February 19, 2014

6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Syracuse University Fisher Center, New York City

The first of three design debates moderated by Henk Ovink, Senior Advisor to Secretary Shaun Donovan of Housing and Urban Development.

“on process”

If the goal of a process is to drive a new level of resilience across a region, then the boundaries in which resilience efforts are typically conceived and implemented need to be restructured. Design is the mode of response put forth by RBD. The standard model for federal design competitions is to define an existing problem and solicit solutions from the best in the field. Yet, as highlighted by Sandy, the challenges of resilience defy political and disciplinary boundaries. The specific problems of the region cannot be determined let alone be solved until they are understood in all of their intermingling dimensions. Thus, RBD rethinks the competition model itself by engaging the best collaborative thinkers in a process of research and design, first discerning the challenges of resilience in their properly interdisciplinary and regional dimensions and then producing equally comprehensive design solutions. Even if this incubates the innovation necessary for a new level of resilience, it risks producing proposals incompatible with existing regulations and funding mechanisms. The RBD process aims to rethink those boundaries as well. This is achieved by interfacing with municipal, state, and federal leaders at every stage—building new political collations in tandem with each design proposal.

How do you drive new standards and design innovation at a regional scale based in public and private partnerships? How do you remain agile as the designer of a new process, recalibrating as it evolves? What does it mean to participate in this process, to make decisions from the results of this process? In the midst of political change, how do you fund and implement good design? How effective are design competitions as the venue of resilience innovation?

Panelists and Respondents to this session include Nancy Kete, Dan Zarrilli, Brian McGrath, Claire Weisz, Scott Davis, Charles Waldheim, Joan Byron, Mary Rowe, Michael Speaks and Julia Czerniak.