Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

What in Darwin’s name was I thinking? (#001)

Posted 13 Jan 2017 / 0

I am not afraid to play around when it comes to my teaching. I have been teaching for what seems to me a long time — eight years as a middle school teacher, several instructor gigs in graduate school, and now nearly ten years as a professor at Pratt — and I never feel as Read More

A Major Post, Course Evaluations, Higher Education, MSCI-260, Evolution, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Teaching

An analysis of my course evaluations for Spring 2016

Posted 18 Aug 2016 / 0

For the most part I am like most of my colleagues: there are about a hundred things — some less than glorious — that I would rather do than analyze my semesterly course evaluations. But for whatever reason, I feel compelled to do so, especially given that in recent years my course evaluations have been Read More

A Major Post, Assessment Methods, Course Evaluations, Higher Education, MSCI-260, Evolution, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Teaching

Biophotovoltaics: a promising design innovation, or a great example of lack of quantitative design?

Posted 27 May 2016 / 0

Moss image courtesy Dick Mudde via Wikimedia Commons GreenFabLab Barcelona “Moss Voltaics” A student in my Ecology for Architects class pointed me towards this design project, which creates a building facade system designed to pull electrical current from small growth chambers containing moss. The technology — dubbed a biophotovoltaic — turns the energy captured by photosynthesis Read More

A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Green Design, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Quantitative Analysis, Science in Art & Design, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Urban Design, Web

Where’s the world’s biggest solar-electric power station going to be located?

Posted 14 Apr 2016 / 0

One of the great things about teaching students in Pratt’s Undergraduate Architecture program is that so many of them come to Pratt from abroad. International students bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that greatly broadens the dialogue in our classroom, and are especially important members of courses with an international world view. Read More

A Minor Post, Deserts, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Public Policy, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy

What can be made by mimicking biological “assemblies”?

Posted 09 Apr 2016 / 0

A student in my Ecology for Architects course sent me the link to this TED Talk by Neri Oxman about some of her projects at the intersection of design and biology. I think that my student meant for me to watch it, and perhaps might have been interested in my thoughts, but the talk struck such a Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Architecture, Closed Loop Systems, Fashion, Film, Television, & Video, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Science in Art & Design, Sustainability

My ecological footprint for 2015-2016

Posted 08 Apr 2016 / 0

Ecological footprinting is a regular required exercise in my Ecology and Ecology for Architects courses. I ask my students to use the ecological footprinting tool created by the Center for Sustainable Economy to calculate how many earths their lifestyle would require to be sustainable. I also ask them to profile an older relative (for most students, a parent) Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biomes, Ecological Footprinting, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Food, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Why are architects required to take a course focused on ecology and environmental science?

Posted 01 Feb 2016 / 0

Image of what happens to architecture when civilization disappears courtesy of Michael Zawadski via Wikimedia Commons I always end up hearing the question at some point in the semester: why do architects have to take a course that provides in-depth understanding of ecology and environmental science? Implied undercurrents to this basic question include a slew of other Read More

A Minor Post, Architecture, Department of Mathematics & Science, Ecology, Ecology Education, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pratt Institute, Sustainability, Teaching

Eco 101: Carrying Capacity

Posted 25 Jan 2016 / 0

Fundamentally, carrying capacity is a measure of the maximum density of a particular population How many organisms of a particular species can an area support? What determines this maximum population density? The answer to these questions is captured by the ecological concept of carrying capacity. The carrying capacity tells us how many organisms of a particular species Read More

A Major Post, Carrying Capacity, Eco 101, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects

End: Sabbatical; Resume: Teaching

Posted 18 Jan 2016 / 0

Students work on the Collective Biome Visions activity in one of my Ecology classes Today my first sabbatical, a semester off from teaching, is finally coming to an end. As soon as I was granted a sabbatical I knew that this day would come a lot sooner than I could imagine, and of course it Read More

A Major Post, Higher Education, MSCI-260, Evolution, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Teaching

Is New York City a “sustainable” metropolis?

Posted 14 Jan 2016 / 0

Brooklyn garbage bag photo courtesy of Tom W. Sulcer via Wikimedia Commons New York City has endured a pretty bad environmental reputation for decades. If you find yourself on a Manhattan street on the right warm summer night, it is hard not to feel that the place is an environmental nightmare. Those piles of garbage Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Climate Change, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pollution, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Urban Design, Web