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Living Future 2010: A Collection of Highlights from the unConference
Amanda Reed, 17 May 10

About a week ago I had the fortune to attend some of the Cascadia Green Building Council’s (CGBC) 2010 Living Future unConference for Deep-Green Professionals in Seattle, WA. This was the annual conference’s fourth year, and it was once again jam-packed with inspiring and intelligent discussions about the future of green building and development.

This year’s theme was “Building Hope: Revaluing Community.” Joel Sisolak, Washington State Director of CGBC, specified what kind of hope the conference was trying to stimulate in his opening remarks. He said it was an active hope, one that calls us to push through the grief and believe that we can do better, and said this was in contrast to the “we believe that if you wish for something it will come true” type of wishful thinking. Understanding problems, finding solutions and committing to action were the name of the game at Living Future. To that end green building professionals spent three-days sharing ideas, presenting Living Building Challenge projects, their lessons learned, and new technologies, and getting fired up from some passionate keynote speeches.

While I was not able to be attend all of the presentations and educational sessions, I did get to a few, and I thought some highlights would be worth sharing with you. Additionally, former Worldchanging Editor Julia Levitt and guest writer/Worldchanging reader Gia Mugford attended the conference and have contributed their impressions. Here is our collection of thoughts from the 2010 Living Future unConference (organized chronologically for ease of review):

Wednesday, May 5
James Howard Kunstler the Opening Keynote Speaker

Thursday, May 6
Bill Reed on Regenerative Design from the morning session "Integrating the Whole System - The Practice of Living Systems or Regenerative Design"

Friday, May 7
Energy Code Overhaul from the morning session "Outcome-Based Energy Codes as a Foundation for Policy and Market Transformation in Building Energy Performance"
Designing Regenerative Food Systems from the afternoon session of the same name
Pecha Kucha the closing party and 20/20 presentation

If you were at this year’s conference and saw or heard something not covered here, please chime in in the comments section below! It’d be great to hear from you about other innovative and inspiring ideas at the conference. (I'm especially curious about what was discussed at these two sessions: Thursday's The Role of the Green Building Movement in Ending Homelessness and Friday's How Established Neighborhoods and Existing Buildings Can Save Our Planet: Imagining a development-related Embodied Energy and GHG Emissions Transfer Program.)

For other reviews of this year’s conference I recommend the following blogs:

If you have Twitter, you can check out the Twitter feed from the conference by searching for the tag: #LF10. There were a lot of great quotes and one-liners shared throughout the conference.

Head’s up: Next year’s Living Future unConference will be on April 27-29, 2011. The theme is: “Our Children’s Cities: Visualizing a Restorative Civilization.”

Image of Omega Center for Sustainable Living courtesy of Flickr photographer milfodd under the Creative Commons License. The Omega Center is a Living Building Challenge project in New York, and was one of the case studies presented in the educational session: Our Next Water Revolution: Reaching toward Regenerative Design at the Community Scale.

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This summer I'll be working as a gardener at the Omega campus with that living building, pictured above. I'm psyched!

Posted by: Jonny on 18 May 10

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