An estimated 25,000 architects descended on San Antonio, May 3, for  the American Institute of Architects’ 2007 National Convention and Design Exposition. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Growing Beyond Green,” president RK Stewart, FAIA, said at Thursday’s opening general session that the AIA is purchasing clean, green power to offset carbon emissions generated during the three-day event at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. (More details about this transaction will follow on the web.)

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“Steady growth forever is the creed of cancer cells and the economists,” said ecologist and broadcaster David Suzuki at the opening general session. “Nothing within a finite system can grow forever,” he added.  In focusing on the urgent need to cut energy consumption and thereby slow the effects of global warming, Suzuki noted that the word “eco” means “home” in Greek, he explained that ecology is the study of home—planet earth—and economics is thus the management of our home’s resources. “We better put the eco back in economics,” Suzuki said, warning that our consumer-driven society has disregarded the increasing evidence that human activity is altering Earth’s climate.

The AIA has teamed with Google to launch two new features of Google Earth. The “America’s Favorite Architecture” layer presents three-dimensional models of many of the 150 buildings that Americans selected as their favorites in a Harris Interactive poll released earlier this year. The “Blueprint for America” layer explores the community service efforts that the AIA has funded and organized nationwide including projects to combat homelessness, encourage downtown revitalization, and advocate sustainable design.