HOPES conference wades through data in search of solutions

The challenge of sifting vast amounts of information to find patterns and make meaningful connections that solve problems is the issue UO students will tackle at the 21st annual Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability conference.

Known as HOPES, the conference will be held on the UO campus April 9-11. The event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Ecological Design Center, the student-run conference is an opportunity for students, visiting scholars, faculty and community members to discuss how the relationship between ecology and design can produce sustainable buildings. 

This year’s theme, Catalyst: 21st Century Systems, will be addressed in panels, keynote speakers, professional showcases and workshops. A student design competition for a “parklet” will also be part of this year’s HOPES conference.

“HOPES this year more than ever is hoping to drive the question of sustainability outside our little world of architecture and design and let everyone know that they can have a role to play,” said Tom Moss, co-director of the conference. “We want everyone to leave this conference optimistic toward a future we can all collaborate on.”

Keynote speakers include: 

  • Michael Pawlyn, author of “Biomimicry in Architecture”. Pawlyn helped to reinvent horticultural architecture for the Eden Project, leading the design of the warm temperate and humid tropics biomes and subsequent phases
  • Carlo Ratti, an architect and engineer who practices in Italy and directs the SENSEable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dorothy Tang, a landscape architecture professor at Hong Kong University also works in the field of biomimicry.

Students also will hold a design competition for a parking-space-size park, known as a “parklet.”

“A parklet is a temporary structure placed in the confines of a parking space that serves as an extension of the sidewalk and provides an additional space for people to gather, often with seating and plantings,” said architecture undergraduate student Meg Verplanck, a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students board. “The challenge is to design a parklet that engages the public and calls attention to the theme of the conference while providing a new space for people to gather and enjoy.”

The chosen site is the parking space directly in front of Townshend's Tea at 41 E. Broadway in Eugene. The parklet will be installed for one week beginning May 1 and will be displayed at UO the week before and after.

The HOPES 21 blog, Facebook page and Twitter page provide additional conference information.

—By A&AA Communications