I'm writing a thesis on peak oil and architectural implications/ solutions. I'm looking at ideas of self-sustainability, permaculture, city planning, community and also how architecture itself may change. Perhaps expensive transport will result in dependence on local materials. Also less travel and exposure to international trends could produce a more localised vernacular. What do people think? I'm not even sure where to focus or start, but the topic interests me.
Peak oil and architecture
Hello Liz, I'm glad to hear you're interested in doing research in this area. I have been doing my own independent inquiry into the ramifications of peak oil/ peak energy for about 2 years and hope to pursue similar studies in graduate school starting soon. I would like to start a dialogue with a few like-minded persons (and contrarians as well), so please include me in your archnet contacts list.
As for places to focus or start, here are some references that I recommend.
Heinberg, Richard. The Oil Depletion Protocol. Insightful look into the problems of peak oil/ peak energy and the interconnected nature of the problem, as well as suggested solutions from the micro to macro scale. Lots of useful info and graphs.
Heinberg, Richard. 2004. Powerdown : Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World.
The following 2 books deal with a theory that sees society as a problem-solving mechanism, one which requires energy inputs (of any kind) to increase in size and tackle larger and more complex problems.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Diamond, Jared
Tainter, Joseph. The Collapse of Complex Societies
If you're interested in ecodesign and the "green skyscraper," Ken Yeang practically owns the library shelf on that topic.
The recent Newsweek Special Edition Dec 06 to Feb 07 "Breaking Out: Where the Energy Boom Will Lead Us" offers a lot of good articles about the possibilities for alternative energies, and I found it as a good place to start digging.
I'm still looking for good material on the connection between cities, population density and energy use.
Web communities: www.postcarbon.org www.relocalize.net