Progress is never a conciliation with the Norms.. Understanding is never an isolation from Cross-Borders.. and Love is never a Loneliness nor Greed..!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Democratic Housing..

Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, Pruitt and Igoe consisted of the thirty-three buildings pictured. Dramatic images of its demolition made newspapers across the country.
I cordially believe that Affordable Housing is a pure architectural challenge, not engineering nor financial.. It is the dilemma that architectural designers often offer the world; either by ill-envisioned perspectives, or surfing high ones, unrelated to realities on the ground..
Civic and municipal bureaucracies are often short of intelligent and accredited capacities to guide or to procure the appropriate housing concepts that would last among our sights for 50-200 years.. Affecting our perception of beauty, coherence and rationales for generations..
In several countries, I had seen affordable housing schemes, which are dump, bad and dangerous.. Also, had enjoyed the scene of excellent examples that were an added urban value to their inhabitants..
  I like to call the Affordable Housing as Democratic Housing.. It symbolize the notional of human rights for shelter and privacy.. It enable the stress free mindset to contribute to prosperity generation and protection.. it maintains the social coherence and glued patterns among the various economic layers of the society, without, mobs and hooliganism rule.. 
Ladies and Gentlemen; we need to reinstate our architectural business, and municipal structures..

The Architecture & Design Of Affordable Housing

“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”
Winston Churchill said that in an address to Parliament in 1944, and it remains true today.

As part of our station-wide series, “The First Decade,” we’re looking at how the environmental and familial circumstances a child’s first ten years can influence – even determine -- their later lives. Today, housing, neighborhoods and the built environment.  

 Poor Quality Housing = Poor Health  
“We know that poor health stems from your environment in many ways and unfortunately a lot of poor quality housing throughout the United States has been impacting health. And what we see is that it’s primarily impacting young children and older seniors who are more susceptible to poor air indoor quality.”

 That’s Jamie Blosser, founder of the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative and associate at Atkin Olshin Schade, echoing findings from a spate of recent studies that have quantified how childhood poverty, specifically  living in a poor neighborhood, influences cognitive abilities, adult employment,  earnings, and behavioral and health problems -- including depression, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease -- at higher-than-average rates. We reached Jamie Blosser and Kathy Dorgan, two prominent practitioners of community and public interest design last week, just after they’d put together a panel on community-based design at the American Institute of Architects conference in Atlanta. 
Practitioners now use the term affordable housing to distinguish their work from the low-income housing units of the past. Those projects have mostly been torn down to establish more human scale housing. Still, being raised in poor housing in a low income area can directly affect a person’s opportunities. 

Income Opportunity  
Here’s Kathy Dorgan, an architect and urban planner who employs participatory design practices, which she says can achieve communities of choice and justice.

 “There’s so many example of that, there’s a recent study out of Harvard that really looked at where children live and what kind of opportunities come their way as a basis of where they live. And so for example if someone lived in New Hampshire in an average community, average opportunity and they moved to Baltimore--which has recently been in the news--which is not an area of high opportunity, their long term prospects for the household income, for a boy, would decrease by 1.39% for every year that they lived in Baltimore. And so the lifetime effect of that would be if someone lived there their whole childhood they might make a third of what they would make if they’d stayed in a community of average opportunity.”

Rural Poverty  
But that does not happen only in inner cities, like Baltimore.

“When we look at poverty 85% of counties in the United States that are high poverty counties are non-metropolitan, so we know that rural poverty is a huge issue, and unfortunately, with more information and more data about location and how important location is in affordable housing in providing access to transit and employment and services, we know that rural regions are even more vulnerable because they are more remote and do not have that access. So we see higher costs of living, but we also see higher vulnerabilities, I think, without that access.”

 A study from the Urban Institute looking at low income residents in Chicago and Portland found kids, even pre-teen kids, at risk of experiencing school failure. They engage in risky sexual activity, and suffer from poor mental health. But while these stats may be bleak, not all low-income communities are dead ends, there are places known as “opportunity rich”, “high opportunity communities” that encourage more stability and supervision for children through better school systems and access to transportation. Kathy Dorgan:
“High opportunities are often high income communities, but not always, so we have a great variance between communities with similar income profiles and the amount of opportunity that they afford to the residents. There’s a lot of things that lead to that, a lot of it’s trust. There have been a lot of studies of communities that work together better that trust each other, provide more opportunity for all of their residents, high or low income, communities with less segregation. But it’s also a matter of public policy and we’ve seen great examples in Massachusetts where they’ve moved to much higher performing schools in many low income communities and that’s of course immediately made those higher opportunity communities. I live in Connecticut where we have much more disparate and the highest of the nation difference in income in achievement between communities. So that difference in achievement and communities in Connecticut makes it a much worse place for a poor person, or anyone to live than our neighboring state of Massachusetts that’s addressed that by policy.”

Bridging the Gap  
As practitioners of community and public interest design, Jamie Blosser and Kathy Dorgan aim to bridge that gap.Again, Kathy Dorgan:

“So, the important thing I think here is to provide every resident with opportunities and access to those opportunities. And there’s a lot of ways to achieve that, and that may be by mixing incomes within a specific development, it may be by mixing incomes and opportunities and resources within a larger neighborhood. And so I think it’s every community has important structures and resources for providing opportunity, and it’s therefore important to do real design within communities to understand the existing conditions and to understand the opportunities there. Having said that, I think it’s really important not to have large areas of segregated incomes and segregated opportunities.”      
Not segregating communities based on incomes or race: a lesson learned, perhaps, by the public housing fails of the postwar era. Think of those massive urban high rises, isolated on the outskirts of cities – places like the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, built with great promise in 1956, only to be demolished in the mid-70s. Or the Robert Taylor homes in Chicago, widely considered to be a low point for American urban renewal. While it’s easy enough to look back on those failures in hindsight, will today’s designers make similar mistakes?  Nadia Anderson, is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Iowa State University. We started our conversation with the public housing fails of the post war era, and asked her, what did those planners & architects get wrong?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Hans Rosling...

Since the 1st time I heard him talking, I got the anxiety to follow this beautiful mind and person.. Hans Rosling is not just a brilliant statistician, but a visionary who successfully bring life to numbers and creates rationales of the irrationals..

Maybe it is about time to hear him talking about Sweden, Economics and Epistemia..

While values like equality, tolerance, and transparency may often be associated with Sweden’s reputation abroad, Rosling argues such values aren’t actually Swedish.

“There is no such thing as Swedish values. Those are modern values,” he says.

So how did Sweden make the leap to modernity from what Rosling characterizes as an “ugly” past?
“We were lucky,” says Rosling.

“Good economic growth, good public governance systems, and a strong civil society interacting with each other, all doing their part. That’s what made the difference.”
Part of the luck, Rosling explains, was having far-sighted business leaders who managed capital responsibly and were not “speculative”.

“They were industrialists who modernized Ericsson and Electrolux and the big companies in ways that fit the demands of the labour movement and people who wanted high salaries and high taxes,” he explains.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Heart Education

Mediafirenews Goa's photo.
Dr. Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist) Bangalore

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
1. Diet - Less of c...arbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week;
avoid lifts and
avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control BP - Blood pressure and Sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No
Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person
gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes
Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.
Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints
Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.
Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare.
Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.
Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and oil is the worst.
Qn: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad.
Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.
Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.
Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.
Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.
Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may NOT have a software engineer as a child
Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.
Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans : No.
Qn: How would you define junk food?
Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , Samosas, and even Masala Dosas.
Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.
Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans: No.
Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded e-mails on this)?
Ans: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.
Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
Ans: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.
Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.
Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.
Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.
Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.
Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans: Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men )
Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended) ....
Please, don’t hoard knowledge.
It takes sharing of knowledge to discover and understand the world in which we live.
Please send it to all your friends and relatives....... They might --- benefit as well……

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How the Ottomans Ruined the 20th Century

World War I was only a global conflict when the Ottoman Empire joined the fray. Those consequences—from genocide to new borders—are still felt today.
After reading the fascinating initial chapter of Eugene Rogan’s new history of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, I was struck with a recurring thought: The wonder is not so much that this sprawling 600-year-old Muslim empire fell victim to the convulsions of world conflict in 1918, but that it somehow managed to survive at all as a world power up to the war’s opening salvos. Founded by Central Asian Muslim tribes in 1299, at its height in the late 17th century the empire spanned three continents, taking in the Balkans in southern Europe, Arab lands from Mesopotamia to Morocco, and much of Asia Minor. Since the beginning of the 18th century Istanbul found itself almost continually at war with Europe’s imperial powers.

Invariably, it came out on the losing end. Egypt and most of North Africa were lost to Britain and France by 1882, while Russia gobbled up one province of eastern Anatolia after another.

Nor were the predations of the Great Powers the only serious problem. The Ottomans were mired in internal conflicts between the dominant Turks and the many other peoples who paid allegiance to the Sultan in Istanbul, including Serbs, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, and Arabs. These groups had begun to absorb Western ideas of nationalism and self-determination—ideas that sparked numerous rebellions and crackdowns on suspected subversives within the Empire. The most notorious of the latter would ultimately fester into the 1915-1916 deportation-mass murder campaign against the Christian Armenians from their Anatolian homelands. As many as a million defenseless Armenians lost their lives.

It was not a foregone conclusion that the Turks would fight in World War I at all. Many leading political figures in Istanbul favored neutrality as the surest road to bringing about long-overdue administrative and economic modernization with the aid of investments from all the European powers. In the end, however, the triumvirate of pashas who ruled the Empire came to believe an alliance with an ascendant Germany, in which Berlin would pay for much of the war effort and military training, would be the surest path to re-conquest of lost provinces, the shoring up its faltering influence in the Middle East, and internal modernization. It was the Ottoman entrance into the war on the side of the Central Powers that transformed a European war into a truly global conflict.

For their part, the Germans gained the use of a large Ottoman army that could take the pressure off their inevitable battle against Russia in the East by launching a campaign in the Caucasus. More important, Germany hoped to exploit the Ottoman sultan’s role as caliph over the entire world community of Muslims. Of course, the British, Russian, and French empires contained millions of Muslims. The Germans wanted the Caliph to declare a jihad against their adversaries, hoping to bring about mass uprisings that would cripple the war efforts of the Triple Entente, and the Caliph was happy to oblige.

The initial Ottoman campaigns did not go well. Enver Pasha, the Ottoman minister of war, hoped to duplicate the Germans’ masterful envelopment at Tannenberg against the Russians, prompting the destruction of an entire Russian army. Geography, poor weather, and inadequate logistics, however, led to a crushing Ottoman defeat and the loss of 80,000 troops. Several divisions of Armenian Christians fought on the Russian side in the campaign, and in the wake of the loss, the large Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire found themselves victims of the 20th century’s first genocide. Rogan unpacks the complicated tragedy of the Armenian persecution deftly and sensitively, concluding that “the bitter irony is that the annihilation of the Armenians and other Christian communities in no way improved the security of the Ottoman Empire,” though that was its primary object.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Didat and Coexistence..

It is all about Coexistence.. Muslims are too arrogant to adhere to..
Not only Sudanese, but all Muslims can not survive further, unless structural changes happen to their epistemic consensus..

Moonfleet Eldai I agree. Remarkably, Muslims should be able to strike remarkable examples in coexistence for Islam is truly diverse given all the races and linguistic and ethnic groups that identify as Muslims across the globe. Some of us are better at coexistence than others but collectively we perhaps should think deeper about emphasizing coexistence and diversity.

I think Christianity are more diverse than Islam, as well as Buddhism. . Muslims are cordially believe that Arabs are distinct and honorable race, at least that the Prophet PBUH had said so in some hadeeth. . Therefore Muslims have their own hurdle to exercise genuine belief of coexistence.. Let us face it..!

Moonfleet Eldai I am not sure about Buddhism geographic distribution beyond the Asian continent. I am trying to recall if there has been ever a hadeeth to the effect of Arabs special place or whatever. If you can refer me to one please go ahead so that I can learn something new. I am aware that politically the earlier Ummayyad empire was particularly pro-Arab and in that effect it allegedly mistreated the Muslims in the lands that came under the Arabian influence. But my source for this information has been the Iranian historical documents which I sort of doubt their absolute impartiality.
الحديث عن بعض الصّحابة:
إنّ الله تعالى اختار لنبيّنا خير الأنساب من لدن آدم إلى أنْ اُخرج من صلب أبيه عبدالله، فجعل خير الناس من ولد إسماعيل، فتكلّم بالعربية وتكلّم إسحاق على لسان أبيه، فولد إسماعيل العرب، ثم جعل خير الناس كنانة، ثم جعل خير العرب قريشاً وخير قريش بني هاشم، ثم جعل خير بني هاشم بني عبدالمطلب، ثم خير بني عبدالمطلب نبيّنا محمّد صلّى الله عليه وآله فبعثه رسولاً واتّخذه نبيّاً وأهبط عليه جبرئيل بالوحي وقال له: طفت مشارق الأرض ومغاربها فلم أر أفضل منك

Moonfleet Eldai Wow, this is very interesting indeed. I'd take this with a grain of salt because the ahadeeth mentioned there sound more like the characteristic self-serving exaggeration of the Shia Imams. On the other hand I have come uponthe Ibn Baz opinion on the correctness of such ahadeeth, they are invariably dismissed as week. We grew up instructed that no Arab is better than non Arab and no non Arab is better than an Arab except in their piety.

Well.. despite the denial or rejection, it had worked perfectly with the sub-consciousness, leading to many atrocities in the names of Islam, civilization and/or honor.. what we had had in South, Nuba and Darfur are just small samples.. Also in Hyderabad, Malaysia and Muritania (which has today more than 150,000 salves) are other examples

Moonfleet Eldai This has happened to me !. I used to play the classical guitar some long time ago. I mastered works by Beethoven and other famous composers. My problem was that, my friends always wanted something Sudanese. It was like, if you do not do that then you do not know how to play. That was not encouraging but of a herd mentality

Change is always associated with denial and resistance.. The more resistant people are, the more enthusiastic for more change (or revolutionary one) they would be..

Moonfleet Eldai: Note that these atrocities were also met by atrocities in response and perhaps fiercer in kind. In Hyderabad, Zanzibar and before that in Spain during the Reconquest Arabs were really massacred in the thousands after the population revolted. The Arab Moriscos in Sapin for example were killed if they spoke Arabic and they were forced into Christianity. They used a language called Aljamiado to at least try to preserve their culture at the face of the new more superior force coming at them.

To avoid double standards.. Had Muslim armies peacefully invaded the regions beyond Arabia? Otherwise, mutual violence is not a surprise.. I strongly believe that there were boundaries that marked the peaceful Muslim spread, or likely so, while beyond it was unwritten and unspoken bloodsheds..

The Prophet PBUH had implicitly called Mua'tah battle as the last one (Junior Jihad); what had happened after was humanely driven, not divinely done, or likely so...!!

Somebody has to start the research by counting and comparing the number of causalities across those early wars.. I shall not be surprised by the results.. Interesting..!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Egypt's New Capital

This is a creation of Capital Region.. despite the failed Megapolis..

Unfortunately, Egyptian Planners did not adhere to the decentralization concepts, which had made many nations, wealthier, healthier and mightier.. Adding 30% to existing urban land is not a solution.. Threats of Eastern-Invasion are not valid anymore..! However, threats of urban poverty are more likely and further destructive..
Egyptian "Urban Lobbyists" had created a distinct culture, which many middle-eastern nations had copied, and further excel.. Property is a market known for secrecy, which enables monetary greed to grow.. Urbanity is synonymous for the Excellence of Living.. Urban poverty is not measured by building quality, but by Tenants Quality, which is not only the GDP share, but scores at MGDs.. Egypt sharply slumps, despite the generous donations and loans.. despite the fantasy homes on the desert..!!

Most officials of Egyptian urban developments are known for their corrupt processing, which had wasted tens of billions during the last 50 years.. Many tycoons had merged from ordinary businesses, construction related or otherwise..

On parallel, Egyptian civic bodies are "discretionally" short of empowerment to stand guarding the codes of practice and standards.. They had evolved their professional roles into politics and transformed into ladders for public offices.. Academics have no feet on the Egyptian development arena, unless needed for cosmetics and decorations.. It is a noisy question about scientific seriousness, integrity and efficiency..!

Egypt, the most populous and historically urban Arabic nation, had influenced both formal and common mindsets among the 400 million Arabic speakers.. The grown media and academic institutions had exercised patriarchy on other Arabs, despite declining economics and deteriorated urbanity.. Inevitably, Arabic bureaucracy had been infested by the early waves of migrant professional workers, who had unintentionally copied their Egyptian inheritance elsewhere.. Yes, Public offices everywhere are known for favoritism, uncreatively and slow, yet when combined with the underdeveloped scenes; it creates toxic mix for urban opportunities and solutions..

If Egyptians live on only 4% of the Egyptian soil, they can spread else where within their one million square kilometers.. However, creating a "Capital Region" will be challenging for City Managers, whom are well known for their inefficiency and short-sighting.. In a way, there is a valid accusation of how short-slightness had infested the Egyptian intellectuality, with little medication..

By default, Corruption and Favoritism allow no excellence to urban structure, therefore, opportunists have no chance in diversifying the new urban profiles, but to profit from the complexity of the existing suffocated one..

Egyptian solutions should not be Satellite Cities, but independent cities and towns; where new demographic, economic and political opportunities would healthily grow.. It is not a matter to respond to public cries for opportunities within current congested fabrics, but leading the public towards sustainable and innovative solutions.. Healthy nations do not have that focal urban spots, but as many as possibly can.. This is the only way to balance the state and the people..

As usual; the happening in Egypt are great lessons for others to learn..