ANN BOWERS: I'm Ann Bowers. I'm a trustee emeritus and currently the leader for the Silicon Valley Advisors Group. And I was asked to introduce President Skorton, which is a great honor. But I'm really not sure how much introduction he needs. So I'm going to-- I carefully picked out a few things from his extensive and impressive bio that you might not really realize.
I think we all agree that he's been a remarkable leader for Cornell and know he will continue to be that. I think it's particularly impressive that in this time of economic turmoil, he's been able to accomplish some things that people haven't accomplished when things were a little easier. He's been a genuine team leader.
He brought together faculty and staff and administration to work on a strategic plan. We've had those before, but we haven't really done much with them. This one is actually the framework and the backbone of what Cornell is striving for.
This has included an aggressive program of faculty recruitment in an era where many other schools were not hiring. Gave us a major advantage, and we've been able to hire some really remarkable faculty all across the campus. Also, David was very insistent that we maintain and grow our scholarship program so that we could maintain our need-blind admissions program, which I think we're all pretty proud of. And that meant that we had to do a lot of work on enhancing the availability of scholarship funds, which is coming along quite nicely.
From my point of view as an English major at Cornell, I'm particularly delighted that David has been so publicly and consistently supportive of the humanities. If you follow some of his writings in his blog, for example, you'll find that he's been a strong supporter, for which I think we should all be grateful because, after all, it does help to be able to write and read.
I knew there were some of you out there. And of course, we all know that he seized on an amazing opportunity to develop the Cornell campus in New York City. And I think we're all very pleased, as we sit here.
I thought that was particularly delightful in view of the fact that Stanford kept telling everybody that they had it. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. David is totally accessible to the students and the faculty and pretty much anybody he meets. He clearly loves meetings people.
And he has a reputation for joining in on what I consider some fairly remarkable things. Do you know that he spent the first week of school in the freshman dorm ever since he got here? That takes a lot of courage and stamina. You don't get much sleep. But he seems to like it anyway.
How many of you know that David is an accomplished musician? More than I thought. Well, he is. And so I looked on YouTube to see just what he's done. What would we do without these search engines?
And I found a most amazing thing, which is that he did an audition with Wynton Marsalis. And that's what it said. And I think, lucky for us, he evidently didn't meet the cut, because he's here today. But it was pretty wonderful. So I strongly suggest you go check it out.
Would you join me in welcoming David Skorton back to Silicon Valley?
DAVID SKORTON: Yeah, Wynton Marsalis must have lost my cell phone number, because I keep waiting for him to call me to go on tour. But as my wife said to me when that thing was over, she said, maybe you ought to keep your other job just in case. I want to give credit where credit's due to a bunch of things that Ann just credited me.
One, you can credit to my wife for the idea of staying with the freshmen each year during orientation week. It's a fabulous week. It's fabulous when it's over. The whole deal is fabulous.
And I want to give credit to four people for bringing home the bid on this New York City campus. I was really pleased to be part of the team. The credit really goes to Kent Fuchs, our former dean of engineering, who's been provost for the last three years, to Dan Huttenlocher, the dean of computing and information science, who is now the founding dean of that campus, Cathy Dove, who was the associate dean of the College of Engineering and is now the COO of the campus-- we now have two employees, this thing is really moving-- and Lance Collins, the current dean of the College of Engineering. If you happen to run into any of them in a cyber sense or even in person, if that still goes over in Silicon Valley, you might pound them on the back, because they really, really brought this thing home. And one of the people who really gets credit for this gathering is Ann Bowers.
I think-- and Ashley will tell me if I get this wrong-- this is the 11th or 12th of these. 12th. And I've been here for half of them. And it's always the same.
It's exciting, challenging. You are impossible to control as a crowd, which is good, the way it should be. And I always learn something. And I'm looking forward to learning from the next session.
So I want to to tell you about a few things that are going on and leave some time for questions and answers before we get to the next session at six o'clock. I do want to say something very positive about how the Cornell Silicon Valley effort has worked out based on feedback I get directly from many of you and your colleagues here. There's on the order of 10,000 Cornellians around here, around these areas.
My son went to Stanford. You should excuse the expression. And I was out here a lot more when he was an undergrad. He had a very, very strong experience there. But I had a chance to touch the periphery of this a little bit.
And then every year, when I get to come to this, I see the strength in numbers and the excitement. And I actually want to thank you a lot for all the things that you and your colleagues are doing to keep this moving. This organization, the alumni organization that does this event, won an award from this organization called CASE, the-- I always forget what the C is for-- Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. And it said that this communications approach that the folks have taken here was a model for the country, which is great.
So I want to hit a few highlights and then leave time for questions and answers. About that campus in New York City, it's a start-up. It's a real start-up and has two employees. So there's two very, very busy people.
It's a graduate-only effort. It's 100% in response to a solicitation put out by the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. It's the first time that I'm aware of that anybody's ever set up a complete campus in the United States on contract with a municipality when the school involved was not part of that system.
So in other words, the CUNY system, the City University of New York, has 23 campuses in New York. And if you ever wanted to start a 24th campus, that would have to be done through that agency. But this is a contract between Cornell University and the city of New York, with deliverables, with penalties for failure to perform, a regular contract.
The morning that I signed this thing, I looked at the contract-- it's 40.5 single-spaced pages, written by a very smart attorney-- and I turned to our general counsel and I said, please tell me before I sign this thing with Bloomberg that you have read every syllable in here. And he said, yeah, just sign it. And so that gives you a tremendous amount of confidence. And so I signed it. And then immediately, people started asking me on my, quote, unquote, "my team," do you know what you signed? How could you sign such a thing?
So it's a very, very assertive project. We are aiming to have over 2,000 graduate students on that campus and about 300 faculty. That is such a large number of graduate students in these disciplines that when fully built out, when we have 2,000-plus students on that campus, it will increase the number of graduate students in the tech disciplines-- computer science, electrical engineering, et cetera-- increase them in New York City by 70%. That's how big the campus is compared to other programs in New York, which are high quality but of limited scope.
And so it's quite a thing. The first three weeks after the mayor announced that we had won the bid, we had close to 1,000 media hits about it and a lot of people following along with us. Our partner is the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. You probably know all about the Technion, especially those of you in this room.
In case you don't know, these two statistics you might find impressive. Haifa, surrounding the Technion has 4,000 start-up companies. And the Technion faculty, current faculty and alums, have more companies on the NASDAQ than the entire European Union combined.
And if you want to read a good book, I'll give you two choices. There's a book that I edited and wrote part of on computer image processing from 1986. It was a critical success, and nobody bought it but my mom and my uncle Leo. And they're both gone and can't buy any more.
If you're not interested in that book, there's a book called Start-up Nation, published about a year ago by the Council on Foreign Relations. And it talks about the culture of the Technion and the culture of the whole country of Israel. And you will recognize that culture living in this area and in this culture.
So it's been a very interesting experience to work out that partnership. I have a long connection with the Technion in my area of research through a well-known biomedical engineer some 20 years ago. And it's been very, very, very interesting.
Our projections are that we will have the buildings that we're responsible for built on that campus by 2017 and that what we hope will be some third-party development on the campus will soon follow. And we will very soon have an instructive, informative website up to tell people about it.
We have been overwhelmed by people who want to have something to do with the campus. Highly ranked faculty, even deans of colleges at other universities, contacting me and/or my partners, wanting to know, can they come work there? Undergraduates who say, yeah, I know it's a graduate campus, but can't I get there? Business people who want to be a part of it, governmental agencies.
And I wonder, why is that? I mean, it's a great idea that Bloomberg had. But a lot of people have good ideas. Why is it that this thing has struck such a resonant chord, obviously with Cornellians, but in general?
And I think it's the general atmosphere of retrenchment and pessimism that is in many parts of the world right now. It's understandable. And here's something that's a blank slate, sort of starting from scratch on something you very, very seldom get to do. It should remind you of the culture here in the Valley, only it's in New York City, a much, much different kind of a situation, a city that is on the top of the world in media, finance, fashion, the trades, very strong in health care, but never developed a talent pool in the tech disciplines. And that was the mayor's very good idea.
So I'll keep everybody up on this through the website and through various mechanisms. And I hope that as we bumble along and do this, I know it'll be successful, but I give everybody my private email, because I want people to write me and give me good ideas. And I get a lot of ideas from parents and alumni.
And I get a lot of email from students. I wouldn't say they're all ideas. They're just certain points of view. But my email is David.Skorton, S-K-O-R-T-O-N, David.Skorton@cornell.edu.
I want to hear from you, or I wouldn't be giving you my email. I do it all myself. And so if you have thoughts about this campus-- or anything else for that matter, but especially about the campus-- write me. Keep us focused in the right direction.
One last thing about the campus I want to tell, because it's linked to the next panel, and that is, we're not going to have departments on this campus. We've heard for generations about how we're stuck in these silos. We're stuck in yesterday's way of looking at things. And so the deans and the core team that worked this out decided not to have any departments on this campus, but to have areas of concentration that they are calling hubs. Hubs.
These are going to be things that change and evolve over time. But the first three-- one is going to be on social media, the second is going to be on technologies for a healthier life, everything from your smartphone to electronic health records and who knows what else, and the third is about the built environment. And a huge contributor to that is Dean Ken Kleinman, who's the dean of the nation's number one undergraduate architecture program and a whole college. And I'll tell you more about that in just a little bit. So stay tuned.
Ann very graciously mentioned a strategic plan. We do finally have a strategic plan. You wouldn't recognize it as a business plan, but it is a roadmap for where we think the university needs to go. And if you have a chance, it's on our website. Trying to make all this stuff as transparent as possible.
The number one thing that the faculty group that wrote the plan asked us to do, and we are following the faculty's direction, the first thing they asked was to worry about faculty renewal, since we expect 35% to 40% of our faculty and staff to retire in the next decade. And so that's a daunting wave of humanity. And we have about 3,000 faculty between the two main campuses. And we'll up that by about another 10% by the new campus.
And so we have a program, a faculty renewal program, in which we decided to hire faculty ahead of those anticipated retirements. You don't know exactly when somebody will retire. We don't have mandatory retirement anymore in higher ed, which is wonderful.
But we're hiring ahead of the retirements. And we're hiring like crazy, at a much faster pace than we hired prior to the recession, which is really nice. And the guidance that we got from our board of trustees in how to handle the campus during the recession had to do with a lot of belt tightening and consultation with Bain and Company-- not Bain Capital. This had nothing to do with the Republican primaries. They really helped us in many ways to view ways in which we could run the campus on less funds.
And we had a lot of return of revenue in the last couple of years. But we have more liquidity than a lot of our competing campuses, campuses with which we compete for faculty and students. And so Dean Kleinman and the other deans are hiring faculty at a very good clip.
Between the medical school and the Ithaca campus, we've hired about 200 faculty in the last year. And considering the whole faculty complement is 2,800, that's a lot of faculty. And I'm very proud to say, Ann, that of the 72 hired in Ithaca, 18 are humanists. And a lot of people aren't hiring a lot of humanists these days.
One faculty we hired, who is also going to be the dean, the new dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, our MBA program, is Soumitra Dutta from INSEAD. And he is the faculty director of a media and technology innovation lab at INSEAD. And he's going to be our new dean and first international scholar to be hired to be the head of an MBA program at a school like Cornell, and a very, very interesting man. Hope you'll have a chance to meet him pretty soon. That's the first thing, is faculty renewal.
The second issue was student access, that Ann also mentioned. And I'm a first-generation college student. And there was no history in my family of anyone even thinking about going to college. Of my generation, people began to go. And I never would have made it through any of my education without generous people with scholarships and a great job I had selling women's shoes in Skokie, Illinois.
And that was quite an experience. I learned a lot about life by doing that. And I'm not going to share it with you, because I learned it the hard way. And if you want to learn it, you go out and sell women's shoes and see what you can do.
But I will tell you that even though the markets are up, the recession is far from over for many, many families. And when the recession first hit, I got emails at that email address from many, many parents of students then at Cornell. And they said, what are you going to do to help us so we don't have to pull Suzy, Tommy, out of Cornell? Because we can't afford this $1,000 a week business.
One of us lost our jobs. We both lost our jobs. We've been downsized. I've been put on halftime status.
And we doubled the annual expenditure on student financial aid during the recession. And our trustees unanimously and enthusiastically voted to take money out of the endowment corpus while it was shrinking to keep these families able to afford a Cornell education. I'll tell you in a very interesting statistic, the financial aid is so robust at Cornell-- two statistics-- we're the 10th most economically diverse undergraduate student body in the United States for schools of our caliber. And for families who qualify for need the way we define it, which is families who make $112,000 or less-- that's a little more than twice the median household income in the United States-- for families who meet our definition of need, four out of the five quintiles of income of those families, it costs less to go to Cornell now, net cost of attendance, than it did 10 years ago. Less now than 10 years ago, because of the trustees, because of your generosity and generosity of other friends of Cornell, and because the deans have done what they had to do to do this very, very substantial investment in student financial aid.
Were going to do our best to keep up as much of that as we can as long as we can. But it's very, very important. And it's a second area of great concentration.
A third area of concentration is that of internationalization. And Cornell, from the very first matriculants, was an international university. We're one of the most international universities in the United States based on the absolute number of international students and scholars. Even though many of the schools are bigger than we are, we're still one of the most international. And we have campuses or program offices in the Persian Gulf, London, Paris, Beijing, Rome.
I was giving a talk like this once, and I said they were working on all continents except Antarctica. And by the time I got off the stage, one of our alumni somewhere, who was watching it being webcast, said, learn about your job. Learn about your university. There is a project in Antarctica. Get your facts straight. This kind of thing.
So now I just say, we're all over the world. We're one of the most international schools. We're all over the world. That's the downside of giving people your email. But anyway, it works out.
And the last thing, which I think is very important, and is really the heart and soul of Cornell-- a lot of schools hire excellent faculty. A lot of schools have put funding into student financial aid, very few as robust as we have, but a lot have done it. A lot of schools have some international content.
But Cornell has this extra twist that it's the land grant university for the state of New York. And so we run an extension service in every one of the 57 counties upstate and all five boroughs of New York City. And we have an enormous, enormous, enormous spirit of public engagement. A couple statistics you might find interesting-- Cornell ranks fourth in the country in production of Peace Corps volunteers. Among colleges that produce Peace Corps volunteers, we're fourth, and by far the number one in the Ivies since 1961.
And this is just one area, one example, of this public engagement spirit. One of the things that the strategic plan pointed us at was trying to coalesce the engagement, the public outreach part of Cornell, with the reading, writing, and arithmetic, with the formal education and discovery. And we've created a Center for Community-Engaged Learning and Research, partly funded through the Einhorn Family Trust.
And Rebecca Stoltzfus-- I was looking to see if I could find the year that she graduated. She got her MS at Cornell in '88, her doctorate in '92. And she's a longtime professor of nutritional science in the College of Human Ecology. She's been named the first provost fellow for public engagement.
So the academic side of the house is combining public engagement, including student volunteerism and experiential learning and so on, with the standard discovery in education. I'm very, very, very proud of that. So those are a few of the things that are happening at Cornell.
We're about to celebrate a sesquicentennial. And you'll be hearing more about that. You only do that once, you know, for each institution. It's sobering and humbling to think that this fabulous entity has been going on for almost very close to 150 years.
And we will be breaking ground on that campus just before the sesquicentennial. We'll have some of the buildings up. We'll be celebrating the establishment of the first humanities building built at Cornell since 1905, done exclusively through philanthropy by the sesquicentennial.
We'll be celebrating Gates Hall. And it's headquarters for computing and information science. At the time that Bill Gates gave the gift to Cornell, it was the largest gift he'd given at any campus in the country for such a building. I think it is still the largest gift.
And a lot of wonderful things happening. We'd love to see all the alums back, not only your reunion but for all the things that are going to happen all over the country and the world for the sesquicentennial. Thanks for making this such a great meeting. Thanks a lot for coming. Thank you for everything.
And because you are so impossible for Ann to sit down, we don't have a lot of time for questions. But we have time for a couple of real quick questions. I want to keep us on time for the panel. Please.
AUDIENCE: Real quick, I'm a computer science major. My big fear with-- oh, sorry. Hi. My big fear with the tech campus, which-- by the way, congratulations. I was in New York when that happened. It was a big deal. Go Cornell.
But my fear, having just been to Ithaca and seeing all these bumper stickers that now say, what has Ithaca done for Cornell, people are very afraid that there's going to be a mass exodus of talent to New York. And you are making it graduate level only. How do we make sure that the undergraduate program sustains or increases its quality while you're doing this?
DAVID SKORTON: Thank you. These are two of the big three questions. One question is, you know, can we deliver on all these hopes? And the other two are the ones that you raised.
Is it going to hurt the Ithaca campus? Which, after all, the way we won the competition is the Ithaca campus. And I don't think it's going to hurt the campus. In fact, I'll tell you we had a recruiting fair for placement of students from Cornell in Ithaca that was the biggest thing we've ever had, I think on the tail of people knowing more about Cornell.
And remember, please, when the faculty is fully built out there, it will be 300 faculty. And we have 2,000 faculty in Ithaca. When the students are full to the brim there, there'll be 2,000. And we have 22,000 students at Ithaca. So it's very, very important that all the ships rise.
The undergrads, Dan Huttenlocher already has ideas about internship experiences. And the grad students on that campus, each grad student is not only going to have a thesis advisor, as you always would, but it's also going to have an industry mentor. And so we hope through that mechanism to have different kinds of industrial co-ops and internship experiences and to broaden that for the Ithaca campus.
But make no mistake about it. The way we won that and the way it will succeed is the strength of the deans and their faculty and the Ithaca campus. We're very, very much aware of it.
By the way, even though Ithaca itself is a relative oasis of-- prosperity is a hard word to use, but the unemployment rate's 4 and 1/2%, that sort of thing-- the area immediately surrounding Ithaca is in tough shape. And I've been co-chairing an economic development council for the governor of the state, co-chairing with the CEO of Corning Enterprises. And you drive a few miles, literally, from these small urban areas, and it's tough, tough, tough.
So we really, really have to work hard on making sure that not only don't we forget about it, but that we put more effort into it. And I'm going to continue to work on that so-called Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council for another year, partly symbolic and partly because there's a lot of work to be done. One more quick question, maybe.
DAVID SKORTON: Hey, how are you? My boss. That's very scary.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, sort of. Well, my name is Ronna [? Glasgow, ?] class of '87. I actually don't have a question. I'm just grabbing the microphone to put a pitch in for the alumni-elected trustee ballot. That should be in your email box.
A year ago, I was honored to be nominated and on the ballot for alumni-elected trustee. Even more honored to actually be elected. So as David said, he works for me now. Yay. And so if you're sitting there wondering how someone like me got elected, well, here's your big chance.
And I hope that you will take the time to look at the bios, read them over. It doesn't matter if you don't know these people personally. There's a lot of information there for you to make a judgment. And please participate in this very, very important way as an alum of Cornell University. Thank you.
DAVID SKORTON: Thanks, Ronna. You know, it's interesting. I don't know of any other school that has a fiduciary board that includes alumni-elected, undergraduate student-elected, graduate student-elected, and non-faculty employee-elected as well as faculty-elected voting members of the board of trustees. Cornell is quite unusual. So I echo that sentiment.
Thanks very much. It's 6:00 sharp, and so I'm going to introduce the panel. And I'm going to invite Kent Kleinman, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning, to the lectern in a moment, after I wax eloquent about your many accomplishments.
Now, architecture and planning is one of those areas on the campus that's a combination of an academic discipline that's very highly regarded-- as I mentioned, the number one undergraduate program in the US repeatedly-- and yet it's a practitioners' college, if I could use that term. And very fitting to be the head of such a distinguished unit, Kent is a registered architect in California and earned his professional degree from Berkeley. He has taught at architecture schools in many places, in Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Zurich, as well, of course, as in the US. And he was professor and dean of the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York City.
As dean of architecture, art and planning since '08, he has presided over the completion and opening of Millstein Hall, which is the new home for the undergraduate architecture program and the whole college. Kent, please join us, and kick off this really excellent panel. Kent Kleinman.
KENT KLEINMAN: Thank you, David.
CARL BASS: [INAUDIBLE]
KENT KLEINMAN: Yeah, no, you won't bother me at all. OK. Oh, I've got all sorts of interesting missions here. But before I do this, David, thank you for that introduction. It was very kind of you. And thank you for your remarks, as well.
We're going to move into the last session. Before I do, I just a note. A Volvo S40, blue, license plate 6NLV103-- sounded like an automatic machine there-- your lights are on.
So again, a Volvo S40, blue, your lights on, if it's one of yours. I'm going to chat a little bit. And Carl, you're going to--
CARL BASS: [INAUDIBLE] to stand next to you.
KENT KLEINMAN: We're going to kibitz, yeah. OK. We actually do know each other, so this is OK.
CARL BASS: This is going to be the hardest presentation he's ever given.
KENT KLEINMAN: Yeah, and so I should tell you I told the panel that we were following David Skorton and after this panel was food. And you can't be in a worse bind than following David and having food at the other end. So we are going to try, if not to give you content, at least give you some entertainment value. And the beginning of that is that Mark Strauss, who's our third speaker, is currently five minutes away in a car coming from Atlanta.
He's here. He's one minute away, coming from Atlanta. He's going to burst in the seams anytime. And so I figured he would be a little stressed. So we replaced his water in his bottle with vodka. And we'll see if you notice the difference.
OK. I left off, I think, when I last spoke with you, with this slide. This is Rio, of course. And I suggested that the really, really big question facing our generation, the challenge of this generation, is the urban question, the question of what to do about the cities.
It's a question that I want to put in some sort of quantitative terms just to give you a sense of the enormity of it. If you took the world population and divided it over the world's landmass, excluding the poles, you get about 45 people per square kilometer. If you do the same thing in New York City, the number of people over the five boroughs, you get about 10,000 persons per kilometer squared. If you look at Mumbai, you get about 30,000 people per kilometer squared.
Mumbai has just over 20 million people. 10 years ago, there were virtually no cities with 20 million people. Now there are eight with 21 million people.
If you look at the slum area in Mumbai, where Slumdog Millionaire was shot, you get about 350,000 to 580,000 people per square kilometer. These are not just orders of magnitude larger. These are completely different conditions of density that the world has never experienced. And we don't know what the solutions to the problems are.
And when I suggest to you that this is not just a technical problem, but this is, I would think, ultimately an aesthetic problem in that the question of what kind of life do we consider to be good and beautiful is a question that has to be answered in conjunction with, how do we make that possible, which is the technical question. Just to give you just a snapshot on the way we used to think about cities, we used to understand their form. They were metaphorically interpretable. We could say a city is like a network, and it's shaped like a network, a city's like a grid. There was a kind of formal analogy that-- Mark, with your hat, how can we not recognize you from coming in? Thank you.
There was a metaphor that pertained, and one could somehow comprehend their form. These were shapes that basically we knew existed in nature and knew existed in other kinds of encounters we had. And they were largely, also, the consequence of artistic practices. And this is why I want to bring the arts far back into the conversation, that what constituted a city was largely the question of what constituted the means of representing cities.
And so artists and architects would use means of representation to project ideal cities. And these ideal cities had knowable forms. And then they got built as such and could be understood as such.
And these methods of drawing and representation had a technology. This is a famous image. You may know this from Durer. This is the invention or the description of linear perspective, how to draw an image that seemed to recede in space as it appeared to your eye. There were a whole number of treatises like this trying to understand the technology of representation that then was interpreted through artwork that then was interpreted through architecture that then got built and then became our cities.
This is a long tradition. We no longer believe that that tradition is the correct and the effective technology for mapping cities of the densities that I just showed you. What is interesting about technology now is not just that it allows us to deal with problems that we think we know, but it actually allows us to see problems in completely different ways.
And I want this panel to focus on this precise issue. We can now visualize information, we can visualize energy, we can visualize densities, we can visualize traffic flows in ways that allow the arts, the people that deal with creative imagination, to project futures, because they can see things that we couldn't see before. So these technologies, for me, are not just about abstract technologies or products, but they're actually about spatial and social and cultural imaginations, made possible through new ways of seeing information.
The panel we have tonight is very extraordinary. And the format has been changed a little bit from the other panels to take advantage of what we have available. I've asked each of the panelists to make a presentation to you with images, five, six, seven minutes long. They will be in the following order-- Carl Bass will start off, Don Greenberg will follow, and Mark Strauss will be the third. That will leave us about 20 minutes or so to have a conversation, take a few questions as well.
But the caliber of the panel, I think, is worthy of you seeing and hearing from them directly. Let me introduce Carl Bass and then ask him to take the podium. Carl Bass is one of the most-- have I got this in the right order?
SPEAKER: No, we're going to go with Don.
KENT KLEINMAN: Excuse me. Don first. Even better. Professor Don Greenberg is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Graphics and holds appointments in three departments-- architecture, management, and computer science. He first joined Cornell in 1966 and since that time has successfully prodded, nudged, and cajoled a large number of people and academic units and one dean of architecture and art and planning into the rich field of computer graphics.
He is famous for many, many things, including the advancing of the science and the art of [? computer-aided ?] design. As far back as in the early '70s, he began applying his knowledge of imaging to numerous disciplines, deploying his knowledge of visual and perceptual theory to advanced digital representation. He holds both architectural and engineering degrees from Cornell, and his former students count among the most influential individuals in the development of design software.
Don will make a short presentation on the importance of art and visual perception and interdisciplinarity on the development of digital tools, with a particular emphasis on their pedagogical import. Don, please take the stage.
DON GREENBERG: I need to find the clicker first. Got it. So first, let me make a couple of remarks, which might excuse some of the things that I'm going to say. Much of the talk which was done before in the panels was about the design of virtual spaces or user interfaces. And a lot of my talk, I hope, is going to be at least related to art and architecture and the design of physical things.
My second is that you never should get a professor to speak for 10 minutes, because we're used to 50-minute intervals. David, I hope I won't interfere with the dinner festivities. What I really have to do, though, is not squeeze 50 minutes into 10 minutes. I've got to squeeze about 50 years into 10 minutes, because there are a lot of people in the audience, which I'm very glad to see here, but this has been my life. And my life has also been interdisciplinary. And nothing could be of great joy for me then the New York tech campus, which is set around interdisciplinary activities.
So I'll try and rush through very quickly. In the past, when we started computer graphics, this was the lunar landing vehicle docking with the Apollo mother spacecraft. And this was 1963 at General Electric in Syracuse, New York.
A Cornellian, Rod [INAUDIBLE], let myself and 14 naive, hardworking, tuition-paying architecture students make a movie called Cornell in Perspective. It's on the web. It's in the computer museum. You can see this.
Since that time, we wrote a proposal. Dale [INAUDIBLE] established this interdisciplinary center. And I've had the good fortune of witnessing what was this previous maximum amount of number of polygons for the training of the astronauts, which was 64 polygons if you pre-computed the [INAUDIBLE] into what we can do now in about a second. And this is a simulated kitchen, which doesn't exist.
SPEAKER 2: Don, I think she wants you to use the microphone.
DON GREENBERG: You want me to use the mic. So this is-- I can't use both. I'm not used to multi-tasking.
SPEAKER 2: I can advance. You want me to advance it?
DON GREENBERG: You can do the advancing.
SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE]
DON GREENBERG: Thanks a lot.
SPEAKER 2: We advance things.
DON GREENBERG: OK. So here we are. From when this started at Cornell in the janitor's closet of Rand Hall, we now have had 100 million times more power. And I don't know how one can perceive what's going to happen that far in advance. But it's going to continue.
And if we live another five years, it's going to be 10 times more than that. And in 10 years, it's going to be 100, and in 15 years, it's going to be 1,000. So processing is free. What do we do with it?
Well, I'm going to switch just for a minute and say that it's wonderful that when a child goes into kindergarten, and you look at all the people in this boy-girl class, and you ask them to draw, everybody is an artist. And by the time they hit fourth grade, only 30% of them are artists. And by the time they graduate from high school and go into the college, we have put too much emphasis on the left brain and not enough on the right brain, and only 10% of them are artists.
And I would like to argue that if we have the chance to change curricula in the future, we will make it broader at the bottom like the hourglass. And then they can get more specific. And I was very fortunate that my first background was in architecture, in design, and then into engineering, because I think going the other way is hard. Next slide.
I would like to talk a little bit about what gives the influence to designers, which are broader than just technology. And when I was in high school, I read this beautiful book by D'Arcy Thompson. D'Arcy Thompson. Dr. D'Arcy Thompson. No, go back, please.
And in D'Arcy Thompson's explorations, he did all these wonderful sketches. And we would look at this shell, and it's got this beautiful, smooth lines. Next. And I would make these soap bubbles, where I'd take little pieces of wire and try and look at these beautiful minimal surfaces and say, why can't we do that? And I wanted to then become a shell engineer, majoring in architecture and in engineering to design structures like this-- next slide-- all based on nature.
Some of you at Cornell have seen this. This was just a hyperbolic paraboloid, which is a minimal surface, which we were able to do. Next [INAUDIBLE]. And in fact, if we take a look at Jorn Utzon's Sydney Opera House, his inspiration came from some natural things also, not quite by nature, but-- next slide-- but of the boats sailing around Sydney. Next slide. And he came up with this wonderful sculpture.
These are things which came from biological or just the wind in the sails to influence the direction of art and architecture. Next, please. Then, all of a sudden, I'm teaching computer graphics. I couldn't understand the stresses which were in these complicated things looking at the numbers. So I thought, naively, that I was going to start the drawings so that I could see the deformations and stresses of these shells. This led to computer graphics in the first proposal.
And then, all of a sudden, about 40 years later, I'm teaching in Rome. And in computer graphics, one talks about taking a real geometry and then making it into a virtual, distorted geometry, such that when you looked at it from the right point of view, it looked like it was a perfect perspective. And that was all new. This is the 1960s. And we thought that was great, until I go to Rome.
And I go to Rome, and all of a sudden, I see Palazzo Spada by Borromini. And Borromini made this long arcade, or something looked like a long arcade, which was very short. And the model of this-- go back, please. I think you skipped one. Go back, please.
SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE]
DON GREENBERG: Right. OK. And this is Borromini's arcade in Palazzo Spada. And really, it's only 10 meters long, but it looks 30 meters long because he had each one of these pieces cut to the exact same distorted geometry. Next, please.
And if you took a model of one against the other and looked at it from the right spot, where Dean Kleinman is looking now, they would both look the same. And then they let me walk down this arcade-- next slide-- to see, in fact, what it was like. And of course, it's all scale. But now I look much larger. And I was hoping when I sent this around the internet that I would get drafted by the NBA, but that didn't quite work. Next slide.
We wanted to make computer graphics look better. But I studied a lot of art and art history. And one of my favorite artists was Vermeer. And why is a Vermeer painting different than other paintings?
We take a look at it because he could capture light. Not just the direct light, but the light which is inter-reflected throughout the environment just like it is in this room right now. So we had this painting-- next slide-- and he had his famous studio with the music [INAUDIBLE] which he painted. And in the 1980s, which is now 30 years or so ago, we started to try to mimic this, looking at the way light behaves. And we built this Cornell box.
And President Skorton, as an aside, if you think you sometimes have those legal problems, I still get, every week, a letter from the Cornell lawyer saying, have I given somebody permission to use the word Cornell on the Cornell box? We have to take care of that. Next slide.
This led, in fact, to the simulations of what we do, which is what you see now both in the Pixar and Dreamworks movies or in the Autodesk simulations or in all of the renderings which we use. Next. Now, everything that I've shown you now talked about another type of discipline or sport, whether it's sailing or [INAUDIBLE] shells or painting or so on. And then all of a sudden, a couple of years ago, Cornell thought that we might have video of this ivory-billed woodpecker.
And I thought that maybe I could help them, so I said, you know, we can animate the bird, and we can simulate the camera. And then let's check to see whether all of those images would be the same and then determine whether it was an ivory-bill or whether it was its cousin, which is existing now but in fact we tried to check it out. So we animated this ivory-bill using software from Maya. Next.
And we actually simulated it going through the same [INAUDIBLE]. It looks pretty realistic. But the bird originally flew like a duck, because we had modeled it after a duck.
And very soon after that, the Smithsonian sent us this ivory-billed woodpecker pickled in formaldehyde, which we scanned, like CT scans. It had a thousand scans. Had a correct model, and tried to figure out how birds could fly. Next slide
And so what we did then was capture some things out at the lab of ornithology. And we put some biodegradable markers on their wings and let them go through a flight tunnel with very high speed cameras trying to capture the motion of these birds flying. Next.
And we took the model from the Maya model and make it into a rapid prototyping wing. And we put it into a wind tunnel in mechanical engineering-- next, please-- so that we could get the fluid flow over this to see how we could minimize drag and increase the lift, because that would tell us how these efficient animals flew. And little did we know that this whole path from animation through mechanical engineering-- next slide-- would lead us, in fact, to working on the types of things-- we were now developing miniature flapping structures so that they might be used as surveillance or drones or whatever it is with people in aerospace engineering.
And I'm showing these things now because these are all interdisciplinary things. And at each stage, if you start to ask questions from the other discipline's point of view, you can start to make some great innovations and be creative. Next slide.
Another example is, a long time ago, General Motors and Ford were designing cars with these clay models. And then they would measure the models with probes to be able to define the smooth surfaces which were necessary to make good designs. And we said, well, this is great. And a whole field of splines and spline surfaces 30 years ago started to take off for the designs of these things. Next slide.
But in fact, you know, if you have an aortic aneurysm, they're tough to repair. And so this, in fact, is the aorta, the descending aorta, with an aneurysm in there which, if let go, would continue to burst. And so my son, who happens to be a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, said, dad, why don't you model this so we have the exact geometry? And if we get the exact geometry, we can make a personalized stent which fits that individual just perfectly.
Next slide. And in fact, here you see the examples of some of these models, which were made with the rapid prototyping machine that Professor [? Lipson ?] talked about before, which are then used to make a stent which fits this. And the day after, the person is walking.
Go back, please. I point these things out because everything there is interdisciplinary. Well, I want to tell you something. Doing something interdisciplinary in a university that's built upon silos of departments is not so easy. Although I won't show you now, I have scars all over my back.
And It's very interesting to note that when I first started doing this stuff-- and I talk to all the entrepreneurs here who are doing this-- when I first started to do this stuff, and I wanted to do CAD in architecture, it was OK to do as an elective, but not for design. We will never use computers for design. OK, that's not so bad. I'm still fond of this Vermeer, and I want to do color stuff. And NSF says, if you're going to work in color stuff, no scientist and engineer will ever use it. We'll stop your funding.
And I went to the computer science department. And the computer science department said, no way are you going to teach computer graphics. That's not part of computer science. So you have to have courage to be able to push your ideas. And I would encourage everybody to try and do that. Next slide, please.
But you also really have to take a risk. And this is the type of risk that you have to take. Now, in Silicon Valley, you don't have to worry about taking the risk. This is why I love being here.
Failure is not a stigma. The venture capitalists want people who have failed once, not twice. Bill Hewlett would put an arm around my colleague after a failed experiment, and he said, do your colleagues know why you failed? And the guy said, yes, I just explained it. He says, great, you're the type of person we want to hire.
We've got to do this in universities. And tenure-- tenure sometimes hurts in getting people to stick their neck out and try and [INAUDIBLE]. Next slide.
But most important, I want to talk about this lecture by CP Snow called "Two Cultures." And in 1959, CP Snow, who was a famous author and a famous scientist, gave this lecture, the [? Reed ?] lecture at the Royal Society of England. And he talked about the fact that he would spend half of his social activities with his literary friends, who would talk about all the famous authors and have all these intellectual conversations, and the other half with his scientific friends. But when he mixed them together, the two could not communicate.
And the intellectuals thought they were intellectuals. And the engineers said, yeah, but ask them, what is the second law of thermodynamics? And I would argue that in our future education, that when we have our freshmen and sophomores, that in fact they take courses in multiple disciplines instead of sending them down this funnel.
And in fact, once again I can embarrass President Skorton, who in his inauguration says, I would like-- and I'm not going to quote you exactly-- but I would like to make sure that everyone in the audience takes it upon themselves to listen to at least one lecture by somebody whose philosophy they detest. Do I have that right? And so I would argue today that when we send our students for educations, they should be forced to take the best courses given by the best faculty in different disciplines which are totally different than what they are.
Next. And so if that's the case, then, they get the broad education before they funnel. And then we hope they live long enough or can teach as long as I've had the luxury to do. They can broaden it out. Now, with free computing and the lack-- a lot of courage and the lack of risk, then things can really change. How will they change in the future? Next.
Well, I would argue that it took 1,000 years to move from here to there, or thousands of years. It took centuries to go from the agricultural revolution to the Industrial Revolution. It took only a half a century to go from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age. But now that processing [INAUDIBLE] and everybody can be creative, I think it's going to be the designer and the artist who is really going to command the greatest respect. Thank you.
KENT KLEINMAN: If Don is the-- can I get this one [INAUDIBLE]? If Don Greenberg is a model professor, we're in trouble. Next speaker is Carl Bass. Carl Bass is one of those most famous students of Professor Don Greenberg.
He is the CEO of the Autodesk software maker Autodesk. And Autodesk, of course, is the virtual realm in which almost everything that we designers touch occurs. Autodesk's tools are the industry standards and their products range from rendering tools to energy-modeling software and everything in between.
Fortunately for designers and architects, Carl's interests also include the translation of the digital into the physical. And he is in many ways equally dedicated to standards of craft in both the digital and the material realms. Carl is a graduate of Cornell, a Bay Area local, a global force in the world of digital design, and a graduate of the class of 1978. And he will discuss developments in digital modeling and fabrication and material output. Thank you, Carl.
CARL BASS: Thanks, Dean. And I'm a B-plus student of Don's. Tell you, it takes a professor to give that kind of introduction. I didn't quite understand what I did until I got such a nice introduction.
So let me talk a little bit today. I want to talk about how things are getting made and kind of build on some of the stuff that [INAUDIBLE] talked about and some of the stuff that Don talked about and where we're moving into a post-industrial age of manufacturing. But in addition to that, you know, just establish a little bit of street cred here, let me just show you, I've been making things my whole life.
I've made boats. I've made furniture. I've made machines. I've even built rocket ships. Well, not the kinds you guys think of as rocket ships, but I have built rocket ships.
And when I haven't been making things like this, I've been making software. And I've been making software for our customers, who do some of the incredible things. They use our software to design and engineer the built environment. So this is cities, buildings, roads, the entire infrastructure that supplies cities.
Software that's used in film and games and, I just found out, in ornithology, as well as all the consumer products-- cars, planes, and all the products that we see all around us. And so that's with the software we do at Autodesk. But what I wanted to talk about is this big change that's going on and the fundamental shift we're seeing in the rewriting of the fundamental rules of the Industrial Revolution. And that's the one of mass production.
What mass production was all about is in order to get really high-quality things at low prices, you had to make it in big volume. What we're on the verge of being able to do is to make incredibly high-quality things in small volume at reasonable prices. And those prices are going down exponentially. And so I want to talk about how we're shifting from what's defined the last hundred years to how it's going to be moving forward.
Now, there's a whole bunch of ways things are getting manufactured. We can talk about additive-- you know, the 3D printing and the other techniques like that-- subtracting, the more traditional kinds of manufacturing like milling and lathing, robotic assembly, and then I just want to talk a second about what I think is the most interesting way in which things are going to be made, which is from nano and bio.
So one of the things that's going on with 3D printing is when you talk about this idea of, I send a file across the world, and somebody can print the identical thing that I can print into a physical object, it reminds you of the replicator. And nowadays, we're able to print in all kinds of materials. We are seeing people print in rubber. We're seeing people print in plastic.
Here's a bowl I just made that was printed in metal. It was made out of stainless steel flakes that were fused together. And then that porous structure was infused with molten bronze. And it made a printed metal bowl. And I can send that file anywhere and get that same printed metal bowl.
There's work going on at USC on a different scale where they're talking about the printing of buildings. And so this is a robotic printing, and you can see in the gantry over there-- imagine printing something the size of a building.
There's also tremendous work going on at Wake Forest, where they've 3D printed a human organ. They 3D printed a kidney. They've also 3D printed a bladder. And before all the physicians in the audience-- these guys would be the first to tell you the big caveat. It's not ready to be put into humans, but it's already been done in the lab successfully. It's an incredible accomplishment.
Now, it's just not about how the things are made. It's about where they're being able to be made. And so a colleague of mine just went up in a simulation of zero gravity and tried out 3D printing in space. And the idea about 3D printing in space is rather than take a complete inventory of every part that you might need, instead you bring a 3D printer and only print what you need.
And that's regardless of whether you're in outer space, whether you're deep under the sea, or you're in the most remote village. You'll have the availability of tools to manufacture the parts that you actually need.
Now, there's also things going on-- many of you in the area may know there are places like TechShop. TechShop's a place-- if you don't know it, it's like a health club for geeks. You pay $90 a month, and you go in there, and you have access to all the latest tools in digital fabrication.
So you have access to laser cutters. You have access to 3D printers. And complete CNC available just for the monthly price of admission.
Now, I've also spent a lot of time thinking about what's going on with manufacturing in the big sense, in the large scale, and what it actually means for American manufacturing and the economy in general. This has been a broad topic, widely discussed in the press. And you know, recently I was at a factory in Detroit. It's where they make transmissions. This is the Ford plant in Livonia, where they make transmissions.
Ford has had this wonderful resurgence. This plant is running three shifts a day. They've never produced more transmissions out of here in the 50 years the plant has been commissioned. However, when you drive up and you see the parking lot, the parking lot is nearly empty. There's almost nobody in the parking lot.
And the joke about modern manufacturing is the factory of the future is going to have two employees, a man and a dog. The man's job is to feed the dog. The dog's job is to keep the man away from the machinery.
And it's kind of true. And when you look at it and you think about the future of manufacturing, those jobs-- whether it's the jobs that are in that Ford plant or, as Steve Jobs famously said about where all the i-stuff was being made, and those jobs in China are not coming back-- those jobs are not coming back. The thing that we have the ability to do is redefine manufacturing, redefine design in manufacturing, to create different kinds of jobs. But it's not going to be those old jobs.
Here's another example of what an automated factory looks like. This thing up here, it's a paper mill. If you can't really see the scale, somewhere in the middle there there are two people.
These machines made by this one company produce one third of the world's paper. This is the way of manufacturing for commodity goods is going. Where we need to go with design and manufacturing is not here. You're not going to compete against the kind of commoditization and that kind of mass production.
Now, the other thing I want to talk about is robotic assembly. We're starting to see robots be the ones that do it. For example, this is a [INAUDIBLE] robot. It's actually built in a factory with the lights out. And they use robots to build robots.
And so now when you think about where the robots are going, I can't really tell you whether this is for good or for evil. But I can tell you one thing. And I'm reminded of it all the times when I drive up-- when you rent a car from Hertz, and it says, do not back up, severe tire damage, that's the sense I get. We're going to move forward. We're not going to back up. And so the challenge for us is to channel into this for something for good and not something for evil.
Now, I want to move on to this one interesting thing. And we've heard about it before. Dr. [? Chu ?] talked about it. And this is probably the most interesting thing that I see the development of, is the switch to biological processes for doing manufacturing.
So here's an example of a company called Solazyme. They take algae, and they convert it into jet fuel. Right now, it's being used. It's been used in commercial flights, and it's met all the specifications, all the military specifications, for jet fuel. Started with algae. Different way to produce materials than we ever thought possible before.
This is a great story. This is a bunch of researchers working at one of those other Ivy League schools that's not as good at hockey as Cornell is. This is an example of a nano robot. So this is on the molecular size. It's a nano robot shaped like a clamshell. It has a hinge on it and a latch.
And the idea is to deploy it into the body, target particular kind of cells, and when it binds with that cell, the latch opens, and it releases a molecular payload to do whatever it's intended to do. You can obviously imagine the first targeting of this is for cancer cells. But later ones are [INAUDIBLE] to improve how cells are working.
When I look at stuff like this, it gives me the idea that when we look back on this time, we're going to think of so many of the things that we do medically as purely barbaric. We will look at chemotherapy as the idea, I'm going to poison the body with the hope I hit the right cells, compared to this is just one of the first steps in what we're seeing people being able to do. This has already been demonstrated in the lab. It's an incredible new way of thinking about machines being made at the nano scale.
This is a woman who's growing bricks, growing bricks out of local material. Totally recyclable. Eliminating the energy costs. They're called BioBricks. Incredible use of technology to end up with a sustainable result.
Now, I also just wanted to quickly just touch on this last thing. I've mostly talked about, how do we take digital things and make them physical? But I want to talk about physical things and how we make them digital, because the big problem you have with design, particularly with design software, is when you start, that's what you see. It's a blank screen.
And whether you're a writer or an artist or a designer, that can be intimidating. And as we've learned in music and movies and other places, people don't want to start with blank screen. So let me give you an example of technology we just developed.
This is an example of someone taking a photograph of a sneaker. So they took about-- what is that? 20 pictures, using what Don talked about as the power of infinite computing and the elasticity of the cloud. Take these files, upload them to the cloud. And in a couple minutes, what comes back is something that looks like that, a complete 3D model of a shoe.
And you can see it. You can see the computable model behind it. You can see the polygonal mesh that represents that.
All kinds of interesting questions, legal and ethical. I mean, if you think about taking music and modifying it, what's going to be like when you can go take your phone, your cell phone, take a picture, modify an object, and 3D print it for yourself? All kinds of interesting questions come up in that realm.
Here's another example of just capturing somebody's head. Again, take your cell phone, walk around, take a handful of pictures, you have a model of their head.
And here's one that I find really interesting, just a last example. Just like Don showed you the drone helicopters, the really small ones, these are a little bit larger, these quad and octo-copters. Take one of these, mount a high-definition camera on it, fly over a building, and then you end up capturing the 3D geometry of the building.
So what we're going to be able to do is start in the world of scanning, or capturing the world, bringing it into the computer, modifying it, and making it in a new way, essentially 3D printing it. And so that's what I think the revolution is going to be. And we're going to change the way we manufacture from that one of mass production to smaller production, highly-designed goods. Thank you.
KENT KLEINMAN: Thank you, Carl. That B-plus has really stuck with you, huh? Mark Strauss.
Mark Strauss is senior partner in the architecture firm FXFOWLE and past president of the AIA New York. He has worked on numerous large-scale planning and urban design projects in the New York region, in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and in Washington, DC. In 2008, he worked on a visionary competition for an expansion of Copenhagen's Nordhavn peninsula, a project that was widely acclaimed as a model for sustainable urban design. And he's agreed to talk a little bit on that project tonight.
He holds a B.Arch. from Cornell, class of 1975, and is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Welcome. Glad you made it.
MARK STRAUSS: Thank you.
Do you have-- you can be running these?
KENT KLEINMAN: Want me to do it?
MARK STRAUSS: Yeah, that's great. Thank you. All right. As Don mentioned, he talked about the importance of being interdisciplinary-- to be multi-disciplined. And I'm actually a product of that.
I have a number of degrees, one in urban planning as well as architecture. But that is partially by default, because when I graduated from Cornell in 1976, we were going through another one of these economic downturns. And there were no jobs for architects, so I ended up getting a master's of planning to prolong the agony until I could find a job.
And it's actually been a great experience. And I actually also appreciate the idea of looking at design, looking at cities, looking at buildings, and looking at one's life from a multi-point of view. And at our firm, FXFOWLE, we're actually involved with lots of different kinds of projects, everything from cultural, where we've been involved recently with the redevelopment of Lincoln Center with Diller Scofidio, to bridges to office buildings, residential.
And I lead the urban design and planning efforts with the firm. With my partner Dan Kaplan, we've created something called the Urban Studio, where we discovered that it was important, even within our firm, not to segment planning and architecture and keep them separate, but to really look at the opportunity where the architects can be influenced by the bigger picture and the planning. Those of us involved with planning efforts can also appreciate the detail and the minutia in terms of understanding how buildings work and how that influences our large-scale visions.
Now, one of the interesting things about our firm is that we've been known, or we have a reputation, for being at the forefront of the whole sustainability movement and green architecture. And we designed a building over here called 4 Times Square, which was known as the first green skyscraper. It actually predated LEED and USGBC. And much of the metrics in terms of evaluating that building were used to actually create many of the LEED standards.
And it's a building that utilizes photovoltaics. It utilizes fuel cells. It utilizes, you know, high-performance systems in terms of reducing how much energy is used. It also deals with issues relating to conservation of water and recycled materials.
But one day, another Cornell graduate-- he was actually my roommate for one year at Cornell-- Dan Nall, who is both an engineer, also multi-disciplinarian, who works for Flack and Kurtz as well as being an architect, we asked him to look at that building and to evaluate, how much savings from an energy point of view and carbon footprint point of view does one get by building a green building? And he looked at it. He evaluated it, compared it to a suburban building, and said, yes, it's much more energy efficient.
Basically, anybody who works there, their carbon footprint is probably one quarter of what would be if they were working in a suburban building. But he says, the biggest factor in influencing and making the difference with regard to this building isn't the photovoltaics, isn't the fuel cells, isn't the high-performance systems. It's the fact that it's in the middle of New York City and the fact that 90% of the people who are going to that building are coming via mass transportation or they're walking or they're using bicycles in some cases, and they're not using their cars. And in many parts of the country, including this area, I think people will use more energy getting to work than the entire building uses from a per capita perspective.
So if we could go to the next one, please. Three years ago, I mentioned that we have a joint studio with my partner Dan Kaplan called the Urban Studio. And we formed that in about 2007. And when we decided to bring the planning together with the commercial development studio and re-branded ourselves as the Urban Studio, we decided to get involved with an ideas competition so that we could all be working together in terms of exploring some new ideas and rethinking what it means to be urban and what it means to plan what we were looking to do, which was the sustainable city of the 21st century.
So we entered a competition that was created in Copenhagen on the Nordhavn peninsula. And it's a peninsula just north of this center city of Copenhagen. You can see the small circle up at the top of that little square. And the brief was that we were supposed to design a city for the 21st century that accommodated 40,000 residents, 40,000 jobs, and 40,000 bicycles. It's not unlike 999.
And so we created something that we call city regenerative, connect, extend, weave, which was about connecting to infrastructure and making transportation a part of how this peninsula would grow. It's about connecting the grid of the city and waterways. And it's about weaving open space as a way of creating neighborhoods and also offering opportunities for biofiltration and a new way of thinking about creating a sustainable neighborhood. And together, it becomes a sort of city regenerative.
And it actually borrows from a traditional plan. I don't know if there are anybody else here in this room who has degrees in planning, but the Copenhagen plan of the 1940s and '50s was considered very innovative. It was known as the finger plan because it suggested that as one grew the city, you would only grow where there was transportation corridors and that you would leave everything in between green. So we used that as the basis of designing and defining this urban area.
And right now, the peninsula is a shipyard. It's the container port. There's a cruise ship terminal on it. But they're moving the shipyard outside the city. They're creating a new tunnel to the airport. And they wanted to use the dredge spoils from the tunnel to extend the peninsula and make it a part of Copenhagen.
So going back to the influence of planning and architecture, for us, in our studio, we often start with a quote from Saarinen, who said that "one should always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context-- a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan." And so for us, that became the starting point in terms of looking at both the big picture and then also looking at the details and working our way up as well as working our way down.
And what we tried to do is we tried to bring a sort of canal system-- Grand Canal, that's in the city itself, becomes a centerpiece for Copenhagen-- into the peninsula and let it be the heart of the peninsula. We looked at creating neighborhoods that had smaller canals that reflected the sort of the waterfront experience that is very prevalent as well in Copenhagen. We looked at preserving existing warehouse buildings and creating a commercial district that was as much about preservation of what we could preserve as well as about building anew. And we looked at, also, integrating open space and creating a new park that divided a new cruise ship edge to the peninsula that was linked to transportation that created a new park that extended into the waterway.
And the other aspect of this-- and not unlike interdisciplinary environment in an academic institution-- it's interesting that in the past, if you talked to planners in the 1950s and earlier, you would have, always, a separate commercial area, a separate residential area, a separate industrial area, a separate educational area, separate recreational area. And one of the things that we've learned, I think, in the last 30 years is you want to mix it up. That's what makes the most vibrant cities.
You want cities where living and playing and working are all within the same neighborhood. And you also want to create those environments where, from an economic perspective, you have the same integrated environment in your community, both from a use point of view as well as in terms of economics of who's living around the corner from you. And it creates an environment that's actually a lot of fun to be a part of.
And as a consequence, what we're finding now in cities around the country is that young people want to be in urban environments. They no longer are aspiring to move to the suburbs. And we're working in Denver. We're working in Atlanta. We're working in Philadelphia.
In all these places, the developers are concerned that if they don't create urban places, then they're not going to attract the young people to their environment. So this is also equally as important.
And from a sustainable point of view, we also introduced something with this project, and we worked with [INAUDIBLE] on this, where within each neighborhood, we introduce something called a canal tower. And the canal tower-- and I'll be brief about this, and we can talk about in more detail later, but it included wind turbines. It included a sort of biofiltration system that worked with the individual neighborhoods. It looked at it creating sustainable agriculture that took advantage of the treated water.
It created commerce at the base by introducing a farmer's market around each one of these things in a courtyard to support that that could take advantage of what was being produced in the tower and also working with the existing neighborhoods. We were recycling water. And we were also using a district seawater heating cooling plant that worked with the tower itself to provide cooling and heating for the individual neighborhoods. And we have a whole system, a whole chart, that describes that.
And then we also took it one step further when we looked at the idea of creating components that were prefabricated and modular. And this builds off another competition that we won about eight years ago that looked at the notion of using shipping containers as the building blocks for multi-family housing as a way of fulfilling or dealing with the fact that-- and I'm not sure it's the same any longer, but 10 years ago, we had such a trade deficit that there were something like 1.75 million containers coming into the New York port and only about 750,000 a year going out. And we had such a glut of them that they were really looking for creative ideas for using them.
So we looked at trying to use the container as a module, where we looked at the structure and how we could pull the structure apart. And the fact that it had a rigid beam around it, we could pull faces of it off and create modules that weren't just eight feet wide, but we could we could group them to create more conventional dimensions for housing.
But we found that there were some fatal flaws with the container. Number one, they are not all manufactured in the same place. And even though they're designed to interlock and designed to be stacked up to 12 stories, they have some problems in terms of the fact that they're structurally different. And if one were to try to use containers and reuse containers that you found in a yard, you would have about 20 different structural parameters for them all. And it would make a nightmare in terms of trying to get building department approvals and understanding which containers you were trying to reuse.
So what we discovered was that we could create from scratch a new kind of prefabricated unit that was based on the container, but was designed for housing. And we worked with a group that built off of this idea-- and their group was called Global Building Modules, GBM, and they're actually on a website-- where we looked at how to take these modules and how to create everything from four-story canal buildings to mid-rise buildings to high-rises that became the ingredients for this Nordhavn peninsula. And we call this the sort of community that builds itself. And it actually borrows from another tradition from Denmark, which was Lego.
OK. And then finally, this shows some different images that were part of our competition entry, where we looked at creating commercial nodes centered around transportation. This was the main, major canal with the canal towers. These were the minor canals that were lined with mixed-use residential and retail along the waterway. And then this shows the phasing from 1600 to today and what it will be when the entire peninsula is redeveloped.
And finally, this is sort of a summary of some of the sustainable ideas that we were exploring that I just talked about. And this is a project that has won numerous awards, including the World Architecture News Award for the best urban design project in the world a couple of years ago, which is nice to mention when you're in interviews.
But again, the most important notion from our point of view, though, is, as Bob Ivy, who's now the chief executive of the AIA in DC, said when he was editor at Architectural Record-- he was referring to a book by David Owen called Green Metropolis. And what Ivy said was that to summarize the density of cities and the interdependencies that they provide, point to the best solutions for creating sustainable communities rather than the designs for the most sustainable individual buildings. So it brings us back to what I was talking about early on. You know, you can create a great sustainable building, but if you're not thinking about the city as a whole, it really doesn't add up. Thank you.
KENT KLEINMAN: I'm not going to do the Q&A because we ran out of time.
MARK STRAUSS: Oh, we ran out of time? That's all right.
KENT KLEINMAN: So I grew up in Germany, and I'm mindful of the time. And I think we did-- we're right exactly on seven o'clock. We just don't have any time for the panel discussion. So what I'd like to do is invite the panelists, if you're willing, to meet the audience out during the dinner session and be accosted by them as they see fit, and ask David Skorton, who's agreed to close the session up. But I want to thank all the panelists for their fantastic presentations.
DAVID SKORTON: Well, this is the best conference I go to all year. It really is. That's amazing. It's too bad we don't have time for questions, but we don't have time for questions because of Don. So that's [INAUDIBLE].
But it's very generous of you all to be willing to go out there. And I think the way the dinner is going to work, people are going to walk around and have a chance to mingle and ask some questions. And so we're going to end with the alma mater. And Jonathan, if you'd be so good. The Cornell alma mater.
SPEAKER 3: If there are any glee club or Cornell chorus alumni who'd like to join me, please come up. You heard a little bit earlier when Carl Bass was talking about Cornell being a bit ahead of its peer institutions with respect to hockey. Well, I will tell you that we are far ahead of our peer institutions with respect to alma mater.
Theirs, you don't even know the tune. The tune to our alma mater is adopted by 220 colleges and universities around the country. And so with that, we will stand and sing together two verses of the alma mater.
ALL: (SINGING) Far above Cayuga's waters, with its waves of blue, stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus, speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh hail Cornell.
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus, speed it onward. Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh hail Cornell.
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This panel discusses large-scale design for the built environment, infrastructure and connected cities design, sustainable design, and the tools that make that design possible. The panel also examines what is on the horizon for large, city-scale design and design software/hardware.