How to make your world Better By Design

“A Better World by Design,” a symposium for all that’s on the cutting edge of sustainable innovation, is back in Providence this weekend from September 30th to October 2nd. “Better World” was founded in 2008 by members of Brown’s Engineers Without Borders, which has partnered with RISD and other members of the local community to put on this year’s rendition of the conference.

With 12 speakers, 11 panels, and 15 workshops and tours, “Better World” really does have something for everyone. In fact, we’ve taken the liberty of pairing you with your perfect conference match:

Do you love those IBM commercials but still aren’t really sure what a smart grid is? “Better Cities by Design” is a must. It’s in the Metcalf Refectory on Friday from 4:15 to 5:30 pm, and representatives from IBM and Google will both be there.  Moderating the discussion will be Anne Tate of RISD’s Architecture department.

Want to save the world? Go to Peter Haas’s speech in Salomon 101 (DeCiccio Auditorium) at 2:00 on Saturday. Haas founded AIDG, a Haiti- and Guatemala-based NGO that has been formally recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Urban pastoral more your speed? Come to Friday morning’s City Farm Tour at 10:00 am at RISD’s Chace Center lobby. You’ll be visiting City Farm, founded in 1981, on the Southside. Can’t do Friday? Come Sunday morning at 9:30 to Faunce’s Petteruti Lounge for the “Urban Access to Food” panel.

Ever wanted to camp out on the Main Green? For all the engineers, the options are obviously way more than I could list, but above all, I’d recommend the workshop “Emergency Shelter Design and Distribution.” It meets Sunday at11:00 am outside of Sayles.  My best guess is that you will be looking at the shelters that multiple designers and NGOs have actually designed. If you’re interested, come by the Main Green Friday or Saturday night to help put the shelters up.

Seriously, this guy’s the next James Bond villain. You’ll regret missing Kirk Sorensen’s speech at DeCiccio Auditorium on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:00. He worked for NASA and Missile Defense Command for 10 years and has been pushing research on thorium energy and fluoride-based reactors.  Not sure what those are, but I’m sure I just made someone’s day.

Got writer’s block? Scatter-brained? You’d be remiss not to check out the workshop “Think Wrong” in Metcalf A + B from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Friday. Instructors will be teaching you how to “think wrong” in order to better brainstorm ideas. WARNING: this workshop, like that awesome public policy class you wanted to take this term, is capped at 15 people and will be first-come, first-serve.

Did you love Bionic Woman? Did your dad love Bionic Woman? A tour of the Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine even has this humanities student interested. Meet Friday at 10:00 am (RISD Chace Center lobby) to meet with Dr. Susan D’Andrea and Dr. Albert Lo from the Center.

Still working on that timeless aesthetic masterpiece? Stop by the Granoff Center Studio 2 for a panel on “Socially Engaged Architecture” Saturday morning from 9:30 to 10:45 or Studio 1 for “Graphics that Inspire.” Steve Duenes of the New York Times, among others, will be speaking.

The conference will be on campus all weekend, so you have no excuse not to go (even if you’re tailgating for the Governor’s Cup). This should serve as a caution too – between this and the URI game, campus is going to be really crowded this weekend and lines at Mama Kim’s and Bagel Gourmet will be extra long. Single-day tickets are $25 and full weekend tickets are $45 from the conference’s web site.

Check out the welcome video from US Senator Jack Reed (D-RI):

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