder of the Good Guide Inc., and an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. (GreenBiz, 2009)
  4. The LEED environmental rating system was created by the United States Green Building Council in 1998. The LEED award rating system for new campus developments includes; certified, silver, gold, and platinum levels of distinction.
  5. I am not attempting to play semantic games when I use the term ‘ecology of practice.’ In fact I am using the literal definition of ecology, meaning the relationship between organisms and their environment.
  6. In the previous sections of this paper, have consistently referred to the ‘transect’ as it was described in the charette brief. The transect line offered a delineation of/for a specific spatial investigation of Las Vegas. For reasons of place-based specificity, I am no longer going to refer to ‘the transect’ as I feel that, given the ephemeral qualities of everyday life that occur within the boundaries of our investigation’s site, the term ‘transect’ becomes too clinical and scientifically detached. Instead, I will now use Kaliski’s term, “present city.” (2009)
  7. While I am directly quoting Diaz it is important to note that, within his text, Diaz properly credits this contextual notion of the reappropriation of space to Henri Lefebvre.

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Works Cited

  • DeCerteau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven Rendall. Berkely: University of California Press, 1984.
  • Diaz, David R. “Public Space and Culture: A Critical Response to Conventional and Postmodern Visions of City Life.” Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States. Ed. Antonia Darder. Westport: Bergen and Garvey, 1995.
  • Davis, Mike. “House of Cards - Las Vegas: Too many people in the wrong place, celebrating waste as a way of life.” Sierra Magazine. November / December (1995) 2 February 2009 http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/199511/vegas.asp.
  • Gledhill, Christine. “Genre and Gender: The Case of Soap Opera.” Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Ed. Stuart Hall. London:Sage. 1997.
  • Illia, Tony. “Casinos Pursue green Practices.” Las Vegas Review Journal 22 Feb. 2009. Las Vegas Business Press Section.
  • Kessi, Alain. Editor's Introduction to “A More Effective Industrialism: A Critique of the Ideology of Sustainability.” Digital Fordism 12 May 2009http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/digitalfordism/fordism_materials/spehr.htm.
  • Kaliski, John. “The Present City and the Practice of City Design.” Everyday Urbanism: Expanded Edition. Eds.John Chase, Margaret Crawford, and John Kaliski. New York: Monacelli Press, 2008.
  • Kipfer, Stefan.”Whose Sustainability? Ecology, Hegemonic Politics and the Future of the City: The Case of Zurich.” Local Places in the Age of the Global City. Eds. Roger Keil, Gerda Wekerle, David Bell. Montreal: Black Rose, 1996. 117-124.
  • “Lawmakers: What's Green and What's Greenwash?” GreenBiz.com 16 June 2009. 12 June 2009 http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2009/06/12/lawmakers-whats-green-vs-greenwash.
  • McCarthy, John. Ideology and Sustainability. 10 May 2009 http://www.formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/ideology.html.
  • McMillan, John. Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002.
  • Millar, Norman. “Street Survival: The Plight of the Los Angeles Street Vendors.” Everyday Urbanism: Expanded Edition. Eds.John Chase, Margaret Crawford, and John Kaliski. New York: Monacelli Press, 2008.
  • Oerlemans, Onno. Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.
  • Ramus, Catherine A. and Montiel, Ivan. “When Are Corporate Environmental Policies a Form of Greenwashing?” Business & Society. Vol.44 No.4 (2005) 377-414.
  • Spehr, Christopher. “A More Effective Industrialism: A Critique of the Ideology of Sustainability.” Digital Fordism 12 May 2009 http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/digitalfordism/fordism_materials/spehr.htm.
  • Thompson, J. William and Sorvig, Kim. Sustainable landscape construction : a guide to green building outdoors. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2008.
  • Tschumi, Bernard. Architecture and Disjunction. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1994.
  • Wilcox, Andy. “Transects of Adaptation: Radical Arid Adaptations for Land Use and Climate Control,” Unpublished Design Charette Brief. 2009

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