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While a speaker session provides deep insight to the projects and patterns of a particular designer, panels allow multiple points of view to present themselves. A Better World by Design challenges attendees to take in various perspectives and synthesize them into new ideas. Panels comprise around three panelists, a topic, and a moderator. Each panelists briefly presents his or her ideas, and a discussion between the audience and the panel ensues.

Previous attendees may also be interested in the community updates.

Rebuilding Sustainable Economies in the Wake of the Global Economic Crisis
Arts + Design Organizations for Social Change
City Permaculture
Design and Business
Disaster-Resistant Housing
Ethics in Design
Future Urban Transport
Green Building Certifications
Healthcare Systems
Politics in Design
Roles of Biotechnology in Development
Social Entrepreneurship
Urban Arts and Activism

Rebuilding Sustainable Economies in the Wake of the Global Economic Crisis

Saturday from 3:45pm to 5:15pm – Salomon 101 – Brown

This year at A Better World by Design, we wish to create a conversation around what the major sectors of the US and global economy can and must do to generate sustainable growth well into the future. This conversation will highlight the work of sector-changing individuals that are reshaping the way we live. By bringing together experts from the fields of consumer goods, transportation, building, and energy we hope to address the following: What are the steps major sectors of the global economy must take, and how do they complement one another as we attempt to move the world to an economic system that builds a better tomorrow, and preserves life on earth for generations to come? How do economies build in a sustainable manner both economically and socially? What particular opportunities does a global economic crisis provide to rebuild stronger and more environmentally friendly economic systems?

Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh
Peter Light, Bloom Energy
Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030 Challenge
Aliza Peleg, Better Place
Moderated by Saul Kaplan, Business Innovation Factory (BIF)

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Arts + Design Organizations for Social Change

Friday from 11:30am to 1pm – Metcalf Refectory B – RISD

Highlighting three organizations from Providence, (New Urban Arts, Riverzedge, and the Steel Yard), this panel will generate discussion around how small arts and design organizations benefit the communities in which they work and how those communities benefit them. We will focus on the success and failures of these organizations in providing some of the vitality to make Providence a more culturally and artistically engaged environment.

Rebekah Greenwald, Riverzedge
Howie Sneider, The Steel Yard
Jason Yoon, New Urban Arts
Moderated by Sam Seidel, Husslington Post

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City Permaculture

Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm – Salomon 003 – Brown

Permaculture, also referred to as environmental systems design, is the process of designing overlapping systems to let nature achieve the most efficient and positive result possible. The urban environment is often void of natural environments, yet we treasure green-space in the city. The regeneration of urban environments to create complexly interacting human and environmental systems helps cities become more vibrant and livable. Using Providence as a model for small cities, what unique actions are being taken by planners, builders, gardeners, and biologists to achieve adaptive reuse of urban spaces with the aim of creating greener more livable cities?

Thom Deller, Providence Office of Planning and Development
Kathryn DeMaster, Brown Environmental Studies
Vanessa Harden, Guerrilla Gardener
Andrew Keating, Stack Build

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Design and Business

Sunday from 10:45am to 12:15pm – Salomon 001 – Brown

Can designers offer creative solutions to business problems? Can design thinking and financial savvy overlap to create more competitive business models in the private and not-for-profit sectors? Commercialization in design can be a competitive edge but does it come at the cost of innovation and problem solving? The sets of problem solving tools found in business and design are remarkably similar. How can they overlap to create the most effective and long-lasting solutions for design and business?

Neil Brown, Barnum Design
Brian Jepson, O’Reilly Media
Soren Ryherd, Working Planet
Dr. Tandhoni Rao, New England Clean Energy Council
Moderated by Justin Kang, Unreasonable Institute

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Disaster-Resistant Housing

Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm – Salomon 101 – Brown

The Disaster-Resistant Housing panel will use the recent earthquake in the Port au Prince region of Haiti as a case study to examine the specific issues that arise in designing housing that can withstand natural disasters in a cost-effective and pragmatic way. What specific problems arise when you are rebuilding in the wake of a natural disaster, and how are those overcome? Whose role is it to rebuild in a safe and sustainable fashion? With limited resources, can effective earthquake- and disaster-resistant buildings be constructed in a timely manner?

Jim Ansara, Shawmut Construction
Darcey Donovan, Paksbab
Peter Haas, Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group
Mike Mahon, Adaptive Building Solutions
Moderated by Ann F. Clark, Nicholas & Clark

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Ethics in Design

Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm – Salomon 001 – Brown

Too often some of the fundamental background questions are neglected by designers. Is what I am designing appropriate? Overbearing? Inadequate? By asking who the final user will be, designers can achieve more useful and lasting goods and services. What does it mean to design universally, ethically, or with social intent? How can a dynamic interaction between user and designer be used to create the best solutions for specific problems?

Valerie Fletcher, Human Centered Design
Maria Giudice, Hot Studio
Jen Van Der Meer, Designers Accord
Moderated by Seth Goldenberg, IP.21

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Future Urban Transport

Friday from 11:30am to 1pm – RISD Auditorium – RISD

The Future Urban Transport panel will center on the ways in which modes of transportation around the world must shift in order to avoid further degradation of our planet. Should innovation focus on redesigning energy-consuming vehicles like cars, or on encouraging people to reduce energy consumption through use of bicycles or public transportation?

Marc Alt, Green Parking Council
Ryan Chin, MIT Smart Cities
Al Dahlberg, Project Get Ready
Sonia Hamel, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Amy Pettine, RIPTA
Moderated by Anne Tate, RISD Architecture

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Green Building Certifications

Sunday from 10:45am to 12:15pm – Salomon 003 – Brown

What does it mean for a building to be certified under LEED or Passivhaus standards? By highlighting energy as a principle concern for new construction and existing structures, this panel will examine an existing building while addressing issues such as energy, materials, and design. The Green Building Certifications panel will also address the effectiveness of certification. Does a certification system promote the right values in sustainable building, create more interest in low energy use structures, or merely act as a marketing tool?

J.B. Clancy, Albert, Righter & Tittmann
Meredith Elbaum, Sasaki Associates
Kurt Teichert, Brown Environmental Studies
Moderated by John Tabor Jacobson, JTJ Investments

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Healthcare Systems

Saturday from 11:45am to 1:15pm – Salomon 202 – Brown

This panel will address the ways in which designers can address changing roles of information access and technology in the sector of healthcare. Can we effectively educate and promote better health through the internet, SMS technology, and user interfaces? How do you design preventive healthcare through technology that remains human-centered and easy to interact with?

Jennifer Maer, IDEO
Paul Meyer, Voxiva
Kendra Shimmell, Adaptive Path
Scott Stropkay, ESSENTIAL
Moderated by Lawrence Swiader, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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Politics in Design

Sunday from 10:45am to 12:15pm – Salomon 203 – Brown

The Politics in Design panel will explore the intersection between design and intention. What specific problems arise when you are building or designing in either an historically or presently politically charged area? It will examine the ways in which designers work in politically charged landscapes, address the political tensions of building, and collaborate with people in the political sector to create effective design that sends a strong message or addresses a politically charged situation.

Clive Dilnot, Parsons Design Studies
Dr. M. A. Greenstein, The George Greenstein Institute
Vaughn Tan, Harvard Business School
Moderated by Lawrence Vale, MIT Urban Studies and Planning

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Roles of Biotechnology in Development

Friday from 11:30am to 1pm – Metcalf Refectory C – RISD

This panel will discuss the aspects of biotechnology in the “molecular economy” that can prove useful (or detrimental) in international development using a historical overview. The panel will discuss the medical and agricultural innovations that have impacted the developing world and those that have not due to political and economic barriers to dissemination. Further discussion will include the interplay of western academia, big pharma, and big agribusiness with local governments and innovators, and the potential of social entrepreneurs to use biotechnology to alleviate poverty in the developing world.

Arthur Boni, Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University
Patrick Nef, Medicines for Malaria Venture
Moderated by Yali Friedman, Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

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Social Entrepreneurship

Friday from 11:30am to 1pm – Metcalf Refectory A – RISD

What does it mean to start a socially conscious venture? How can a business manage its ethical ideals and social mission in a way that is not only economically feasible but beneficial to the community they serve and to the business itself? Several entrepreneurial organizations will discuss the ways in which they create strong solutions to financial and social problems.

Geoffrey Kirkman, The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown
Andy Posner, Capital Good Fund RI
Allan Tear, Betaspring and Social Venture Partners RI
Moderated by Andy Cutler, Cutler & Company

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Urban Arts and Activism

Sunday from 10:45am to 12:15pm – Salomon 202 – Brown

The panel on Urban Arts and Activism focus on issues surrounding the unique challenges that artists and designers face working in urban environments. Because of increased funding cuts for art education in schools, many young people grow up without an effective outlet for their creativity. In such an environment, how can artists who focus on issues pertinent to urban communities provide a much needed service that has the potential to help rebuild often frayed neighborhoods?

Ian Russell, JNBC Center for Public Humanities
Noah Scalin, Another Rebellion Graphics
Hugo Van Vuuren, GSD and Berkman Center
Moderated by Bert Crenca, AS220

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Community Updates

Saturday from 2:30pm to 3:30pm – Salomon 101 – Brown

A Better World by Design isn’t just a conference – it’s a community. As such, presenters from previous conferences are often invited to come back and provides updates on the work they previously presented.

Paul Rich, Deepwater Wind
Nathan Shedroff, California College of the Arts Design Strategy program

Aspen Design Summit

The 2009 Aspen Design Summit, hosted by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, was an experiment in finding feasible, scalable solutions to significant social problems. 64 designers, educators, researchers activists, foundation officers and businesspeople gathered to work on: improving educational materials for children in the developing world (UNICEF as partner); distributing low-cost women’s sanitary products in East Africa (Sustainable Health Enterprises as partner); creating a national campaign to encourage preventive health for Americans over 50 (Centers for Disease Control and AARP as partners); establishing a program for improving wellness in rural communities (Mayo Clinic as partner); devising a competition to increase awareness of healthy food (no lead partner); and developing a model for using design to accelerate economic development in rural America (Auburn University and University of Alabama as partners).
A year later, some projects have traction and funding; others are still evolving; and others are dead in the water. Together, Charlie Cannon (RISD), William Drenttel (Winterhouse Institute) and Robert Fabricant (frog design) will discuss the challenges of creating social innovation programs of scale and impact.

Charlie Cannon, RISD Industrial Design
Bill Drenttel, Winterhouse Institute
Robert Fabricant, Frog Design

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