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Placemaking Network

April 25, 2016 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Price: This meeting is free and open to all
Where: BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston

Placemaking Network

What's Wrong With the Sustainable Design We Have Today?

Plenty, says Michael Mehaffy, a leading authority on the emerging field of "Agile Design" and its potential for disruptive impact on architectural practice and placemaking. Architect magazine says that Mehaffy seeks to "radically change the way people think." Ward Cunningham, the inventor of Wiki and a pioneer of Agile Methodology, says Mehaffy "lucidly describes what's coming in the world of design - and what needs to come."

Taking theory into action, Mehaffy has developed new open-source design technologies based upon Christopher Alexander's "Pattern Language" concept. Mehaffy has collaborated closely in this work with Alexander, and with Ward Cunningham – a pioneer not only of Wiki and Agile, but also of open source software development and Pattern Languages of Programming. During Mehaffy's talk, he will share the practical lessons for urban architecture and development, as well as others learned from Portland, Oregon, his home base, that may help us here in Boston.

The issues discussed could not be more urgent. Evidence is growing that "bolt-on" technological approaches will not be enough to solve the seminal challenge of our time: climate change, along with the related issues of resource depletion, ecological destruction and contamination. Growing numbers of people now recognize that we must fundamentally re-think how technology in general, and design technology specifically, will work to meet those challenges.

But what is the alternative? Where are we headed in the future of design? And how might the histories of science and technology help us think strategically about the choices ahead?

Join us for a thought-provoking and inspiring discussion with Michael Mehaffy, author of Design for a Living Planet, who will be joined by Jennifer Light, MIT professor of science, technology and society, and author of The Nature of Cities. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Committee on Resilient Environments (CORE), the Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the Foundation for Modern Architecture

For those who qualify, 1.5 LUs are available


To learn more about the Placemaking Network, visit