Student Perspective: Better World by Design Conference 2016

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Allie Kollias, Student, Environmental Design November 14, 2016

My weekend in Providence at the 2016 Better World by Design Conference started with a very diverse collection of lectures and talks with some of the most inspiring people in the field. 

The energy of this event was unlike anything I have experienced.  Crisp and clean east coast air coursed through my brain.  There have only been a few times in my life when I have felt so inspired. The open and progressive minds that surrounded me, it was almost intimidating. I interacted with people from all fields, healthcare non-profits, I quickly learned that social responsibility extends beyond sustainable products and social outreach; a concept I knew, but not the extent of it.  Through a series of talks from a diverse pool of professionals, I was enlightened to find they all believed our world can be made better by accessible design.  We can cater to under-represented groups and use design strategy to create a “bottom line” of accessibility for all citizens.  Through fields like healthcare, science, research, local government, social outreach and public forum we can begin to reshape societies role in the betterment of all people.  I was especially captivated by Robert Arens and his approach to revitalizing Detroit’s urban structure.  He spoke about how as citizens, our individual community roles provide essential innovation potential.  We, as communities are in charge of the future of our society with an ever-changing urban landscape.  Our sustainable efforts, community engagement and charitable involvement are what keeps a healthy community flowing.  I felt this was such an inspiring message and though he used a specific issue in Detroit, this progressive approach and vocal ideas provide a framework for all urbanscapes and communities.  Overall, my experience was truly enlightening. The people I stayed with and the new friends and connections I made enriched my experience and have acted as a catalyst for the next steps in my education and career.



Click here to read the companion blog piece written by Environmental Student Behnia Rahmati

This opportunity was made possible in part by support from the Designmatters Educational Program Grant from the Autodesk Foundation.