As a function of problem solving, technology has long focused on overriding nature — altering, connecting, bypassing, hollowing, and flattening terrain. But, there are innovative ways to design in harmony with natural landscapes; in concert with natural features, not in opposition to them. What would it look like if we allowed nature to be our guide? Is there a way to scale this type of design? What would a modern city designed around natural elements look like? Can we create analogues in the digital space?
Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives - And Save Theirs, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness.
He coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” a concept first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; and speaks internationally on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth.
Dr Cindy Frewen, FAIA, urban futurist and architect, consults and writes on the future of cities and organizations, specializing in the intersection of people, technology, and environment. Clients include the United Nations-Habitat, UNESCO, US AID, US Treasury, US Federal Reserve, US General Services Administration, IBM, and Hallmark Cards. She also teaches the Design Futures Workshop and Social Change at the University of Houston graduate program in Strategic Foresight.
Laura Ó Reilly is an interdisciplinary artist and technologist who grew up in New York City. Laura is an alumna of The New Museum’s creative tech incubator, NEW INC, where she built and led Wallplay Network. Ó Reilly creates new media art experiences that are frameworks for regenerative communities. Her current initiative, Technology Gap, created “Demystifying NFTs: Learn How to Create Eco-Responsible NFTs”, a workshop/award program presented by New York Foundation For The Arts (NYFA) and made possible by Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Technology Gap is an eco tech-art initiative that aims to make learning about energy-efficient blockchain technology accessible, by teaching through the lens of ecology and digital permaculture. Ó Reilly’s upcoming metaverse project, SUN IN THE MACHINE: Experiments In Embodied Ecology, a six-part somatic art film, game, NFT series, and podcast explores practicing alchemy through the six cosmic processes of transformation: growth, digestion, elimination, crime (disease), healing, and regeneration through a daily art improv practice.
John Mack is an artist, photographer, author, lecturer and the founder of the nonprofit initiative Life Calling, whose mission is to foster awareness and balance for society in the Digital Age. Mack is a 2022 honoree of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty people changing the world who the world needs to know about. Mack has recently published two books, A Land Between Worlds: The Shifting Poetry of the Great American Landscape, and Notes to Selfie: Bits of Truth in a Phoney World. Additionally, Mack serves as a board member of Fairplay, an organization that strives to create a world where kids can be kids, free from the false promises of marketers and the manipulations of Big Tech. He has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Graduate program of Design at the University of Lisbon. He currently lives between London and Seville.
Charlotte Kent, PhD is the Assistant Professor of Visual Culture at Montclair State University and an arts writer. Her work theorizes how visual and linguistic rhetorical devices constrain what we see by exploring their historical and political context. Her current research investigates the absurd in contemporary art and speculative design. She writes for academic journals (Leonardo, Word and Image, Journal of Visual Culture, etc) and general audience magazines (Art Review, BOMB, Wired, among others), with a monthly panel and column on Art and Technology for the Brooklyn Rail, where she is also an Editor-at-Large. Prior to academia, she developed education for the eyecare industry and managed an art school located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center, St. John’s College, and Philips Academy Andover and currently lives in New York City.