Wednesday, February 6

Summit Day One

The Sustainability Summit is packed full of information, way too much for one day.

Nate Young started the day off, and introduced other speakers throughout the day. Of interest was his talk of the three portfolios student's of the future will need. One of talent [traditional portfolio], one of character [to relate to people and be human] and one of process [thinking, particularly about the topic at hand, sustainability].

Alex Steffen [of World Changing] spoke about the need for a new view of prosperity. The current one of an endless consumption of resources as desirable just isn't working out. Now we are faced with rising developing nations who grew up on Baywatch, and see that as a standard to strive for. We're in no position to preach, and they're in no mood to listen. He did speak positively, leaving us with the advice that we need to tell stories, have compelling examples, be playful, be reminded of who we want to be, and most of all, we need to speak to people's hearts. We can't build what we can't imagine.

Gary Lawrence [of ARUP] talked about Dongtan Eco-City, giving many interesting facts. Of interest and inspiration was his statement that a sustainable life choice is dependent upon nostalgia, fear and aspiration. These concerns have to be considered when taking on a project such as Dongtan. We can achieve sustainability gracefully or through a systems collapse [an idea noted by other speakers throughout the day as well].

There was a funny future scenario skit, of the 231st Tournament of Roses, with old car parts as petals, and envisioned a future where football teams were renamed because wildcats are a distant memory and some catastrophic imagined event that forced UCLA and USC to combine and form the Brujans.

Henrik Fisker talked about the Designer's Challenge. I was doing some drawings for a presentation during the keynote, so I didn't catch all the details of this lecture. Fisker mainly talked about seeing the need to design a super efficient muscle car, and changing his original business idea to fit this. Biggest take away, Designers need to create the desire for these more efficient vehicles and alternate lifestyles that sustainable mobility requires. It shouldn't just be legislation doing so, and this is a great business opportunity. 

Lloyd Walker talked about Mobility VIP [vision integration project] as an introduction to the break-out session that followed. It's part of system he and others at Art Center are trying develop along with the Sustainability Summit to accelerate the dialogue of future mobility. He spoke of Futurama [referencing Alex Steffen's old vision of prosperity], and the need for disruptive change as an emerging opportunity.

The break out sessions that followed were interesting. Attendees formed smaller groups which were dealt a set of cards that defined a future they needed to design for [in only 15 minutes!]. It was difficult to say the least. The challenges on the cards were vast [and sometimes unrelated]. That is part of the lesson of the exercise though, we cannot always solve every problem with the tools we have. We have to be selective, prioritize and focus our attention to what we can do, with the time that we have. It is also about the creative possibilities of working inside parameters, they confine us as well as guide us.

Post-Lunch, Martin Tillman talked about visualizing future cities, speaking to the importance of services that encourage and embrace positive social actions. This is best illustrated by a number of websites he worked on, a few are Journey On, Walk Score, and Walk 2 Go. He also emphasized the need to visualize these alternatives to people and developers so that they can see the possibilities and alternatives out there.

Gordon Feller moderated a panel with Scott Bernstein, William Browning and Martin Wachs. At this point I was very caught up in visualizing from the break-out sessions, and cannot adequately summarize the conversation that went on.

There were then Five-Minute Pitch Sessions of sustainable mobility ideas from the feasible to strategic. A lot of bicycle sharing going on here. Raul-David V. Poblano talked about Robo-Scooter [click on mobility, then scooter]. Lindsay Smith talked about Rubber Sidewalks. Nathan Mills talked about Johnson Control projects at Art Center. Peter Treadway gave us a wheeled foot update [along with some fantastic footage of various prototypes]. Finally, Andrea White talked about Bikestation.

Hannah Jones, of Nike Corporate Responsibility talked about Sustainability driving the new economy. She likened the challenge of sustainability to JFKs 1961 address and declaration that the US should put a man on the moon before the decade was out [and we did]. Hannah talked of the need for collaboration, sharing and open source in the design field, and cited Nike's precedence in just that.

There were closing remarks by David Muyres and Andy Ogden.


Anonymous said...

peter treadway's TREADWAY has a website:

Nathan said...

Awesome, thanks for letting me know!