Ecological Design at Bioneers – May 13-15, 2022

There are sophisticated ways of designing technologies, vehicles, cities and other aspects of the human enterprise so that they intelligently interact with living systems rather than seeking to “dominate” the natural world.

The upcoming Bioneers Conference will highlight several of these approaches – from “Living Buildings” to “Sponge Cities” and more.


Friday, May 13

Keynote | 9:50 am

Jason McLennan – From Reconciliation to Regeneration

About this keynote

Sixteen years ago Jason F. McLennan launched the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most progressive and advanced green building program, to show that our buildings could serve as one of the key paths toward a regenerative future. Since then, numerous Living Buildings that demonstrate a better, more inspiring way of living and working have been built around the world. Although these projects create ripples of change and are living proof of regeneration in action, and in spite of these and other great models, we continue to build and live in ways that degrade the planet. Why? Jason McLennan explores why physical demonstrations of better solutions are not enough to create change when society has not grappled with its deeper systemic trauma. If we are to participate fully in regenerating the conditions for life on the planet, a deeper process of reconciliation is necessary. To heal the planet, Jason argues, we must fundamentally heal our culture.

Panel | 4:30 pm

Designing and Building a Regenerative, Restorative, and Just World, One Building at a Time

Featuring:

  • Deanna Van Buren, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
  • Jason McLennan, Partner & CEO of McLennan Design
  • Dawn Danby (host), Co-Founder of Spherical
About this panel

Our laughably inefficient buildings account for some 40% of all U. S. primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, our built environment also very often sickens, oppresses and alienates the humans who inhabit it. In this historic session, Bioneers is thrilled to be able to bring together for the first time two of the most visionary architects of our time, who, coming on very different career paths, are both at the forefront of radically expanding our sense of what a truly healthy, nature-honoring and socially equitable built environment could look like. Deanna Van Buren the co-founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, is a leading figure in the movement to build “restorative” infrastructure that addresses in its very design the root causes of mass incarceration—poverty, racism, unequal access to resources, and the criminal justice system itself. Jason McLennan, arguably the most influential “green” architect of our era, has set a high bar, showing us what truly “living,” genuinely regenerative buildings can be. Can these two very different but equally imperative re-visionings of how we rethink the built environment be reconciled/synthesized? This conversation will be moderated/hosted by Dawn Danby, co-founder of Spherical.


Saturday, May 14

Keynote | 9:50 am

Kongjian Yu – “Sponge Cities”: Visionary, Nature-Based Urban Design from China

About this keynote

What if cities were designed so that they could absorb excess rainfall, neutralize floods, and turn their streets green and beautiful in the process? Kongjian Yu is doing just that, as he will report from China. This award-winning leader in ecological urbanism and landscape architecture, and founder of the planning and design firm, Turenscape in Beijing, has become world-renowned for his “sponge cities” and other revolutionary nature-based solutions. These approaches are being implemented in well over 200 cities in China and beyond. Yu’s extraordinary city-wide systems of stormwater-retaining ponds, wetlands, and parks draw from both ancient Chinese hydrological wisdom and cutting-edge design to offer the whole world a model of inspired climate adaptation in an era of rising seas and extreme rainfall events.

Kongjian Yu will be presenting his keynote address virtually to the Bioneers Conference.

Panel | 4:30 pm

Basins of Beaver Relations (Co-sponsored with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center)

Featuring:

  • Kate Lundquist, Co-Director of OAEC’s WATER Institute
  • Brock Dolman, Co-Director of OAEC’s WATER Institute
About this panel

A vital part of aquatic ecosystems across the continent, the North American beaver came close to extinction in California by the early 1900s, but thanks to the good work of wide range of advocates, this ecosystem engineer is being encouraged to make a comeback. Urban and rural communities are learning to partner with beavers to revive watershed health, recover endangered species and increase resiliency to drought, wildfire and floods. In this session, two visionary watershed and beaver restoration specialists from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s WATER Institute, Kate Lundquist and Brock Dolman, will share enlightening and entertaining stories about this “keystone” species’ remarkable biology, its benefits to other watershed residents and how it is transitioning from most reviled rodent to climate change hero.

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