Sustainability is a practice operating across a variety of scales and skills. We will explore the ways that decision makers use systems analysis and design thinking to confront the career-defining challenges facing the next generation of leaders. Networks of practice from across North America and around the globe will provide case material and guest lectures.
CONNECTIONS What is sustainability? Links between sustainability and earlier ideas. Who does it, why, and how? Examples of how sustainability is used as by governments and enterprises. What is a system? Illustrations of parts, linkages, feedbacks,
and leverage points. What is design thinking?
Week 2: ACCOUNTING What is an efficient allocation of resources? What are the consequences of mis-allocating resources? Examples of externalities, commons problems, and cognitive bias. Discussion of lifecycle costs, behavioral influence, and aligning incentives.
Week 3: RESILIENCE What is the relationship between mitigation of and adaptation to challenges to sustainability? What makes a system more and less resilient? How are people making cities and companies and landscapes more resilient in the face of challenges such as sea-level rise or energy scarcity or food security?
EMERGENCE Resource efficiency and system integrity seek to balance flows over time. What is emergence? How does design thinking generate productive emergence and what strategies exist for anticipating and responding to emergent threats?
JURISDICTION Who decides when resources have been accounted for, if a system is resilient enough, or whether an emerging trend is a threat or opportunity? At what scale and over what questions will such decisions be made?
PERFORMANCE Even once sustainable outcomes are legitimized into goals and decided on through commitments, how are these outcomes achieved? How would we know? Discussion of competitions and incentives, measurement and management, and new methods of
regulating performance and compliance.
DISRUPTION How are existing roles and professions being disrupted by the demands of sustainability? Discussion of big data, simplifying system complexity, and the adaptation of legacy assets to new purposes.
Week 8: CONNECTIONS Summary of discussions and of emerging questions. Evaluate the claim that sustainability in practice is about using design thinking to understand and manipulate systems.
- Mark Hughes - PennDesign
- Leslie Billhymer - Architecture