Peter Seidel Invisible Walls: Why We Ignore the Damage We Inflict on the Planet and Ourselves

Before obtaining a MS in Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology as a student of architect Mies van der Rohe and planner Ludwig Hilberseimer, Seidel worked as a farmhand, factory worker, Alaska salmon fisherman, and carpenter. In 1957, while working in Chicago on the most environmentally damaging office and institutional buildings, he read a book entitled “The Challenge of Man’s Future,” by Harrison Brown. It described the dangers of excessive population growth, food and mineral shortages, and over consumption that threatened our future.

It was clear his work bore a heavy impact on these problems, he changed direction and became a committed environmental architect planner. During this period, and after, he spent time teaching at five tuitions of higher learning including one in China and one in India. His work at the University of Michigan on directing urban expansion into a system of pedestrian oriented new towns led to his being hired as the master planner for an environmentally sound socially integrated community of 80,000 to be built outside of Cincinnati. When this failed to materialize, he took to developing, designing, and building eco-friendly, urban infill condominiums in Cincinnati. Peter Seidel, environmentalist

When Ronald Reagan became president, and the Arab oil boycott was call off, public interest in conservation evaporated. It was clear that his efforts, and those of others, were directed toward a dead end. A question kept haunting him: “When we see that our future is threatened and we know what we can do about it, why don’t we act?” Thinking about this led to another abrupt change in his career. He turned to writing. After failing to obtain production funding for a television documentary, “Invisible Walls” addressed to this problem, in 1998 “Invisible walls” came out as a book . Since then Seidel has devoted his time producing books and articles, related to examining this problem of inaction.


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