Carl Stein Speaks on Sustainable Future for Stony Brook Southampton


StonyBrook02 Principal founder of elemental, Carl Stein, FAIA, addressed a gathering of local activists, artists, designers, educators, environmentalists, and planners at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University last Friday, October 9th. The event sparked an effective and engaging dialogue about the sustainable future of the SUNY campus. In addition to his curation with Marc Fasanella of the visual exhibition held in the Avram Lobby Gallery, Carl addressed the symposium with the following statement on sustainability: "In order to discuss options for sustainability, one must first decide what is being sustained.  Much of the consideration of global sustainability might actually better be called survivability.  Issues of climate change, food production, availability of clean water and air threaten the continued viability of the human species. Local efforts toward sustainability will influence the global outlook but are often, appropriately, focused on the impact of actions, whether planned or not, on the special characteristics that are seen to be the essential definers of place.  These characteristics may include cultural, historical and natural aspects. Increasingly, we are finding that there are resonances between maintenance of place, of genius loci, and global ecological survival.  These result from at least two fundamental conditions.  First, much of what is valued is the result of a long, evolutionary process in which the growth and development of humankind’s habitation of the planet has been informed by interaction with context.  Second, understanding the intrinsic value of what currently exists will produce attitudes which will be far more likely to adapt and reuse rather than demolish and replace – a new paradigm. A corollary to this new paradigm is that new interventions which are found to be necessary will be more carefully considered and more highly valued. The forum and exhibition becomes a stepping off point for a program (a) to define those characteristics of eastern Long Island which must be maintained (or which are worthy of maintenance); (b) to identify the ways that maintenance of these characteristics supports ecological sustainability on local, regional and global bases; and (c) to create an action plan to realize specific measure designed to strengthen the characteristics identified in (a)." – Carl Stein, FAIA