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Future Cities: Sustainable Solutions, Radical Designs

Friday, May 30, 2008
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

We stand at a crossroads. Cities must change radically to achieve long-term sustainability. Energy, food and water sources, transportation systems and basic infrastructure, must all adapt to emerging pressures from climate change, dwindling resources and growing urban populations.

How will we meet this immense challenge? In a program that is part celebration of human ingenuity and part stark reminder of the problems we face, urban planner Peter Head, architects Blaine Brownell and Mitchell Joachim, environmentalist Majora Carter, and microbiologist Dickson Despommier laid out radical blueprints and innovative solutions as they imagine housing, feeding, transporting and sustaining city dwellers of the not too distant future. The event was moderated by President of the Aspen Institute and noted journalist, Walter Isaacson.


Walter IsaacsonAuthor, CEO of the Aspen Institute

Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been chairman and CEO of CNN and editor of TIME magazine. Isaacson’s most recent book is The Innovators; he authored Steve Jobs and several other best-selling biographies.

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Blaine BrownellArchitect

Blaine Brownell is an architect, sustainable building advisor, and a researcher of innovative materials for design and construction. From self-cleaning paint to transparent ceramics and biological plastics, he has described these and hundreds of other revolutionary products in his two-volume book Transmaterial: A Catalogue of Materials that Redefine our Physical Environment.

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Dickson DespommierMedical Ecologist

Dickson Despommier is a trailblazer, devising solutions to problems in agriculture and public health that likely will be magnified by climate change. A microbiologist, he is a Professor of Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School, where he developed the idea of growing food in urban farm skyscrapers.

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Majora CarterUrban Revitalization Strategist

Majora Carter is a green economic consultant who combines social, economic development, and region wide infrastructure needs into positive feedback systems. She has been a driving force behind some of NYC’s most progressive environmental legislation, as well as cultural acceptance of sustainable practices.

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Peter HeadDirector and Head of Global Planning of Arup

Peter Head is a civil and structural engineer who has become a major proponent and practitioner of sustainable urban design. He applies “biomimetics” — an engineering approach that looks to systems in nature to design efficient structures and systems in the manmade world that produce little if any waste.

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Mitchell JoachimArchitect

Mitchell Joachim is on the faculty at Columbia University and Parsons School of Design. He is a partner in Terrefuge, a New York-based organization for philanthropic architecture and ecological design.

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