1. Network with the Best

The Living Future unConference brings together the leading minds of regenerative design, green building, and sustainable architecture. This is where introductions are made, ideas flow, and inspiration is sparked. Don’t miss out on this once-a-year opportunity to meet peers and thought-leaders alike who value the planet and each other. From chatting between sessions to meeting on the afterparty dance floor, there are ample opportunities at Living Future to make connections that last.

2. Raj Patel

There are some who literally believe that award-winning author and activist Raj Patel is the messiah. Look it up. Or just come to LF18 to listen to his keynote and then decide for yourself. Even after getting degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, Patel seemingly still hasn’t gotten enough of academic life and is a research professor and associate at the University of Texas in Austin and Rhodes University in South Africa. He focuses his work on the global food crisis, food politics, and economics. He may not actually be the messiah, but his work suggests that he is, in fact, saving the world.

3. Terry Tempest Williams

Naturalist. Conservationist. Advocate. Feminist. Writer. Award winner. Terry Tempest Williams wears many different hats. If you have a soft spot in your heart for our country’s national parks and public lands, chances are you’ve heard of her. If you haven’t heard of her, chances are you’ve visited a wild place protected by her words. Williams is the recipient of the Wilderness Society’s highest honor given to an American citizen, the Robert Marshall Award, and the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation. She is our opening night keynote and we fully expect to be delirious with inspiration by the end of her message.

4. Using Biomimicry to Design Organizations

Here at ILFI, we view our organization as functioning like a flower, with multiple petals creating a self-sustaining organism. We are not the only company to employ biomimicry in configuring their organizations; stok, a sustainable real estate company, will share best practices and experience creating their Organizational Biomimicry structure. Matt Macko, founder of stok, will guide attendees in applying these concepts to their own company’s organizational challenges. Neat!

5. Advancing Social Equity in the Workplace

ILFI’s own Social Justice Program Manager Francis Janes will work with session attendees on best practices to advance social equity in the workplace, as well as highlight companies who have pursued the JUST label. Francis assists companies who are working to develop progressive policies, programs, and practices that lead to more engaged, happier, and more productive workplaces. The cherry on top is the JUST label, which encourages workplace transparency and social equity. Actually, Francis is the cherry on top, because he’s a gem of a person.

6. Applying the Living Community Challenge to Campuses

The Living Community Challenge (LCC) is used by practitioners looking for ways to implement resilience and climate commitments on a multiple-building scale. Two such registered projects are Williams College and Cal State University in Monterey Bay; as campuses begin to implement climate and health commitments, the need for a regenerative design process involving more than one building grows. We have the solution! This session will cover the LCC and its case studies, as well as offer lessons for those looking to take holistic approaches to their campus planning.

7. Authenticity in Action in Egypt

This year’s theme for LF18 is ‘Authenticity + Action’, and we can’t think of a better example of authenticity in action than Amira Ayoub Hassan. Hassan is Egypt’s first WELL certified designer, first ILFI ambassador and collaborative facilitator in Egypt, first to present the Living Building Challenge in the country, establisher of Egypt’s first Green Academy, and works on the first registered LBC challenge in Africa and the Middle East. That’s a lot of firsts, and to be honest, we probably missed some. Basically, the green building community in Egypt owes Amira a debt of gratitude, and we’re immensely grateful to have her visit the U.S. to present on water certifications in arid communities at LF18 this year.

8. Exploring, Documenting, and Designing for Urban Biodiversity 

We’re taking to the streets! To document the biodiversity of Portland, that is. This hands-on session/BioBlitz will lead participants through the neighborhoods and green spaces of the city to collect data on urban species. Urban biodiversity is critical to the health of communities, but we often don’t have enough data about our non-human neighbors. BioBlitz leaders will then work with participants on designing to support biodiversity. This session is for the inner naturalist in all of us!

9. Tackling Gentrification Head-On

Portland has been touted as the mecca of New Urbanism and livability, but as more and more people relocate to the city gentrification and forced displacement are on the rise, particularly in low-income and communities of color. Enter Right 2 Root, a three-year initiative spearheaded by Portland’s African American community to address the alarming rate of community upheaval and organize community assets and resources. Participants will learn the strengths-based Feelings-to-Action process pioneered by Right 2 Root, which break down barriers that originate stereotypes and restrict progress for people to uplift themselves from poverty.

10. Portland, OR: The ‘Weird’ City of Roses 

If you’ve never been to Portland, OR, you’re in for a treat—there’s something here for everyone. Craving pastries with unique toppings and a dark twist? Head over to Voodoo Donuts (and bring cash—no plastic accepted. Old school, man!). If a regular-sized bookstore just feels too cramped for you then check out Powell’s City of Books, which takes up an entire city block. Want some ice cream from an alliteratively-named shop? Better find Salt & Straw. And never fear, Portland is practically overrun with green space. Stroll through Washington Park, the Portland Japanese Garden, Forest Park, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Waterfront Park, the Grotto…you get the picture. Don’t forget to take the MAX!

Register for the Living Future unConference, May 1-4, 2018, online at 2018.livingfutureunconference.org/register. We’ll see you there!

Written By

Alaina Kowitz

Alaina is the Communications Coordinator at International Living Future Institute.