Lately, we have been learning about the long-term implications of the things that we create. We use technology to solve problems, but these solutions often have unintended side-effects that result in seemingly intractable problems.
The concept of resilience begins with an assumption that things break, that things will go wrong, that conflicts and problems will arise. In response to this reality, we need to create ways of proactively addressing issues before they become intractable problems.
Some of the greatest creative movements have coalesced during times of immense cultural shifts and of social, political and economic crisis. As we survey our current situation, we find the social fabric being torn apart and the institutions of government, law, media, business, and education being threatened by the inability to quickly adapt to the changes that we ourselves are bringing about either intentionally or inadvertently.
We need people who can lead our society in a different direction, against the inertia of the status quo. This is a different kind of leadership that arises from the recognition that every individual has the ability to offer their time, energy, and resources to the effort.
A century ago, a great war came to an end and people came together to try to rebuild society. It was an opportunity to envision something entirely new, a modern society built on the fusion of art, technology, and industry. Craftspeople, artists and architects gathered to reimagine the forms and structures of human society. By considering basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter, they innovated a conception of the modern dwelling: how to build a house. From the hands of millions of workers has arisen the crystal symbol of a new faith, but with the destruction of that concrete, steel and glass symbol, disillusionment has engulfed the world, bringing into question all that has been accomplished.
It brings to mind an ancient myth about people of one language who came together to build a tower, but their language was confused and the people were scattered across the earth.
The question we are asking ourselves is whether all the time, energy, and resources that have been invested has been worth the effort if most of the profit is accumulated by a select few and at the expense of the natural world on which our lives depend. Have we architected the means of our own demise, socially, politically, economically and ecologically?
Given the challenge our generation faces, we endeavour to invest time, energy and resources in the effort of building leaders to design a resilient society. By considering basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter, we will innovate a conception of the modern dwelling: how to build a house. The difference now is greater self-awareness, a recognition of how things can go very wrong, and the technological means to create virtual models with predictive power to anticipate problems before they become reality. This is a collaborative project to better understand ourselves and our place in this world, to find generative ways to live with each other and the natural world.
Transcending human-centered design, this is design that seeks to learn from nature, to put into practice the knowledge and principles of biomimicry to reimagine and redesign our environment, to reconnect ourselves to our own humanity and to reconnect us to the earth and all living things.