Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on critical assessment of the article called:designing urban knowledge: competing perspectives on energy and building. He feels that it is necessary to obtain an intelligent insight into this social problem in the rapidly spreading urban environment, worldwide. The article is well timed due to the fact that the dwindling natural resources like natural gas and coal are likely to get exhausted, human population is burgeoning worldwide and urbanization has become a fact of life in the fast changing world, progressing by leaps and bounds due to technological innovations and increased demand for energy. Optimization of energy resources is a dire necessity in order to develop sustainable urban societies, which the author feels need a radical change in how we look at it, politically, technologically as well socially. Summary The author begins the paper with quotes from eminent sociologists with the aim to make the reader aware of the fallacies which social scientists have based their views upon while deciding on assessing the trends of energy use in modern society. In the opening paragraph, the author has highlighted the issue of incorporating better and more efficient energy use designs in the rapidly urbanized world and has shown how world bodies like the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are concerned about the matter. Dwindling resources, security issues and pollution issues have been highlighted as the immediate threats facing human survival on the planet. The author claims that building experts, governments, social and political organizations are already aware of the problem and have initiated multiple technical innovations to tackle it. The author has highlighted the fact that already the best practices in energy utilization and innovations in the field are being put to practice by those who comprehend the importance of such measures, but claims that, at the same time, architects and occupiers of these buildings still fail to fully implement such technologies while constructing buildings due to the obstacle in the percolation of technological innovations and recommendations from the originators of such measures. Apart from the pure physical nature of building designs and techniques, there are other social, economic, technical and cultural factors which impact the ultimate decisions about better or worse energy utilization decisions while constructing new buildings. The author has tried to find out how these factors interact with each other and has come up with the inference that the socio technical interactions are a vital aspect in better energy utilization measures for future building projects in order to make them sustainable and eco friendly. Conceptual/Empirical Contradictions/Tensions within the Paper At the outset, the author has tried to convey rather vehemently that improving energy efficiency in modern buildings is not merely a facet of building science alone but involves technical, economic and societal perspectives as well. According to him, the generally held notion is that improvement in energy efficiency of buildings is a physical aspect which can be handled by the technicalities of building designers, engineers and architects. Under this notion, the financial and technical inputs have been misdirected towards technical aspects of better energy utilization in buildings.
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