Sustainable Futures


Fall 2012

Kate Orff, instructor

World-changing: That’s what we all want to be doing and that is why we study sustainability, architecture, urban design, management and policy. Inaction: we tend towards it, bogged down by contrasting perceptions, overwhelmed by biased opinions and made apathetic by the scope of the challenge at the heart of imagining post-oil futures and scenarios. Curiosity: what is the role of design thinking? Design: We are all designers. Our forum brought together the realms of science, policy and design to address complex questions of environment and development with fresh thinking and a creative approach grounded in research, experimentation and pilot projects. Built environment: we discussed the concept of sustainability on global, regional and local scales, focusing on the role of cities and on targeted ideas that work, imagining scenarios of a post-petrochemical era future.

This seminar intended to marshal sophisticated thinking in design and policy towards developing a toolkit of strategies and scenarios for change. Through a focus on both speculative projects and tried case studies, the seminar highlighted the reciprocity between thinking and making, researching and doing, desk work and fieldwork – the idea and the thing.