Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Values, Nostalgia, Sustainability

Our values in the United States are shaped by nostalgia, a desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life. When applied to architecture, this return to the former seems to cause a conflict between the world’s concern with sustainability in the built environment and what people want, defined by their values. However, I believe that the link between values, nostalgia, sustainability, single-ownership, and branding are ever apparent and are congruent within our value systems.
Nostalgia is not about excess, as defined by Paul Tang in class. It is a longing for the past and simpler times, when there seemed to be a clearer definition of what is right and wrong. It defines our comfort zones and often reflects a shared love of people or a place. Nostalgia is not about excess, and neither are our core values. Nostalgia is about simplicity.
Sustainability, on the other hand, is a new age idea. It brings new technologies to our built environment for the good of the future. It provides a support to keep this world a healthy living place for everyone. Sustainability is about efficiency.
The underlying commonality between nostalgia and sustainability is the return to simplicity through efficiency. Sustainability will sell in the United States because it is a return to simplicity, using the values that nostalgia has developed within us. Our values tell us that we want to return to a different time, and this nostalgia sells. Although sustainability may be using the latest technology, it will sell in the United States based on the core values within Americans defined by nostalgia.
The apparent contradictions between nostalgia and sustainability are actually similarities, one must just look past society’s definition of values, such as money and material things, and return to the values that have been defined by nostalgia. By using your own values, you will see the underlying congruency between these ideas. The nostalgia that developed your values is now defining sustainability with in the scope of your values. Therefore, sustainability will easily be sold, is the same fashion as nostalgia.
Selling nostalgia brings up the conflict between single-ownership and branding. However, both are congruent and can exist in the US. Branding sells in America, but when a name carries value, it has become a brand. Therefore, both single-ownership and branding are related and will sell in the US. If an item does not have one or the other, however, it will not sell in the US because our values defined by nostalgia have taught us to rely on this method of identification for reliance, trust, and dependency.
Just as nostalgia and values are congruent, single-ownership and branding are congruent. Our values also identify single-ownership and branding as import, serving as a link between these ideas. Sustainability serves as a similarity to nostalgia, and therefore our values, and can be sold through single-ownership and branding. Therefore, all five ideas of nostalgia, values, sustainability, single ownership, and branding are congruent.

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