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The art of architecture

The art of architecture

first_img Science Center Former GSD Dean Josep Lluis Sert designed the Science Center, seen here, against a pink sky. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer Gilded buildings Massachusetts Hall Among Harvard’s roughly 660 buildings, Massachusetts Hall is the oldest. Early Georgian in style, its simple construction, symmetry, and modest accents — like its belt course, a row of raised bricks that run along the façade — make it an architectural favorite of many critics. Harkness Commons Famed architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, designed the Harvard Graduate Center, now known as Harkness Commons, a cluster of buildings that became the first modernist structure on campus. Sever Hall Completed in 1880, Sever Hall is the product of the noted architect and Harvard alumnus Henry Hobson Richardson. Using his bold, Romanesque style, Richardson crafted Sever of red brick, but also incorporated lush ornamentation into his design. Harvard is muted red bricks and mortar. That’s its public image. But look around, and you’ll quickly see many campus buildings made of wood, granite, marble, concrete, steel, and glass.While the brick buildings of the Yard and the Neo-Georgian river Houses depict the expected image of ivy classicism, the University actually has a sweeping range of building styles that, taken together, amount to an informal history of American architecture. A walker can sample almost 300 years of innovative designs in an easy stroll.Harvard’s eclectic architectural mix helps to explain its values, its academic priorities, its responses to new teaching methods, its desire for stronger collaboration, its embrace of the urban environment, and its ongoing flexibility. Starting in 1636, Harvard officials decided structure by structure what to construct. But somewhere along the way, the built environment began to have a reverse effect, influencing how faculty, students, and staff behaved and interacted in daily life. The resulting campus developed what could be called “the Harvard look.”center_img University Hall University Hall was designed by acclaimed architect and Harvard graduate Charles Bulfinch in 1813. “There is a quality of intimacy and adaptability about the Harvard campus that clearly distinguishes it from other universities,” said Andrea Leers, former director of the Master in Urban Design degree programs and adjunct professor of architecture and urban design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD).Leers, who has worked on Harvard projects that included expanding the Science Center and the New College Theatre, said, “The different styles of architecture within the continuity of the Harvard campus fabric speak of the directness, richness, and diversity of the intellectual life of the campus … The flexibility of attitudes about the architecture of Harvard reflects its fundamental spirit of openness and inquiry.”“Buildings in any academic institution both represent and enable its aspirations and activities,” said GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi.  “Many of the buildings at Harvard are distinctive pieces of architecture. They represent the University as a world-class institution, but in an understated manner.”Harvard has no glassy campus pond or placid central green, like many universities do. The Yard, which is the closest thing to a traditional campus green, is dotted with buildings. The tight-knit closeness of the University’s structures, the breadth of their styles, the pocket greenery, and the bustling, untamed public square at Harvard’s core make it an unusual campus, one where faculty and students have to interact regularly.In recent decades, buildings are even being designed so their interiors spur academic interaction. The GSD’s Gund Hall, designed by Australian architect and GSD graduate John Andrews and finished in 1972, shows how the University’s pedagogy is enhanced by a building’s design, said Mostafavi, who is also the School’s Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design.“The hall’s open floor plan provides an extraordinary opportunity for cross-fertilization and collaboration between different disciplines,” he said, “and promotes an unusual degree of interaction, which would be harder to attain within separate enclosed spaces or rooms.”In the northwest corner of campus, construction continues on a new Harvard Law School (HLS) building that will contain multifunctional cluster classrooms with swiveling chairs that will allow for small group chats, or class discussions, or lectures, depending on what’s needed for the teaching at hand.Lately, Harvard also is promoting outdoor interactivity. Last year, a clever campaign energized the Yard. The campaign invited passersby to stop and sit in brightly colored chairs, to have a snack, or to sample the arts.“I believe people respond to the built environment both in terms of the physical design and in relation to how a space is programmed, and the resources afforded to it,’’ said Tanya Iatridis, director of the University Planning Office.  “Harvard Yard, the iconic heart of the campus, for all its virtues, does not maximize its potential as simply a place to walk through without stopping.”“Inviting, gathering, and encouraging people to linger by introducing chairs, food kiosks, and arts performances in the Yard, as was carried out through the Common Spaces initiative, transformed daily interactions on the campus,” she said.Over time, the college that was founded on the edge of the American wilderness has adapted to suit its growth and new academic needs. Early on, the campus was a contained group of buildings in a garden setting. Think Massachusetts Hall, which was completed in 1721.In the early 1800s, University Hall broke from tradition when it was built of white granite on a site across from Massachusetts Hall. The new building material was a dramatic departure from the customary brick, and the building’s central location helped to shape future development of the Yard.As the 20th century dawned, Harvard extended its physical reach to the Charles River, where the first undergraduate Houses opened an era of iconic views and public engagement.In the 1950s, Harvard broke from its classical look. Famed architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, designed the Harvard Graduate Center, now known as Harkness Commons, a cluster of buildings that became the first modernist structure on campus.In 1963, Le Corbusier, another famed architect, added the shock of the modern to Quincy Street, where his Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts opened in counterpoint to the grand, brick Fogg Museum next door. By 1965, the glass and concrete face of GSD Dean Josep Lluis Sert’s 10-story Holyoke Center rose over Harvard Square.A decade ago, Harvard embraced a new ethic of environmental sustainability. Often, the result of that shift has meant refurbishing rather than building. Think the Landmark Center in Boston, a portion of an old Sears Building that the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) converted to modern green standards.Architectural shifts over timeAmong Harvard’s roughly 660 buildings, Massachusetts Hall is the oldest. Early Georgian in style, its simple construction, symmetry, and modest accents — like its belt course, a row of raised bricks that run along the façade — make it an architectural favorite of many critics.“Never was there a better example of how a simply conceived, plainspoken building of hardly any pretension can achieve a distinction that time and again eludes more elaborately contrived efforts,” wrote Douglass Shand-Tucci, a historian of American art and architecture, in his book “The Campus Guide: Harvard University.”Massachusetts Hall has been a residence, classroom space, a barracks during the American Revolution, the home of an informal observatory, and the precursor to the modern laboratory (the “Apparatus Chamber” that included equipment acquired by Benjamin Franklin). Today it contains the offices of Harvard’s president and top administrators, with a dormitory for freshmen on its top floor.“This is very unusual cross programming,” said Mostafavi of the hall’s dual function as office and residence. “Because it’s a House, it’s not really a building that represents power. The fact that the president is in a relatively modest building says something about the priorities and the values of the University.”Nearby, Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard’s outdoor arena in the Old Yard that is used for social gatherings and senior send-offs, is bounded by four examples of building diversity: Memorial Church, Sever Hall, University Hall, and the colossal Widener Library.Completed in 1880, Sever Hall is the product of the noted architect and Harvard alumnus Henry Hobson Richardson. Using his bold, Romanesque style, Richardson crafted Sever of red brick, but also incorporated lush ornamentation into his design.“Look at how deep the walls are, the decorations around the windows, and the specially shaped brick, and the building’s texture and shadows, its dramatic roof,” said Alex Krieger, professor in practice of urban design, while touring the Yard. “There’s an incredibly voluptuous quality to it.”Sever faces iconic University Hall, designed by acclaimed architect and Harvard graduate Charles Bulfinch in 1813. His use of white marble in a Colonial Revival and Federal style set it apart. Its placement “established the scale of the Yard and gave it visual coherence,” wrote Bainbridge Bunting in the book “Harvard: An Architectural History,” co-authored with Margaret Henderson Floyd. Instead of facing out toward the adjacent street, “the college now began to develop a spacious academic precinct facing inward, with Bulfinch’s building at its core.”The edges of the Old Yard allow for glimpses of the modern era. Through the centuries, campus planners chose not to fully enclose the Yard like the cloistered designs of their predecessors in England, the universities at Oxford and Cambridge. Instead, the planners left gaps, allowing those passing through to see what Krieger called “a promise of something else.”“You are always walking in a diagonal, you are always seeing the next space beyond,” said Krieger. “Over the tops of these old and venerable buildings, you see the peak of the Science Center or Memorial Hall. It is a wonderful urban design idea. It gives you a sense of what lies beyond.” Carpenter Center In 1963, Le Corbusier, another famed architect, added the shock of the modern to Quincy Street, where his Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts opened in counterpoint to the grand, brick Fogg Museum next door. Holyoke Center Inside and outside Sert’s Holyoke Center, shops and restaurants contribute to a lively streetscape. “What is very special about the Harvard campus for me,” Krieger added, “is that while it has a large, handsome, cherished, and intact historic core — which embodies the ‘Harvard brand,’ it also exhibits the confidence of each generation of its builders, building what seemed appropriate and emblematic for them.”Wedding the old and newBeyond the Yard is a stew of styles and designs, everything from the concrete and glass of the Science Center to the adjacent ornate brick and slate of the High Victorian Gothic Memorial Hall. On the HLS campus, Richardson’s Romanesque Austin Hall sits next to the small Greek Revival Gannett House. At Harvard Divinity School, the Collegiate Gothic-style Andover Hall is across the street from Sert’s Center for the Study of World Religions, designed as a modest residential space with an open courtyard.Increasingly, the University’s construction projects are merging the old and the new.  The renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums is an example of that important nexus. Italian architectural luminary Renzo Piano’s design will unite the Fogg, the Busch-Reisinger, and the Arthur M. Sackler museums in one building. The project will preserve the skeleton of the original 1927 Fogg Museum structure and its beloved interior Calderwood Courtyard. But the new addition will be modern, with a largely wooden exterior.Additional gallery space, classrooms, a lecture hall, and expanded study areas and conservation laboratories in a new glass structure on the roof will increase access to the collections, enhance curatorial collaboration, and broaden the museums’ role in the undergraduate curriculum.  Project planners carefully positioned the new addition to the roof so the façade of the building, as viewed from the Yard, will look largely unchanged.“It will be a very handsome and clear presentation of how you can add to an old, venerable building,” said Krieger.Next door, the Carpenter Center, a sweeping circle and square of concrete bisected by a prominent ramp, raised eyebrows and ire when it was built in the 1960s. It is the only building in the nation by Le Corbusier, the working name of revered architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret. While some early critics balked at the placement of such a modern work between the stately Faculty Club and the Fogg, over time the structure has taken on an almost mythic status.Part of the center’s allure, said Elizabeth Padjen, a GSD graduate, is in its ability to act as a counterpoint. “The Carpenter Center introduced a generation to new ideas about modernity and the modern era as a whole,” said Padjen, editor of the quarterly publication of the Boston Society of Architects. “Many people on campus at that time had never seen anything like it. It still serves as a reminder that universities have a special, somewhat complicated responsibility to the culture at large, an obligation to nurture innovation even while they are increasing our understanding of the past.”The man responsible for bringing in Le Corbusier left his own strong modernist mark on Harvard. Using concrete as an expressive material, Sert furthered modernism. The Science Center and Peabody Terrace are his creations, as is the Holyoke Center. Some critics dislike the scale, the contrasts, and the coolness of Sert’s work, but others note that the buildings neatly fill out Sert’s larger vision.“It’s important to note that the Sert buildings were conceived as pieces in the larger master plan that he had developed for the campus,” said Hashim Sarkis, GSD Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Muslim Societies.Sert envisioned a campus where educational buildings could become an integral part of the urban environment. The Holyoke Center was developed with that in mind. It is recessed from the street, allowing Harvard Square to have more open space, a feature that was repeated on the other side of the building. The interior ground-floor passageway, a favorite motif for Sert, acts as an urban thoroughfare. Inside and outside the center, shops and restaurants contribute to a lively streetscape.Harvard’s recent architectural past involves other projects lauded by some and criticized by others. Peabody Terrace, the 1960s graduate housing complex along the Charles River, was a University attempt to meld with the community. But some neighbors condemned the project for its scale. Similarly, detractors complained that the contemporary, boxlike dorm across the river at Harvard Business School (HBS) is too big and doesn’t fit their vision of Harvard. Over the years, the University has worked to involve the community in the design process.Time has a way of softening such strong opinions. As decades pass, the styles that seemed overly aggressive or even distasteful in their day can come to be appreciated.In a 1904 letter, author and emeritus Professor Charles Eliot Norton bitterly complained to Harvard’s Board of Overseers about “a long series of failures in the buildings of the University.”“There is, perhaps, not a single University building of the last fifty years, from the Museum of Comparative Zoology to the Memorial Hall … that is likely to be held in admiration one or two generations hence,” Norton wrote.Going green, and collaboratingIn the new millennium, the University is greening the Crimson campus, with additions ranging from a building heated by underground wells, to wind turbines on rooftops, to solar panels attached to dormitories.Rising along Massachusetts Avenue is the University’s newest building, which will serve as a Law School student center, classrooms, and clinical space. Project planners expect to win LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the building also incorporates some design elements familiar to the HLS campus, including a color similar to that of Langdell Hall and prominent arches reminiscent of Austin Hall. With its green-building efficiencies, inventive classroom concepts, and a design that is modern but includes influences from the past, the building suggests an important future architectural direction for Harvard.There have been architectural shifts beyond the main campus as well.  In 1999 the Harvard School of Public Health wanted to expand in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, but space was lacking. So when some opened in the nearby Landmark Center, a large art deco building built in 1929, the School took over more than 40,000 square feet of office space, and turned it into the University’s first sustainable building effort.A third repurposed site signals a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. At HBS, in a building that was once the home of public broadcaster WGBH, plans are under way for a new type of laboratory. The Harvard Innovation Lab will serve as a University-wide resource for students and faculty eager to tap into Harvard’s entrepreneurial spirit.“We are trying to achieve a new model of collaboration for Harvard. Here, students and faculty from all across the University can meet others who share an innovative streak, who are interested in getting projects off the ground,” said Sharon Black, HBS director of planning.The lab will include a mix of innovation-oriented and social enterprise projects, as well as services geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurs in the surrounding community.“The future intellectual direction of Harvard will be linked to its physical planning and architectural path,” Mostafavi said.“When there is more and more discussion around collaboration and transdisciplinary practices, the question is: What kind of space do you need for that work?” he added. “New kinds of research means new kinds of juxtapositions, and will require certain negotiations between schools. It will be important to explore how buildings and architecture can help set the stage for these future collaborations.”last_img read more

Renewing urban renewal

Renewing urban renewal

first_imgEager to jump-start local businesses and provide badly needed jobs amid the deep recession that hit in 2008, big-city mayors and real estate agents alike latched onto a shiny new mantra they hoped would fill their surplus of empty office buildings and vacant lots: innovation districts.Once-thriving manufacturing hubs such as Pittsburgh and Detroit have been working to move beyond heavy industry to become like Cambridge and Boston, metropolitan regions rich in academic research and banking institutions. More than a dozen U.S. cities have designated sections of their downtowns as micro business empowerment zones targeting the innovation economy.By transforming underutilized industrial areas or waterfront land, as Boston’s Innovation District did, local government officials are betting that a strategic mix of universities, established companies, and startups in growing sectors like technology and health sciences will attract a critical mass of entrepreneurs, which in turn will stimulate retail and service industries, spur development of housing, and ultimately drive up property values. Part of the lure of such areas is cheap office space and reduced regulatory red tape.According to a new analysis by the Brookings Institution, the rise of innovation districts across the country represents “a radical departure” from traditional economic development schemes that pushed revitalization through construction of sports stadiums, retail outlets, and housing. With careful planning and design that promotes innovation, creativity, and network-building by emphasizing density, proximity, pedestrian-friendly streets, and public gathering spaces, these districts are transforming the physical and economic landscapes of cities while addressing today’s top economic challenges: sluggish growth, national austerity, rising social inequality, sprawl, and environmental degradation, the study finds.But while many districts show great promise, Harvard economic and planning experts say it’s too soon to be certain that these experiments can help remake moribund inner cities into 21st-century global powerhouses.“There’s an overwhelming error of urban policy over the past 75 years which has been to follow a Potemkin village strategy of urban revitalization that acts as if what you need to do to get a city going again is to build more stuff,” said Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard Kennedy School. He was discussing the failed, traditional ways cities have tried to encourage economic growth.“Innovation districts are … a hypothesis; they’re not a proven strategy at this point in time. I think they’re as sensible a hypothesis as any one out there, but they’re merely a hypothesis,” he said.Whether the layout and design of these districts truly fosters innovation, or simply reflects the aesthetic and lifestyle preferences of a young innovation workforce, is similarly unclear, and constitutes rich territory that researchers have only begun to study.“I think we’re still operating more on intuition about what sorts of physical layouts promote innovation as much as evidence-based foundations,” said Jerold Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design. “I think we all believe it. There are strands of evidence that support it. I just think we need to do more to really demonstrate that this is true and to indicate what are the best ways of laying out these districts beyond just calling one an innovation district and getting a lot of innovators to show up.”Building and touting amenities such as bike- and ride-sharing programs, green spaces, and trendy coffee shops and restaurants is a stark departure from bygone days when people moved to wherever their job was located.“Today, the thought is that people move to or live where there is a good quality of life. And if you provide a good quality of life that appeals to them, then that’s where they’ll be, and that’s where the employers can find these types of employees,” said Kayden. “If you have Google by itself in the middle of a desert, people aren’t going to go there.”The report identifies three district models: those based around a major institutional “anchor,” as in Kendall Square; “reimagined” warehouse or industrial urban areas such as Brooklyn’s Navy Yard; and “urbanized science parks” like North Carolina’s Research Triangle. The report offers some initial guidance to city leaders on how best to recognize and broaden the growth of their innovation districts.Although city and state governments have played and continue to play important roles in assisting district growth, Glaeser said it’s critical they do not lose sight of their mission.“To me, the basics of good government don’t really change, and government’s job is not fundamentally to be either an entrepreneur or a venture capitalist. Government’s business is to deliver basic quality of life, try and right some of the inequities of the world, promote decent schools, and provide functional spaces. To the extent to which an innovation district can complement that, it’s great. To the extent to which it’s a distraction from those things, it’s bad,” he said.“I think, fundamentally, the energy for entrepreneurship always has to come from the private sector,” said Glaeser.Unfortunately, not every city and town with vacant buildings and a dearth of jobs can put up some banners, invite some companies to town, and expect to replicate what’s going on in Boston or in California’s Silicon Valley.“It’s very hard to imagine how you can have anything that can be plausibly called an innovation district if 10 percent of your adults have college degrees,” said Glaeser. “It’s all about having smart people who are connected by urban density and who learn from each other and work with each other.”The success of innovation districts has raised some equity issues. “One of the outstanding questions is, how does the city guarantee that people from less well-off neighborhoods” be included so “that the benefits of these areas extend to everybody?” said Kayden. He notes that some analysts, including Glaeser, have advocated for locating smaller innovation districts in still-distressed areas like Boston’s Dudley Square to create jobs for people untouched by the boom in South Boston or Cambridge.While Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have long embraced their roles as academic anchors in their respective districts, Harvard has historically proceeded more cautiously, a position that has been changing “dramatically,” said Glaeser.“If you go back and read Derek Bok’s book [‘Universities in the Marketplace’] on the University, Derek’s view was that engagement with this sort of entrepreneurship was deeply polluting for the idea of the University. He’s not entirely wrong; there are costs of having guys think that their job in life is to start a company and become vastly wealthy, as opposed to their job in life is to write books and inform the world,” he said.“There’s a certain part of me that believes in Derek’s vision. That being said, I think the world has changed in such a way that that vision is just very difficult to sustain.”last_img read more

Farmer Trainings

Farmer Trainings

first_imgUniversity of Georgia Cooperative Extension county agents will now come to farms to teach a series of pesticide-focused trainings to agricultural producers through a new, unprecedented training initiative.In an effort expected to span the next three years, UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources county agents will meet with growers at their farms to discuss topics critical to long-term sustainability. This unique, one-on-one training approach allows agents to bring tailor-made, research-based information from UGA right to growers’ front doors.“We are delivering critical information in a very rapid manner to our growers to help them make better decisions,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for Extension.The trainings focus on pesticide application (http://t.uga.edu/28h), herbicide-resistant weed prevention and management, pollinator protection and sound management program implementation for long-term sustainability. The farmer will determine the focus of much of the discussion, and the UGA Extension agent will assist in overcoming challenges. “Many of our growers attend classroom-type meetings each winter to learn the latest agricultural information; however, those discussions often focus on a more regional or state perspective,” said UGA Extension weed scientist Stanley Culpepper. “Our one-on-one trainings will focus on each grower’s farm. This allows for prescribed recommendations at their best. Also, keep in mind that our agents live and work in these areas every day, so who is better suited to do the training?” Culpepper stresses that one of the greatest values of these trainings will be the ability to communicate directly with the person applying the pesticides. In some situations, the farmer may not apply the pesticides, but may have hired an on-farm pesticide applicator. Sharing the latest research directly with applicators will improve on-target applications, which will protect the farm, its neighbors, the consumer and the environment. UGA Extension works closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to help growers make wise decisions when applying pesticides. One of the greatest challenges is actually getting face time with non-farm owner applicators.This history-making educational program would not have been possible without complete support from UGA Extension agents across Georgia and from Johnson, Culpepper said. “Dr. Johnson’s love for Extension is simply amazing, and her commitment to new and creative approaches for effective information delivery is clear,” Culpepper said. “The survival of Cooperative Extension across America is greatly challenged. However, creative educational outreach through the sharing of the latest, unbiased research data in support of agriculture will further build the relevance of University of Georgia Extension.”For more information, contact your local UGA Extension office by visiting extension.uga.edu or calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

Vermont Venture Network

Vermont Venture Network

first_imgVermont Venture Network serving the entrepreneurial community since 1989May Monthly Breakfast MeetingThursday, May 23, 2002, 8 A.M.Michael H. Gurau, President, CEI Community Ventures, Inc. 36 Water Street, PO Box 268, Wiscasset, ME 04578, Tel: (207) 882-7552, E-Mail: [email protected](link sends e-mail)CEI is a non-profit community and economic development organization founded in 1977. CEI’s latest initiative is CEI Community Ventures which is a community development venture capital fund formed pursuant to the SBA New Markets Venture Capital Program. CEI Community Ventures is eligible to invest in all of Essex and Orange counties in Vermont plus 24 other census tracts, including Burlington.Randee Fagen, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Services C3Gateways Services, Inc.5005 Jean Talon West, Suite 200 Montreal, PQ H4P 1W7Tel: (514) 908-2400“Multi-Tasking CRM”C3Gateways has developed a proprietary “middleware” solution, ContactIP, to manage the customer interaction with call center personnel. In July 2001, the company acquired 1000% of the shares in Helpoverip.com, which was the initial developer of the customer relationship management technology.A discussion period will follow, and your questions are encouraged.Location: The Radisson Hotel60 Battery StreetBurlington, VT tel. (802) 658-6500Meetings: Meetings are typically held the fourth Thursday of every month, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.To pre-register: Please mail your registration form and check (payable to: VVN) for $15 to: PO Box 5839, Burlington, VT 05402. This fee includes a continental breakfast.Pre-registration will also be accepted by facsimile to (802) 658-0978 or via email to [email protected](link sends e-mail). Please help us speed your check-in by pre-registering. Thank you. Please also be sure to include your email address.Name ________________________________________Title ________________________________________Company _____________________________________Address _____________________________________City/State/Zip _________________________________Telephone _________________________________Email Address _________________________________Annual Membership is $25. Members receive notification of all Vermont Venture Network events, distributed via mail and email, for a period of one year.last_img read more

Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’

Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global/Platts:The gas industry has traditionally been a popular target for investment and funding given the relatively high returns from upstream projects, but the ongoing energy transition toward a lower-carbon energy sector is seeing a rapid shift in mood.“There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you,” Nick Stansbury from Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) said Thursday at the European Annual Gas Conference, which was hit by climate change protests on Wednesday that forced the suspension of the event.The stark warning to the gas industry came despite much of the conference discussion being on how to decarbonize the gas sector and the energy transition, or revolution, as Stansbury put it.“The flow of capital is imperilled by this revolution,” Stansbury said.Financiers are now heavily focused on energy transition “risk” and how investments into gas projects would be perceived, saying there was a “rising” concern around environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).ESG is increasingly used to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of investing in a company or business.More: Capital lending to gas industry ‘imperilled’ by energy transition: financiers Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’last_img read more

Air Advisors Partner with Colombian Air Force to Build Capacities

Air Advisors Partner with Colombian Air Force to Build Capacities

first_imgBy By Tech. Sgt. Darlene Byers, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron October 16, 2018 The 17-member mobile training team (MTT), including members of the Wyoming Air National Guard and the Colorado Air Force Reserves, executed a four-week joint training mission with the Colombian Air Force (FAC in Spanish), designed to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities. Organizations like the 571st MSAS have provided critical instruction that have allowed FAC to become more capable and self-sufficient. Since 2012, air advisors have worked hand-in-hand with FAC to increase their medical and airlift capabilities. This particular mission also included firefighting and combat search and rescue skills. “This MTT is the epitome of what the MSAS stands for, and what they are capable of,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Noelle Deruyter, 571st MSAS air advisor. “Our air advisors and the Colombian Air Force have worked hard together to build a solid foundation of interoperability between our countries.” During the four-week mission, more than 204 hours of instruction took place at four geographically separated locations across Colombia, graduating 87 Colombian military personnel from several career specialties. “With seven courses taking place at four separate locations, this MTT had such a broad scope, with many moving pieces,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Giancarlo Reyes, 571st MSAS air advisor. “It is a testament to how advanced and eager to learn the students here are. Every trip [to Colombia] we find that we learn as much from them as we hope they learn from us.” U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Adams and Master Sgt. Jacqueline Carlson, from the 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the Wyoming Air National Guard, instructed courses on medical logistics and medical planning. “Medical planning and logistics is a critical step in any deployment,” Maj. Adams said. “This course has helped prepare the students for upcoming deployments to Africa where they will be using what they have learned firsthand. You can see how seriously they are taking this class, knowing that this information could help them save lives.” Additionally, Colombian students were able to practice their language skills, giving their final presentation in both English and Spanish. “These students already have a high level of fluency in English and their language skills will be imperative for their upcoming deployments,” Master Sgt. Carlson said. “Their command felt it was an important part of the instruction that they be able to communicate and understand the medical terminology, not only in their native language but in English as well. It just shows you how highly capable our counterparts here are.” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Pantusa, 302nd Operations Group commander, and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Freeman, 731st Airlift Squadron, both from the Colorado Air Force Reserves, led the MTT seminar on modular airborne firefighting system (MAFFS). This critical course helped to bridge the gap between FAC aircrew personnel and the Bogota Fire Department personnel on the ground. “Pilots and fire department personnel don’t typically train together, so this exposure opened the dialogue towards creating joint doctrine to be used for future engagements,” explained Lt. Col. Pantusa. “Through this training, personnel from both sections were able to better understand the part the other plays during MAFFS operations. This course, in particular, addressed a future capability that is in its infancy, and one that the U.S. Air Force will use to help the Colombian Air Force grow.” Through the effective work put in by MSAS air advisors, the United States is strengthening relations and cooperation that will meet the challenges of crisis and contingency situations by providing the ability to respond together. “Missions like this one in Colombia are a small example of the hard work that 571st air advisors are conducting to sustain U.S. and Colombia relations,” Maj. DeRuyter said. “More importantly, it builds confidence and capability for the Colombian Air Force which can now conduct certain operations without any U.S. assistance and gives them the ability to ‘pay it forward’ and instruct other nations in Latin America.”last_img read more

CUNA, ICBA ask Hill to rein in FASB on impairment plan

CUNA, ICBA ask Hill to rein in FASB on impairment plan

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are partnering to encourage federal lawmakers to weigh in before the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) finalizes its proposal related to the impairment of financial assets. Reps. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) sent the letter to colleagues this week.“The proposed reforms would require banks and credit unions to estimate expected credit losses for the life of a financial instrument and recognize the net present value of those losses at the moment of origination,” Tipton and Murphy to their colleagues. “This would be a stark departure from today’s practices where financial institutions follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and recognize credit losses when there is evidence they will actually incur a default.In a joint letter, CUNA and the ICBA asked members of Congress to contact FASB with the concerns credit unions and banks have with the proposal. Those concerns have been put into a letter, addressed to FASB Chair Russell Golden, which Tipton and Murphy asked their colleagues to sign.“FASB must proceed with the utmost caution in finalizing this accounting standards update, as it has the potential to irreversibly damage community banks’ and credit unions’ ability to continue to adequately serve their customers/members and communities and sustain the economic recovery,” the letter to Golden reads. continue reading »last_img read more

Giving credit unions a sustainable competitive advantage with an industry data lake

Giving credit unions a sustainable competitive advantage with an industry data lake

first_img continue reading » Tips to Secure Your Data Lake is the first of four episodes for the Data Lake BIGcast Series. John Best, the CEO of Best Innovation Group, brings in Rojin Nair, General Manager of Fintech Solutions at Celero to discuss data lakes and how a collaborative credit union data lake could revolutionize the industry. Celero is a well-established Canadian fintech company that provides a wide variety of services to the banking industry. By managing financial transaction processing and offering leading technology solutions, they successfully maintain over 80 credit union banking systems.Emerging TechnologiesWe live in a fast-paced and continuously changing world. The steps we’ve made in the past decade with technology have been remarkable and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. Predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have just begun to crack the surface of their full potential. That’s why understanding industry trends is so important, so we can get a better grip on what the future might bring. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

WHO suspends reporting of H1N1 case counts

WHO suspends reporting of H1N1 case counts

first_imgJul 16, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Citing the questionable usefulness of reporting pandemic H1N1 case counts and the burden it puts on countries experiencing widespread transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today it will no longer issue regular reports of confirmed global case totals.The WHO has issued 58 such reports since the start of the novel H1N1 outbreak, the last one on Jul 6.In a statement today, the WHO said countries with sustained community transmission are having an extremely difficult time confirming cases through laboratory testing. In addition, counting individual cases isn’t essential for monitoring the level or nature of risk posed by the virus or implementing response measures.Detecting and confirming all possible cases is highly resource-intensive, the WHO said. “In some countries, this strategy is absorbing most national laboratory and resource capacity, leaving little capacity for the monitoring and investigation of severe cases and other exceptional events.”For these reasons, the WHO said it will no longer issue reports of confirmed cases. However, it said it will provide regular updates on the spread of pandemic flu in newly affected countries.The focus of surveillance activities in countries where the virus is already established will shift to existing systems for monitoring seasonal flu, the WHO said. Countries are no longer required to submit regular reports of individual confirmed cases and deaths to the WHO.Monitoring for unusual events such as clusters of severe or fatal cases or changes in clinical patterns is important and should continue, the agency said. It added that countries should maintain vigilance for changes in transmission patterns, such as rising rates of school or work absenteeism, and also surges in emergency department visits, which could foreshadow increasing numbers of severe cases.Keeping close track of changes in the pandemic virus is also essential for case management and vaccine development, the WHO said. It recommends that even countries with limited lab capacity to follow up initial viological assessment by testing at least 10 samples a week.CDC says change is no surpriseTom Skinner, a spokesman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the change in the WHO’s case-reporting policy isn’t unexpected, because the WHO and CDC have been emphasizing over the past several weeks that the number of lab-confirmed cases is just the tip of the iceberg of the true number of people who are or were sick with the novel H1N1 virus.Specific case counts were once needed to help characterize the early spread of the disease, he said. Now that the virus is widespread and poised for a potential surge in the fall, “specific case counts are no longer needed, and since they don’t represent the true picture of the situation, they are not necessary,” Skinner said.The CDC will likely make a similar move to downplay the number of confirmed cases, but it will maintain, if not expand, surveillance to gauge the health impact of the pandemic and the severity of the illness, he said.Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News, said he fully supports the WHO’s policy change. The media and other groups have made too much of the case numbers, which grossly underestimate the illness burden, he said.”This a good thing, but it’s only the beginning of what needs to be done,” Osterholm said, adding that he hopes the WHO will introduce other comprehensive surveillance measures to more accurately gauge pandemic morbidity and mortality.Case counts give wrong impressionPeter Sandman, PhD, a New Jersey-based consultant and risk-communication expert, told CIDRAP News that early on in the novel H1N1 outbreak the WHO had a good technical reason to urge countries to track the number of confirmed cases—to help assess community transmission—but the usefulness of the numbers quickly waned.”The big problem is that almost everyone has used the number of confirmed cases as if it were the true number of cases,” he said. “Everyone was pouncing on those numbers.” Sandman said even CIDRAP News has made this mistake, repeatedly reporting the number of confirmed cases as if the number meant anything other than how many confirmatory tests were being done.The downside of the focus on the confirmed case numbers has been that the public perceives the pandemic as less pervasive than experts know it to be, Sandman said. When a public health official makes a reasonable extrapolation of the burden of disease, the number of confirmed cases seems puny by comparison. “Reputable experts are dismissed as nuts,” he added.Sandman said another problem is that an emphasis on the number of confirmed cases, along with the number of deaths, gives the public—and even some government and public health officials—an inflated impression of the case fatality rate.”The pandemic H1N1 virus could get more deadly at any time,” Sandman said. “But if you compare the number of pandemic deaths in the US to the CDC estimates of how many people have already had the disease, it calculates out that the pandemic is less deadly than seasonal flu so far.”However, most people don’t do that calculation, he said. “People compare the number of deaths to the number of confirmed cases, and that makes the pandemic look much more deadly, because all the cases that never got confirmatory testing are missing from the denominator.”See also:Jul 16 WHO statementlast_img read more

ACI generated revenue in excess of HRK 70 million

ACI generated revenue in excess of HRK 70 million

first_imgThis resulted in revenue of HRK 51,8 million for annual berth services, which is almost at the level of revenue generated in the period from January to June 2019, which amounted to HRK 51,9 million. Published data show that the operations of the largest marina system in the Mediterranean, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic that affected the overall economy and the entire nautical and tourist season, are financially stable. That the past period was relatively successful for ACI is also evidenced by the data on investments following previously assumed commitments and initiated investments, in the total amount of HRK 28,5 million.  The operation of ACI marinas is significantly affected by concession agreements that last until 2030 in most marinas because the extension of the concession period is a prerequisite for further realization of long-term investments of the Company, but also for expanding the range of services, raising their quality and achieving significantly better business results. “Bearing in mind the importance of the nautical segment for Croatian tourism, ACI and its partners insist on a quality and meaningful nautical offer and further development and adaptation of services for all domestic and foreign sailors who choose the Croatian coast for vacation.”, Concludes Pavić.  The first half of business 2020 was marked by business in adapted conditions due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The operation of marinas continues to be carried out under a special regime, in compliance with all recommendations and measures at the local and national level. In line with operating in the new, changed conditions, ACI provided more favorable conditions for boaters in all 22 marinas across the Adriatic during June.  According to the unaudited business results, Adriatic Croatia International Club for the activity of marina dd (ACI) in the first six months of 2020 generated HRK 72,9 million in revenue, while EBITDA for the same period amounted to HRK 21,4 million. center_img “Taking into account all the objective circumstances in which ACI’s business took place, aware of the significant impact of events in business 2020 on the economy and tourism industry, we can say that we are satisfied with the results achieved in the first half of 2020 according to which we record revenue of over 70 million HRK . In addition to preserving jobs and employee health, the main goals for the second part of 2020 are to maintain a stable financial position of the Company and to adjust operations to new market conditions.”, Said Kristijan Pavić, President of the Management Board of ACI dd  Photo: ACI As a leading nautical company, ACI dd is responsible for the development of nautical tourism in Croatia and manages 22 marinas with over 5.800 berths. last_img read more