Thursday, September 11, 2008

Letters: A Letter to Commissioner Rory Reid

Commissioner Reid:

Thank you for your service on the County Commission. I am not in your district but I am grateful for your efforts to improve the valley as a whole.

After hearing you speak on State of Nevada last night I wanted to share with you some excellent questions I’ve read regarding success as a community in terms of environmental and social sustainability.

These selected questions, bulleted below, come from architect Dan Williams’ focus on community measures in the AIA’s Roundtable on Sustainable Design III: Measures of Sustainability.

  • How much energy is used to provide your water needs?
  • What natural amenities have you created in the acquisition, distribution, cleaning, or disposal of water?

We need to act more aggressively to maintain our water security in the future. The county and the commission addresses this issue, but I would like to see additional effort brought to bear in minimizing the impact of new development. Providing additional water service and treating additional waste should occur when a clear and substantial benefit to the community is present. Density could minimize these impacts. I’d also like to see better integration between county services when cost savings and mutual benefit can be realized.

  • To what extent is the community protected from natural disasters and/or designed to mitigate damage from disasters?
  • What post-disaster planning has been done, and how well does a rebuilding plan take advantage of opportunities for greater sustainability?

We need plans for major disruptions: natural, industrial, economic, as well as for terrorism. On this anniversary of September 11th, we must remember the towers falling; remember the feeling in the pits of our stomachs, and the feeling of what’s next. We have also seen cities like New Orleans emptied by hurricanes and Detroit emptied by a narrow scope of investment. Please consider diversifying our economy and decentralizing our infrastructure in an effort to make the systems we rely on for our daily life more robust and survivable.

Nevadans choose to be self-reliant and independent. Help us maintain this choice in the future.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Paul Cline, AIA

CC:     David Berns

Paul Cline, AIA is an architect and builder in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a member of the Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee and writes on issues of community, sustainability, and innovation in design and construction.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Letters: A Letter to Brian Greenspun, Editor of the Las Vegas Sun

Dear Brian Greenspun,

The word sustainable has gained legs in the last few years. It's no longer on the fringe. Television networks attempt to showcase their sustainable credentials with green content and green logos. And the construction industry is poised to reach a tipping point in building energy efficient, sustainable buildings.

What should we think of when we hear 'sustainability'?

Behaviors that work for generations. Imagine all of us behaving like we do now for several generations and try to understand the results of our actions on our descendants. In a sustainable future, the quality of life for our children and grandchildren improves, and a sustainable practice is one that can be utilized every day, week, and year to get us there.

Many policies crucial to our quality of life are not sustainable. Oil production is peaking as the demand for energy skyrockets. Education is in decline while fewer jobs are being created. Political candidates spend more and more money to get the attention of fewer and fewer voters.

At all levels of government we ignore our duty to the future.

We must consistently make more sustainable decisions and look farther than the next election. For a moment, look at the issues you believe in through the lens of sustainability. Of course, we will bring our politics to sustainability and we can expect to disagree about things, but when we evaluate our own solutions if they cannot be sustained let's keep looking for better answers.

All the best,

Paul Cline, AIA

Paul Cline, AIA is an architect and builder in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a member of the Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee and writes on issues of community, sustainability, and innovation in design and construction.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Letters: A Letter to Mrs. Mary Beth Scow, President of the Clark County School District's Board of Trustees.

Mrs. Scow,
Thank you for your service on the school board. As a graduate of CCSD schools I have a lot of respect and thanks for the board's work.

I wanted to write you a quick email to express something that crosses my mind occasionally.

I am disappointed by the lack of planning and poor use of resources when I find a county school adjacent to a county park. I realize that schools must be a safe place for students but there must be a better solution.

When the district is planning and designing schools please encourage better integration into the neighborhoods and community resources in the school's area. I feel that this type of integration not only reduces the tax burden for infrastructure and buildings but also improves the quality of life and the quality of services.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts you have to share on the subject.

All the best,

Paul Cline, AIA

PS: Please indicate if I may post your response to my blog. If you'd like you can respond at my blog.

Do you write letters to your community leaders?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Babel Spiderman Theme

A kind of internet toy, Lost in Translation uses several net-based language translators to 'Babelize' whatever you give it to translate. I am having too much fun with it. The best so far...

Spiderman, Spiderman. He does whatever a spider can. Is he strong? Listen bub, he's got radioactive blood. Hey there. There goes the Spiderman.
  • gets Babeled into...
Man Spider, Man Spider. He marks that one, a that one spider can do.
He is strong? He is bub of the felt, he has the radioactive alcohol.
Hé here. The man spider disappears.

The man spider disappears.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

LinkedIn Question: Making Decisions

Steve Bannister asked "What are the THREE most important things to remember when making decisions? I am presenting in a few months on the topic of Effective Decision-Making Skills. I have a great deal of research done but I am looking for some opinions and ideas from other people to add to my presentation (done anonymously of course). It would be great if you could jot down your top three answers."

Here's my answer...

My experience in the Air Force prepared me for a lifetime of decision making.
1) When stress is high and time and information is limited it is essential to know your values. You must know how things stack up. This requires self reflection, experience, and consultation with people you admire.
2) In order to make effective decisions it is important to live according to your values. This creates a habit that you can depend on in times of high stress. Your instincts will conform with your values.
3) Finally, you must prepare. Sometimes this means research and sometimes practice. Generally speaking you should put yourself in the imaginary position of making hard decisions before you are making the decisions that count.

Paul Cline, AIA

I'm trying to catch up on this blog.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

YAF 150 at 150: Jack Travis, FAIA

(listen here) The American Institute of Architects honors committed, exceptional members who contribute significantly to the profession and the community by making them a Fellow.

I was interested in interviewing Jack because he grew up in Las Vegas (I'm a native) and because of his serious commitment to mentorship. I was introduced to Jack through Bob Fielden, at my first podcast interview. When I asked Jack to help me with the interview he agreed right away.

In the interview I learn about his upbringing in Las Vegas, how his family made the sacrifices necessary to put Jack through parochial schools, and how racism impacted the structure of Las Vegas in the 60s. Jack talks about a series of important mentors throughout his career, people who continue to be a part of his life, and how he has in turn mentored many. He has even created a foundation for that purpose. Also, he tells me that he has struggled with sketching early on. He explained that designers need to communicate their ideas quickly to clients and sketching is critical.

Take home message: "be bold and humble, seek out the mentors you need and ask for their help."

This is my second podcast and counting. I hope I'm getting better.

You can subscribe to the 150 at 150
podcast at: XML or iTunes.

You can find out more about Jack Travis in these articles from
Jack Travis, FAIA, on Black Identity, Face of the AIA, Jack Travis, 25 Steps to Diversity, and Patrons and Partonage or at

Paul Cline, AIA is an architect and builder in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a member of the Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee and writes on issues of community, sustainability, and innovation in design and construction.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

YAF 150 at 150: Dr. Robert Fielden, FAIA

(listen here) The American Institute of Architects honors committed, exceptional members who contribute significantly to the profession and the community by making them a Fellow.

Bob Fielden was made a fellow because of his leadership in the profession and I interviewed him as a part of project by the Young Architect's Forum; the 150 at 150. Young architect's are interviewing fellows to find out how they got where they are in their careers, who their mentors were, and what was their greatest challenge.

This is my first podcast ever! And you can tell. I'm so nervous in the interview that I'm shaking.

You can subscribe to the 150 at 150
podcast (and find better interviewers than me) at: XML or iTunes . You can also listen to over eight years of Bob Fielden's commentaries on design issues that effect Las Vegas and the southwest at KNPR.
It's good to try new things.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where to go from here.

I am interested in rescuing stories. I take as my standard the great storytelling you'll find at This American Life. I have been listening through TAL's archives and I am developing the radio bug. I want to record people telling the stories of their lives before the stories are lost. Little stories. Real stories. I got jump started by joining the AIA's YAF. We are interviewing architect leaders to help transmit their knowledge to a new generation of emerging architects.

Check it out at the AIA's Leadership Podcast page.

This is very exciting to participate in. Would you like to record an interview?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year's Resolutions?

I'm starting a project to write one letter a week to a public official or newspaper for a year. I wrote this week to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. Unfortunately I messed up the copy and paste from his website to this blog. So I can't share it with you.

Paul Cline, AIA is an architect and builder in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a member of the Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee and writes on issues of community, sustainability, and innovation in design and construction.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

LinkedIn Question: Membership Expectations

Guy Timberlake asked "What Do You Really Expect From Your Membership? As many might know, managing client/customer/constituent expectations is a challenge at best, which can be a decisive factor in success or failure for all involved. When you are considering participation in an organization (association, professional group, etc.) how do you match-up your company mission with the mission of the membership organization in order to determine potential value?"

Here's my answer...

As a member of an organization I expect a kind of camaraderie. In very large organizations this may mean regional, local, and sub-interest groups. I need to feel I'm part of something. Primarily through personal relationships with interesting people. (Some of these may be business leads, consultant contacts, or good friends.)
Before I join an organization I look for an alignment of goals, if the organization will help me reach my goals, and if my participation in areas that I'm interested will contribute to the organization's goals.
Generally, I want to join an organization that has a good reputation and I want to feel that its possible for me to contribute to the organization's reputation once I'm a member.

Paul Cline, AIA

I have recently committed to the AIA's YAF advisory committee.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder by David Quammen and heard him on Fresh Air talking about his new book Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind. (Listen here.) I am enjoyed Boilerplate Rhino so much. The book is a collection of essays. The essays come from Quammen's work at Outside magazine and works as a vicarious traveler journal of the field naturalist sort.

Find David Quammen at these other links:
Fresh Air: Tuesday - September 23, 2003
National Geographic Adventure: On Assignment--Grand Canyon
National Geographic Magazine @

David Quammen blends science and travel. He reminds me of Oliver Sacks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Well, I've spent the last 14 months building the Pearl and we've finally finished.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Richard Campanella has come up with an agreeable system to sort out reconstruction on New Orleans. Its almost too simple. Here a summary...

Step 1. Determine who wants to return
Step 2. Determine the structural safety of buildings
Step 3. Determine historical/architectural significance of buildings
Step 4. Determine the environmental safety of neighborhoods
Step 5. Combine the above geographically and work in areas that can be made safe and valuable to people who want to return to them.

This summary of his proposed framework neglects the overarching reality of the future safety of levees and if America wants to keep New Orleans.

We're fighting two wars at a cost of $200 billion plus (so far) to prevent the unthinkable; a terrorist destruction of a major American city. Why can't we focus on resurrecting New Orleans?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"The engineering and the coordination of putting those two things together -- the tower and the mountain -- make a pyramid of Egypt look like a Lego toy! A Lego toy!" -Steve Wynn
Can we please make a full scale Lego Pyramid now? Thank you.