Building with Change: EDRA 45

[glacial lagoon in the Andean Cordillera, high above the Atacama Desert; climatic and economic changes in the Atacama are leading to novel ecologies, mining operations, and tourism economies]

[glacial lagoon in the Andean Cordillera, high above the Atacama Desert in Chile; climatic and economic changes in the Atacama are leading to novel ecologies, mining operations, and tourism economies in this rapidly changing landscape]

I wanted to take a quick moment to point readers in the direction of the newly released call for proposals for the 45th Environmental Design and Research Association (EDRA) Conference.  It will be in New Orleans and is organized around the theme Building with Change.  It is being chaired by the excellent Kristie Dykema and Jeff Carney of Louisiana State University [to be convinced of what a good thing this is, check this set of essays by Kristi over on Places, and peruse the work produced at the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio which Jeff currently directs].  From the conference website:

Over the past century we have manipulated and controlled natural systems to an unprecedented extent, maximizing urban stability. At what cost has stability been achieved? As the climate changes, energy becomes scarce, weather grows harder to predict, and sea levels rise, we are experiencing the limitations of this paradigm of control. How can environmental design research prepare us to evolve our inhabited landscape and build with change?
EDRA45: Building with Change will focus on new research methods and design strategies for
the human habitation of our dynamic environment. Without sacrificing the principles of safety, comfort, justice, cognition, and choice, how can design lead to innovative ways of accepting, absorbing, and reacting to change? Does change present us with design opportunities? Can building with change, in fact, provide opportunity for even greater environmental, social, and economic health and stability? Conference themes will engage diverse approaches to building with change, from resisting dynamic environmental forces to accepting and accommodating them. 

I will be chairing a session track entitled Shifting Latitudes.  Based on the proposition that latitude has historically been understood as a stable spatial relation, but in times of rapid change it is actually a dynamic temporal relation, the track calls for work that considers latitude as a critical benchmark that registers change and predicts future conditions to explore approaches to rapidly shifting cultural values, social actors, and ecological vectors. In particular, “what are the critical temporal and spatial scales in environmentally forced migrations, and how are designers engaging the mechanisms at work? How are shifting latitudes affecting neighborhoods, cities, watersheds, and regions in terms of policy, design, and planning research? What new alliances, both disciplinary and geographic, are being formed in response and what new approaches must be developed?”

Consider it.  And hope to see you in New Orleans.

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