The workshop will take place in two parts:
Online theoretical training on ecological transition
June 1st to July 9
80 hours of lessons
taught by 15 internationally renowned experts
Practical part, on an authentic Geneva site
(possibility to participate online)
July 12th to 23rd
2 weeks of teamwork, with the Canton of Geneva
Theoretical Part - Distancing
Introduction: the problem
Innovation and ecological transition in complex systems: the example of energy transition
As a positive and optimistic introduction to the Transition Workshop, this intervention will demonstrate the capacity of the design disciplines both to understand the climatic urgency and to respond to via technical, conceptual and organizational innovation.
Slow things first: The built environment as a key to one=planet prosperity
Our economies are running Bernie Madoff-style pyramid schemes with the planet (we take resources from the future to pay for the present). As a result, humanity’s demand on nature now exceeds what Earth can replenish, eroding our natural capital and compromising future resource regeneration. Like any such scheme, this one, if unattended, is bound to lead to a crash. Such a crash would unravel much of humanity’s progress.
Avoiding pyramid schemes and managing assets requires robust accounting. This has been the focus for Mathis and Global Footprint Network, which he founded. They respond to reverse these trends by exposing the ecological pyramid scheme. Since today’s decisions, particularly around infrastructure, shape our future, their work focuses on changing decision making towards creating a world where all can thrive within the means of our planet (“one-planet prosperity”). The challenge is to help decision-makers recognize that decisions in sync with our planet’s physical reality produce better outcomes for themselves (and the world).
Their comprehensive resource-accounting approach allows countries, cities, and companies to assess how much demand they put on nature against how much Earth’s ecosystems, or those of their own territory, can regenerate. Results show how resource deficits are undermining success and how resource security is becoming a critical, enabling factor for prosperity. Core to the work is also developing empowering psychological approaches and effective narratives designed to shape the common understanding that advancing sustainability is necessary for one’s own success. In other words, decision-makers actually have “skin in the game”. Motivating and actionable case examples of entities gaining in effectiveness by embracing the one-planet reality produce a sense of possibility and generate measurable outcomes.
The urgency of ecological transition
The idea is to provide an overview of global challenges with three main entries: climate change, the collapse of biodiversity, especially arthropods, and a state of resources with some key benchmarks. We will also address the democratic, social and cultural context within which responses to the challenges must be constructed.
We will then sketch out some possible solutions by focusing on three main axes: the economy with the idea of permacircularity, democratic institutions, and finally the cultural shift that is currently taking place.
The urgency of ecological transition
This afternoon, we will present some of the main types of response, the main postures, that can be found in the international literature: sustainable development and green growth, the technological headlong rush with Plan B to escape to Mars, the Drawdown project, collapsology, a Bruno Latour landing, and the North American figures of Degrowth.
Habitat for Habitability
The design of architecture, neighbourhoods, cities and regions is wired wrong today. Ostensibly designed to be our habitat, ironically, it serves to destroy the habitability of this planet. Once providing shelter, protection, time management and cultural meaning – its role has now shrunk into a small segment in the global resource exploitation and economic value adding’ chain. Worse, it was and largely still is at once result and source of the massive fossil fuel dependency that grips our planet and weakens its very ability to support life.
Parameters & decisions
Practical advice for incorporating biodiversity and climate into projects and plans
In this lecture we will cover different approaches to ensuring that biodiversity and climate related concerns are integrated into projects and plans. First, we will discuss theoretical notions such as negative externalities and telescoping that are particularly relevant in developed cities such as Geneva. Then, we will cover different visions of sustainability, existing targets (for both climate and biodiversity), possible pathways to reach these targets, and indicators that measure progress. Finally, we look at existing tools that can mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ensuite, nous aborderons différentes visions de la durabilité, les objectifs existants (pour le climat et la biodiversité), les voies possibles pour atteindre ces objectifs et les indicateurs qui mesurent les progrès. Enfin, nous nous pencherons sur les outils existants qui peuvent intégrer la biodiversité et les services écosystémiques.
Energy systems: from resource to use, challenges and opportunities
Energy is omnipresent, in the form of the most various demands, which can be satisfied from diverse resources, through a myriad of transformers allowing extraction, transport, storage and adaptation to the desired use. During this conference we will present the basic concepts and challenges for understanding the energy system as a whole, with a focus on the domain of buildings (which represents a good 40% of the demand of our societies). Within this framework, we will discuss the challenges related to renewable energies (decarbonization) as well as the decrease in demand (efficiency, sobriety).
Urban Metabolism: a tool for urban transitions
Cities are perhaps the most complex human invention. They are the arena where social, economic, environmental, cultural, political challenges collide. To navigate through this complexity, urban metabolism proposes a prism through which the interconnections between these challenges can be explored, understood and analysed in order to propose transition strategies. In this seminar, the origins of this concept will be presented as well as how it is currently used in academia, policy making and practice. In addition, practical tools of how to carry out a metabolic analysis for territories will be presented in order to best comprehend how to reduce their environmental footprint
From Ecosystem Services to Sustainable Developmen
In this course, we explore the evolution of the concept of Ecosystem Services highlighted in the 2005 UN report entitled “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” which led to the creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) ten years later. We will analyse the data and tools used to quantify and map these services, and we will examine the limitations of this approach when addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This reflection will lead us to the concept of the Nexus formed by the different SDGs and their dependence on services provided by nature.
Global warming mapping
The Swiss Data Cube is a new digital technology for efficiently organizing Earth observation data (in particular satellite data) by gathering all satellite images in space and time for a given period and a specific region. Switzerland is the second country in the world to have a “data cube” after Australia. There are numerous possibilities for analyzing this standardized data and for applications, particularly in monitoring the evolution of the territory in order to anticipate the future. In addition, the algorithms developed on this platform are shared and can be reused for various projects. In this presentation, we will explain how this technology is used to help decision-makers better understand environmental issues (and in particular the impacts of climate change) . Thus ideally descision-makers can make decisions based on evidence.
The parameters of natural solutions
The confrontation with the climate emergency and with the project of a zero-carbon society requires a multiple approach, both highly technological and very attentive to the lessons that nature has to offer. This intervention will focus on a precise and imaginative understanding of the tricks, tools and methods that systematic observation of biological systems can reveal to us.
The Human Factor
Behavioral Insights for Sustainable Action: Psychological Barriers and Levers
Developing a more sustainable lifestyle is one of the most pressing tasks facing our planet and its inhabitants. While the majority of people nowadays is aware of these issues such as climate change or biodiversity loss, too little is done to translate this knowledge into concrete sustainable actions. To promote the necessary behavioral changes, research is investigating the determinants of sustainable behavior, and policy makers have begun applying behavioral insights to develop new intervention strategies. In this presentation, we will discuss state-of-the-art psychological knowledge about the factors that can motivate people to take up sustainable action or that can act as barriers to act. Different intervention strategies to promote sustainable action such as information provision, motivational approaches, and nudging will be presented and discussed.
Maria Neira, director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
post-covid: global health & ecological transition
Personal Transformation and Generating Change for the Transition in the Real World
How do I facilitate change? Transform myself, my community, my workplace to make the transition happen. This presentation gives an overview and insight into purpose led change and the approaches that can be employed in different contexts. Provides also overview of frameworks that and norms that can be used to structure change such as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ESG investment frameworks; and International Standards (ISOs).
Applying Behavioral Insights for Sustainable Action
In this atelier, participants will apply the strategies learning during the module “Behavioral Insights for Sustainable Action: Psychological Barriers and Levers” to develop an intervention strategy to promote sustainable action in a concrete situation. This process will include the definition of the problem, the identification of the target behavior that needs to be changed, the analysis of the barriers and the drivers of the behavior, the identification of the optimal behavior change strategy, and the creation of the material needed for the intervention.
The Economics of Ecological Transition
Growth vs Boundary Economics; What is Green Economics? Circular Economy; Carbon Trading. Public spending vs. privatisation. Short term vs long term benefits; trade-offs and optimization; allocating resources to maximise benefit; Alternatives to focusing on productivity & GDP eg: Well-being; inherent obsolescence of goods to ensure consumption (This is a parameter topic- the student gains a brief overview of public policy dilemmas).
The construction of space
Designing in the Age of Emergency(s)
In the effort to produce a decarbonising city, the use of grey energy integrated into the material already used to build it is an indispensable method. We will see how this challenge can be approached through examples leading to the design of a new construction economy.
Design for Planetary Deep Decarbonization
Our quest is the establishment of a design culture that has the healing, sustenance of the planet’s life support capacity as its very aim. This vision is still Utopian to some, but has become reality for many others. The four enabling realms of regenerative design, technology, finance and planning inform this intensive session – crafting our collective habitat while working to support planetary habitability.
This session encompasses all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and pursues RCP 0 and SSP 1. These are the hallmarks of the Liechtenstein Institute for Strategic Development’s teaching and practice: www.eurisd.de; www.eurisd.org; www.uet2.com.
An Urban design case study in the Greater Paris area
Grand Paris has set up a large number of urban projects. The actors of these projects try to orient their design and implementation towards sustainability. This presentation will provide an opportunity to expose the ins and outs of this process from a planning, design and execution perspective. The focus will be on zero-carbon strategies conditioned by the current landscape of actors and the level of their cooperation.