For the start of this year, TransportiCA wanted to get 'back to the basics' of transportation and sustainability - considering them separately in our buildup to the nexus of sustainable transportation. In January, we featured the amazing read Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and prolific author, Edward Humes. Door to Door can be considered a survey publication; providing a holistic systems overview of a subject or discipline. However, Door to Door went further and brought the transportation system's impact to each of us, showing how our same-day deliveries and coffee from across the globe impact more than just us - from initial purchase to kitchen brew.
This month, we move into the mindset and psychology of sustainability, overall, with the bestselling publication Transformational Thought: Radical Ideas to Remake the Built Environment, by visionary and celebrated architect, Jason F. McLennan.
Transformational Thought is a series of essays by McLennan from 2009 to 2012 about rethinking how we build 'green,' and the natural order ultimately leading to the creation of "living buildings." Besides the emphasis of simplicity, sustainability and societal values in building design and operation, McLennan stresses the need for beauty to be a component of the built environment, too; it's subjectivity and potential volatility in overall environmental assessment has caused the pursuit of beauty in design to tossed-aside in architecture, taking a backseat to function.
McLennen, while referencing his undergraduate architectural studies, also provides a history of the U.S. green building movement, interjecting nuggets of wisdom from his professional experience being Executive Director of the Cascadia Green Building Council.
Transformational Thought is an eye-opening series of emotional and intelligent perspectives, and IS NOT a standard, preachy environmental manifesto; its stories are illuminating, highly educational, and his calling the reader to action is inspiring, far from an indoctrinating tone.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, and many more, TransportiCA is proud to feature Transformational Thought: Radical Ideas to Remake the Built Environment as February's Book Club selection.
Questions for TransportiCA's February Book Club Contest
Transformational Thought by Jason F. McLennan is a dynamic collection of provocative essays that critically challenge the design practices and thinking that are interwoven within our contemporary cultural, societal, personal value systems. Rather than an ominous commentary about the terminal shortcomings of society, McLennan relates his architectural acumen and his eclectic knowledge of sustainability, proposing an intelligent, and sometimes radical rethinking of how we live, work, and plan for a living future. McLennan addresses a wide variety of themes from personal to far-reaching systemic change. Each insight points the reader toward sustainable solutions, challenges the status quo, balances practicality with philosophy, and prepares us for a healthy and prosperous future. McLennan advocates for rapid social change – calling for people to engage in productive initiatives beyond current models and to cooperate, take chances and experiment outside of current corporate imagination and our precarious societal scaffolding. Transformational Thought provides us with compelling and timely direction in the most highly transformative era humanity is yet to face.
Considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today, Jason F. McLennan’s work has made a strong impact on the shape and direction of green building in the United States and Canada and he is a much sought after presenter and consultant on a wide variety of green building and sustainability topics around the world.
McLennan serves as the CEO of the International Living Future Institute – a leading NGO that focuses on the transformation to a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. Under the Living Future Umbrella, Jason operates the Cascadia Green Building Council, the Pacific Northwest’s leading organization in the field of green building and sustainable development.
Jason is the founder and creator of the Living Building Challenge, widely considered the world’s most progressive and stringent green building program. His work in the sustainable design field has been published or reviewed in dozens of journals, magazines conference proceedings and books. He is the author of four books; The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, The Dumb Architect’s Guide to Glazing Selection, The Ecological Engineer and Zugunruhe. The Philosophy of Sustainable Design has been used as a textbook in over 70 universities and colleges and is distributed widely throughout Europe, North America and Asia.