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The theme of Future of Design NYC 2020 is Acceleration & Deceleration. Designers and related built environment professionals are often caught between the fast-paced flexibility that a project demands and the slow pace of change of industry practices.  This year’s program will evaluate the effects of acceleration on the built environment and on designing with social responsibility; it will also explore ideas and innovative practices that developed as a result of – or in an attempt to better harness – those shifts. It will approach these issues from perspectives of both engineering and architecture, in order to contextualize designers’ voices in transformative built environment initiatives.

FoDNYC will be held as a series of events on an online platform this year, from September 15 to September 29, allowing audience members to attend from anywhere in the world.

Program

Tuesday, September 15: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM Eastern Time
Event #1: “To Whose Benefit?”
This panel discussion examines who benefits from current design priorities. Historical trends and current practices must be critiqued in order to address the perspectives of both design professionals and stakeholders. Both the ongoing pandemic as well as a renewed spotlight on systemic urban inequities have highlighted shortcomings in the built environment and its industry. Panelists are invited to consider how we can design and collaborate in more inclusive ways. How do architects frame their relationship with stakeholders, and how does that relate to the engineer’s role in the process?

Thursday, September 17: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM Eastern Time
Event #2: “Is ‘Now’ a Long or Short Time?”
What is the useful lifespan of a project, and who defines that?
New York has historically seen existing buildings demolished decades before they need to be. There is a disconnect between how long a building can stand and the perceived usefulness of that structure by its occupants or owners. In the near future, designers must adjust their processes to reconcile this discrepancy and educate clients and owners. We evaluate what relationships need to be established so that buildings can be used (and reused). What design lifespan trends are we seeing? What does that mean for the communities we are building with?

Tuesday, September 22: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM Eastern Time
Event #3: “From Design to Implementation: The Human Scale”
Integrating means and methods into the design process can often translate into innovations on the human scale. The panel will discuss this issue in 3 stages: components, operations, and systems. Barriers include perceived risks and obstacles of conventional project delivery systems. We hold a conversation on how considerations for human interaction in the manufacturing and construction process drives new design in unexpected ways. What has innovating on the human scale taught us, and how can we incorporate those ideas to improve the overall process of creating the built environment?

Thursday, September 24: 12:30 PM-2:30 PM Eastern Time
Event #4 : “The Time Crunch: Innovative Enough, Fast Enough?” + Discussion Workshop
By discussing how diverging time frames challenge implementation, we explore how we can re-evaluate the relationships between designer, client, and stakeholder to adapt to deliver solutions at appropriate time scales. While frequently the issue is too short a period of time, too long a period of time also jeopardizes the efficacy of a design process or deliverable, often by deceptively diminishing the urgency of a solution. Put simply, time pressures often cause designers to compromise. One can discern this in the quality or fulfillment of project goals, including considerations of adaptability and resiliency.

We ask professionals how time pressure (whether challenging in short terms or long terms) has affected their project strategies and methods of communicating solutions. How does acceleration push design and communication processes in new directions?

Tuesday, September 29: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM Eastern Time
Event #5: “Civic Engagement for Designers”
As professionals in the built environment, we have been trained to follow building codes, and we also have a responsibility to society to call out dangerous practices and hazards to the public domain. Designers are looking for new ways to engage and be part of the policymaking discussion. While most projects do not require it, how can we leverage our profession and knowledge to tackle issues that extend beyond day-to-day project tasks? How can an individual effort create positive change?

In this panel session, we examine how practitioners can better work with communities – whether by initiating or integrating practices for social responsibility (by way of resiliency or adaptability) and beyond.

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