My highlights of Week 4 were Deland's lecture on sustainability and the City Hall Dome Tour.
In her lecture this week, Deland spoke about the challenges of defining sustainability. I enjoyed learning about the origins of the term, dating back to the 60's when it had a strong focus on environmental regulatory policy. We also discussed the broad definition set forth by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development in the Brundtland Report. One definition that stood out to me is based on four pillars: Environmental Quality, Economic Vitality, Social Equity, and Cultural Continuity.
The one pillar that I think is missing from this definition is health. If your community is unhealthy, then it seems like there is no way that it could be culturally sustainable. Health, environment, and equity are all dependent on each other.
2. Dome Tour
I have always been amazed, at a distance, by the gold dome atop of City Hall. I never thought that I would get to explore it from the inside. We joined the City Hall Building Manager for an exclusive tour of the dome. He shared his wealth of knowledge about the history and architecture of the dome. I found it interesting to learn about the major seismic improvements. The building was damaged in the 1989 Point Loma earthquake, and went through a seismic retrofit. It was interesting to hear how engineers were able to prepare City Hall for San Francisco's next big earthquake. The view at the top was amazing, too. Luckily, we went out on a rare, clear day and could see the whole city.