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Deep Green Thinking
I couldn’t be more proud. The Design Futures Council elected me, along with 18 others, to Senior Fellowship. My citation reads, "For significant contributions toward the understanding of changing trends, new research, and applied knowledge leading to innovative design models that improve the built environment and the human condition." Wow. I hope I’ve done at least some of that.
The award was presented to me at the Design Futures Council Seventh Annual Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design. What a remarkable gathering of industry leaders and innovators it was—a think tank type session tasked to discuss, debate, and analyze current practice and the trends that will influence how we design and build living spaces into the future.
It’s difficult to condense two days of intense conversation into bullet points, but I can underscore some highlights with the intention of provoking conversation.
Joseph Pine, co-author of the recently published, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, argues that sustainability is best advanced when it is perceived to be authentic. The converse, of course, is fake—Venice Italy, a city which should have long ago sunk into the sea, versus the Venetian in Las Vegas. Which is which? Authenticity relies, says Pine, on individual perceptions, further muddying its relationship to sustainability.
Amory Lovins spoke, as always, with inspiration grounded in an unlikely mixture of common sense and beyond-the-box concepts, reminding us once again of all that is possible. On the subject of the economics of energy, his hypothesis is summarized in one ridiculously simple idea: saving energy is less expensive than buying it. Want more? Amory directed us to his Stanford Energy Lecture Series.
Gary Lawrence, Global Leader for Sustainable Urban Development of Arup in Seattle, provocatively spoke of sustainability as securing a happier future for people. This, he said, is what design should be about—a sharp contrast to the we-are-doomed dialogues of so many. He promotes the "sustainable benefits of a curious approach" by defining, in order: What we know; what we know we don’t know; what we don’t know we don’t know. Worth thinking about.
Many other speakers inspired and challenged those gathered at the DFC Summit, including Dr. Richard Farson, who introduced his new book, The Power of Design: A Force for Transforming Everything, which poses a compelling challenge to all designers.
Much to read. Much to learn.