Commencement '22: newly minted graduates tell their stories

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Jack Rusk
Concord, California
MEM, School of the Environment
MArch, School of Architecture

How do environmental management and architecture intersect?
I study climate change and buildings—how to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment. I build data models to help architects, engineers, and contractors anticipate what different strategies might actually accomplish in reducing emissions. [They can use my models] to set goals for their projects and support their decisions with numbers, instead of just a best guess.  

Where will you go next?
San Francisco. A firm I’ve been working with [EHDD Architecture] took me in, along with the set of tools I’ve been working on. So I’ll live in-house as their climate strategist.  

Do you think the pandemic is affecting how we look at buildings?
I work in [Professor] Karen Seto’s lab here, and some of her grad students talk a lot about how the rapid urbanization happening around the world is increasing the likelihood of new zoonotic diseases like COVID emerging. So, I think we can’t separate changes in the built environment from the emergence of new diseases.

What have you discovered about New Haven?
In the nine-square grid that makes up downtown New Haven, the urban blocks are so large that you end up with a lot of leftover space in the middle, with a lot of nice twisty alleys. There’s nothing like that in California. And I’m a big fan of West Rock. It’s my favorite rock in New Haven.

Just in New Haven?
On the eastern seaboard!