Steve Mouzon in Towson
Just a quick blog post to publicize an upcoming event here in Towson:
The speaker at the Town Hall meeting will be Steve Mouzon, AIA. Mouzon is a principle of the New Urban Guild, and also heads an initiative called “Original Green“, which will be the spingboard for his talk.
I met Steve Mouzon over seven years ago when I was working as the architectural project manager for several buildings at The Waters, a development outside of Montgomery, Alabama. At the time, I was a bit skeptical of the whole New Urbanism thing, but was doing my best to learn and meet the requirements of the community. During one of our meetings, I asked why the speed limit on the road was 18mph instead of 15mph or 20mph. Mouzon’s response was simply that the road was scaled for 18mph and that speed worked best for the walkability and environment they were trying to achieve. I didn’t buy it, but moved on . . .
Little did I know, that question would lead to my “Aha moment.” I love to drive fast . . . but the next time I went to a meeting on site, I looked down at my dashboard — I was going about 18mph. Suddenly I realized that there was science behind the madness. Through subsequent conversations and meetings, I discovered that each New Urbanism development was a “lab” to try new ideas. The early versions, such as Seaside, had a lot of experiments. Some worked, and some did not. Learning from there, the next development tried a new set of experiments. Now, after 30 years of experiments, a science has emerged to support the system . . .
Simultaneously, environmentalists have pursued greater efficiency in buildings for even longer than New Urbanism has pursued its goals. Not until Energy Star, USGBC’s LEED, and similar programs emerged and gained influence in recent years did these “sustainable” efforts begin to gain traction . . . Unfortunately, so much of these programs are about living the same way we always have, just doing it more efficiently. Mouzon calls this “Gizmo Green.”
Mouzon has since married the two pursuits together to create an initiative called “Original Green.” The basic premise is that we should pursue a lifestyle that is more efficient, not just make our stuff more efficient. How can we live more efficiently? Eighty years ago, people consumed less and thus lived more efficient lifestyles. They ARE the original green. Smaller, more compact homes use less energy. Living closer to our workplace requires less driving. Shopping closer to our home requires less driving. Creating pleasant public and outdoor spaces means we are not shut up in mechanically ventilated buildings as frequently. Just getting outside and walking or biking from place to place will increase our health and decrease medical costs. And the list goes on and on . . .
If you are in the area, I hope you will join the discussion!
For more information and to RSVP for planning purposes: