UPCOMING EVENTS: Designing for Hope Lectures

We are entering a time when many tipping points will be passed, resulting in unexpected consequences. Yet, a growing group sees opportunity and the potential of thriving cities and environments. Based on the book, Designing for Hope: Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability, Dominique and Joel will convey a beneficial way of re-imagining design and development. Designing for Hope contends that we can actively create a positive and abundant future through a living systems-based worldview. The presentation will pose questions such as: ‘How can projects focus on creating a positive eco-footprint and contribute to community?’, ‘How does design focus hope and create a positive legacy?’, and ‘If nature is the master designer, what are the lessons we can gain from looking at her patterns and processes?’ Dominique and Joel’s work are recognized by leaders in the movements of Regenerative Development, Sustainable Cities, Biophilic Design, Biomimicry, Permaculture, and Positive Development.

Designing for Hope Lecture in Denver

Lecture featuring Dr. Dominique Hes
Wednesday, March 25th
5:30pm-7:30pmThe Alliance Center
1536 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202

While the lecture is free, registration is required. Space is limited.
>>Register Here<<

Patterns for a Hopeful Future Lecture in Fort Collins

Lecture featuring Dr. Dominique Hes and Joel Glanzberg
Thursday, March 26th
6:00-8:00pm
New Belgium Brewing Company, Tasting Room500 Linden St., Fort Collins, CO 80524

While the lecture is free, registration is required. Space is limited.
>>Register Here<<

Dr. Dominique Hesis a professor of Architecture at Melbourne University. She has long been asking why, after decades of people working on being ‘sustainable’, we are increasingly degrading the environment? With degrees in Botany, Engineering and Architecture, she brings a multidisciplinary perspective. Dominique uses story, examples and case studies to demonstrate that new solutions are already being put into practice.
Joel Glanzberg (Fort Collins event only) is a founding partner of Regenesis Collaborative, which integrates permaculture and Living Systems technologies. His work with the Tracking Project provides another approach to understanding and working with patterns and the natural world, as well as techniques for accessing the minds required. Integrating these three ways of looking, thinking, and working has been the focus of Joel’s work over the last 10 years. The result is the unique approach he calls Pattern Mind.
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Biophilia and Placemaking: Influencing Design Decisions

Sustainable Building Associate
What role does nature and our inherent need for natural connections or biophilia play in placemaking?  To understand the relationship between placemaking and sense of place and biophilia, we must first understand biophilia, biophilic design, and placemaking.
According to E. O. Wilson (1984), biophilia is defined as “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life; the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.  Wilson and Kellert (1993) take this definition one step further, and define it as “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with natural systems and processes, especially life and life-like features of the non-human environment”.   So if biophilia is the connections we seek with the rest of life, it would make sense that biophilic design would be the “deliberate attempt to translate an understanding of the inherent human affinity to affiliate with natural systems and processes (known as biophilia) into the design of the built environment” (Kellert, 2008).
Placemaking or sense of place as it is sometimes called is thought to be “an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region” (What is Placemaking, 2015) that is “a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces” that “capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, ultimately creating good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and wellbeing” (Placemaking, 2015).
How might we use biophilic design to promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being?  According to the text Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (Kellert, 2008), there is an element of biophilic design that specifically addresses place and place-based relationships.  This element and the corresponding attributes can be used to connect the built environment to the area in which it is located.  Kellert (2008) defines place-based relationships as “the successful marriage of culture with ecology in a geographical context”.  Through biophilic design you can create place-based relationships through a historical, cultural, geographical, and/or ecological connection to place.  You can also use the landscape and materials of the location to create place through the use of indigenous materials, use of the landscape in defining the building form, and creating wildlife corridors and promoting biodiversity.
While the Biophilic Design text gives wonderful descriptions of these elements and attributes of biophilic design, it was still somewhat theoretical and conceptual to me as a designer and educator, so I sought out images of that I thought exemplified some of these attributes.
 

Cultural and Historic Connection to Place:

Mesa Verde Visitors Center, Mesa Verde National Park, CO   Design by: Landmark Design and ajc architects

 Indigenous Materials:

Myrick Hixon EcoPark, La Crosse, WI  Design and Photo by: Whole Trees Architecture & Structures
 

Ecological Connection to Place:

Nest Home, Onomichi, Japan  Design by: UID Architects   Photo by: Hiroshi Ueda
References:
Kellert, Stephen R., and Edward O. Wilson. The Biophilia Hypothesis. Washington, D.C.: Island, 1993.
Kellert, Stephen R., Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador. Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008.
Placemaking. (n.d.). In  Wikipedia. Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placemaking
What Is Placemaking? (n.d.). In Project for Public Spaces. Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://www.pps.org/reference/what_is_placemaking/
Wilson, Edward O. Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1984.

The Mason UniverCity District Urban Lab

By: Colin Day, Sustainable Building Associate

The Institute for the Built Environment is very proud to announce that grant funding has been secured from CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability and UniverCity for the establishment of an Urban Laboratory on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. Temporary space has been secured at The Institute for the Built Environment on campus near the corner of Mason and Laurel streets, with the aim to eventually secure permanent space on or near the Mason Street corridor. The UniverCity Urban Lab steering committee is in the process of defining the UniverCity Urban Lab, with the aim of the establishment of a 501c3 non-profit organization to embody the values of community members and stakeholders that it draws upon for the generation of ideas and input.

Mason Street Corridor, Fort Collins

But what exactly is an Urban Lab?  An Urban Lab is an adaptive forum that includes a variety of stakeholder input, which can include community members, professionals, academics, policy-makers, designers, artists and developers.  Interested parties collaborate to brainstorm solutions and interventions for issues and opportunities that the urban community shares.  The platform ideally acts as a think-tank to propose ideas and visions and to propose, test, design and implement collaborative urban planning projects that answer to a variety of community desires and needs. It is, quite simply, a laboratory to test ideas that will be applied at an urban level.

The mission statement of the lab at this juncture is simple: “The Mason UniverCity District is a dynamic area ripe for redevelopment. The district and its multi-modal transportation focus models a robust and eco-friendly mix that supports residents, business, retail and entertainment. It is vibrant and draws people from throughout the community and University to come live, work and play. It is a connector inviting exploration of the eclectic District as well as adjoining neighborhoods and nearby destinations. It is another of Fort Collins’ jewels”.

The aim of The Lab is to guide the Mason Street Corridor toward vibrant and regenerative infill projects. This initiative dovetails with the proposed 2014 opening of the MAX bus mass rapid transit system. The studies and projects will focus on urban design at various scales, urban morphology, neighborhood planning and design, and health and the built environment, all with a particular focus on walkability, bike-ability and an ethos of urban biodiversity and ecology.

MAX Transit Station Rendering, Mason Street Corridor
City of Fort Collins

Of course, other relevant urban design and development topics are likely to arise with the eclectic mixture of the stakeholders, community members, professionals and educators that The Lab is bringing together and drawing from. With the continued support and evolution of The Lab, the development of catalytic projects along the Mason Street corridor will grow a more robust physical, virtual and philosophical connection between the CSU campus, Old Town Fort Collins, and the communities therein. The implementation of our goals will enhance pending development and transportation projects and, with luck, creativity and application, will positively affect the fabric of the Fort Collins community.

To see the work of a small selection of other Urban Labs, please follow the following links:

The Carnegie Mellon Remaking Cities Institute
The Dallas Urban Lab
The California College of the Arts Urban Lab
Arcosanti

TEDx FrontRange: ELEVATE!

Josie Plaut

The theme this year for Tedx FrontRange is “Elevate.” In the spirit of the pioneering west, a group of fun and engaging speakers (and performers!) will share the ways that they are exploring new frontiers, guiding and inspiring others, and driving innovation.  IBE’s Associate Director, Josie Plaut, will share her ideas on how to go beyond notion of sustainably and toward future that is powered through regeneration.  Simply stated, regeneration is about investing in our future by creating and restoring natural, social and economic capital.  We achieve this through expanding health, vitality and equity in our personal and professional lives.

Date: May 31, 2013, 1-5pm
Location: Rialto Theater Center, Loveland, CO

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More on regeneration….

In recent years, the green industry has introduced a myriad of new tools, products, and standards that help to reduce environmental impacts and encourage more sustainable practices – important steps in the right direction.  Unfortunately, current economic models still rely heavily on depleting natural capital.  Further, the burden to process, manufacture, and sell products is often at the expense of human health and wellbeing.  Here, at a pivotal moment in society, we have the opportunity to change course.  If we are to solve the looming environmental and social crises in time, we must move from using less to creating more. Regeneration is the practice of aligning human activities to give new life, strength and vigor to natural, social, and economic systems. It goes beyond green or sustainable thinking, generally focused on reducing harm, toward a model built on renewal and revitalization.

Regeneration means rebuilding depleted ecosystems, like the Mississippi river delta, or simply riding your bicycle.  It can be a vitalizing urban redevelopment project or the renewal of soils and farming practices in your own garden. Regeneration has many faces, but one purpose: finding what’s broken and creating solutions that are additive, positive and contributive. By shifting mindsets from sustainability to regeneration, we can secure a thriving future for many generations to come.  This paradigm shift is not only necessary, but it is inspiring, refreshing and positive.