Farr is an architect who has studied urban planning, design, and architecture for more than 25 years in the United States and Europe. He has taught at the Royal Academy in London, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The Harvard Graduate School of Design. He recently worked for the University of California at Berkeley, where he lectured on urban design and sustainable urbanism. He is currently chair of the LEED Neighborhood Development program for the U.S. Green Building Council in San Francisco. He is the author of 10 other books, including Sustainability and the Built Environment and The Complete Guide to the Green Building Rating Systems. He lives with his wife in San Francisco.
The answer to both of these questions -- which is also the answer to the question of what sustainable urbanism is -- is that the rise of sustainable urbanism is the result of a confluence of forces that are in large part connected to the popularity of the green building movement. Green building has seen a very gradual but very steady rise in popularity since the early 1990s. This has been accompanied by a larger and larger increase in the number of certified green building products and rating systems. But environmental concerns about global warming and the environment in general go back much further. They trace back at least to the first major environmental movement of the mid- to late-1800s, which had a moment of high popularity around the 1930s. That was, of course, the New Deal, under president Franklin D. Roosevelt. So many people believe that this is where the environmental movement began. And for most people in the U.S., that is probably correct. Even before that, the first major environmental movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s was the anti-tuberculosis movement, the fight against pollution, and the fight against urbanization. But there are reasons to believe that green building represents the height of environmentalism in the popular imagination. 827ec27edc