Theme: Ecological Design and Technology

Thursday, November 11th

Architect Deanna Van Buren will illustrate her lifelong commitment to ending mass incarceration by building infrastructure that addresses its root causes. She will share how her studio works to counter the traditional adversarial and punitive architecture that characterizes our legal system by creating spaces and buildings that enable Restorative Justice, community building, and housing for people coming out of incarceration. She is co-founder, Executive Director and Design Director of the Oakland-based architecture and real estate development non-profit Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS).

November 11th | 10:53 am to 11:10 am



Deanna Van Buren
Executive Director
Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

To achieve the profound socio-economic, environmental and political changes we so desperately need, many of our societal systems will require intensive re-visioning. Key professions such as medicine, architecture/design, and the law (among many others) will need to embrace far more socially engaged worldviews and on-the-ground practices. In this dynamic dialogue, two leading figures who have been cutting-edge, exemplary models of how passion for social justice can inform professional life will share their thoughts on what it will take to radically transform professional paradigms. With: Rupa Marya, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, one of the nation’s leading figures working at the intersection of medicine and social justice, and co-author of the brand new: Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice; and Deanna Van Buren, M.Arch, groundbreaking activist architect, a major thought leader in advocating a complete rethinking of the criminal justice and incarceration system, and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces. Hosted by: Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, founder of Our Bodhi Project.

November 11th | 12:45 pm to 2:00 pm



Sonali Sangeeta Balajee
Our Bodhi Project
Rupa Marya
Faculty Director
Do No Harm Coalition
Deanna Van Buren
Executive Director
Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

The conditions that make life possible are rapidly changing. Reckoning with this reality on the cusp of another dry season that may very well ravage his community, 30-year old filmmaker Emmett Brennan embarks on a remarkable journey to find stories of hope and healing. Emmett sets out to walk 200 miles next to the iconic but aging Los Angeles aqueduct, where he encounters ecological iconoclasts, Indigenous voices, and permaculture designers who are challenging the status quo on how we use Earth’s most precious resource. The film delves into a profound and far reaching look at our relationship with water and offers a vision for how to radically redesign our lives around it.

Reflection: a walk with water takes a refreshing approach to confronting our current environmental and systematic troubles, showing how Los Angeles and other parts of California are bellwethers for change. The film features original music from multiple Grammy winner, Jacob Collier, who is Executive Music Producer of the film. With voices and stories that speak to today’s younger generations, Reflection is both a personal meditation on water as well as a practical road map for positive change.

November 11th | 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm


Friday, November 12th

Life is made up of an elegant web of interdependent relationships and ecosystems. While we may have been taught that “competition” is the way of the wild, in fact most relationships in the natural world are dedicated to cooperation and mutual benefit. How does nature create and sustain these enduring partnerships? What is life’s secret code for collaboration? This session will reveal deep patterns from the natural world that can teach us about co-evolving for mutual benefit and offer us opportunities to apply nature’s “Four Key Criteria for Enduring Partnerships” to our own collaborative ventures. Come ready to workshop nature’s insights in order to improve partnerships in your own life or work, and to cultivate an attitude of mutuality that can help us achieve a healthy, just, regenerative world. With Toby Herzlich, Biomimicry for Social Innovation, and Brandi Mack, BSI Faculty, as dialogue partner.

November 12th | 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm



Toby Herzlich
Founder and Director
Biomimicry for Social Innovation
Brandi Mack
Director of Community Engagement
Designing Justice+Designing Spaces

Saturday, November 13th

For all the ink and pixels spilled over the past year on political infighting about what qualifies as “infrastructure,” one of the most notable omissions has been any real mention of the natural world. The biosphere we all inhabit is, fundamentally, the infrastructure for life itself. As we know all too well, humanity has, for the most part, neglected, destroyed and actively pillaged many of the natural systems that support our continued existence by cooking the climate, unleashing a looming micro-plastic apocalypse, triggering a tragic global decline in all biodiversity benchmarks and more. What will it take to turn our attention towards the rebuilding of our natural infrastructure, for the benefit of all life and human society? How can built infrastructure elegantly and respectfully engage with and support nature? The answers are not easy, and our understanding of these systems is only just scratching the surface of the evolutionary timescales that nature functions on. However, we know enough to get started – and, unsurprisingly, it often begins with letting nature lead. Join experts and leaders as we dive into what a more enlightened, effective, biophilic and biomimetic infrastructure conversation needs to look like.

With: award-winning environmental journalist and author of Eager: The Surprising Secret Lives of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb; Pyrogeographer and Assistant Professor in the Management of Complex Systems Department at UC-Merced, Dr. Crystal Kolden; and Ariel Whitson, Director of Education and Community at TreePeople.  Moderated by Teo Grossman, Bioneers’ Senior Director of Programs & Research.

November 13th | 12:45 pm to 2:00 pm



Ben Goldfarb
Journalist and Author
Ariel Whitson
Director of Education and Community
Crystal Kolden
Assistant Professor of Fire Science
Management of Complex Systems Department at UC-Merced
Teo Grossman
Senior Director of Programs and Research