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Volume 1: Transformation at the Intersection of Equity, Climate Change and Health

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Session Overview

Session 1

Slum Upgrading and the City: Policies, Design and Transformation 

9:00 - 10:30 EST

Slum Upgrading and the Right to the City: Policies, Design and Transformation will be the first of a three panels series revolving around the urgent need and impact of design across disciplines, scales, and geographies. This session would look at slum upgrading and what policy makers, planners and designers should be mindful of and how to work with communities to tackle the inequities in our cities which were laid bare by COVID-19. This last crisis add up to the increasing frequency and severity of disasters produced by climate change, and the systemic racial, religious and economic discrimination that plagues cities.

  • Event Curator: Sameh Wahba, Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice

  • Event Moderator: Francisco Brown, Research Affiliate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Speakers Include:

  • Sheela Patel, Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Chairperson, Slum/Shack Dweller International (SDI), based in Mumbai, India. 

  • Jorge Mario Jauregui (Argentina/Rio de Janeiro), Architect and Urban Planner “The Favela-Bairro Program,” based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Bio

  • Inês Magalhães, Former National Housing Secretary and Minister of Cities, Senior Housing Expert, Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil 

  • Jennifer Musisi, Former Executive Director of Kampala City, City Leader in Residence, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, based in Cambridge, MA 

  • Anacláudia Rossbach, Regional Manager for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Cities Alliance, based in Mexico City.

  • Sameh Wahba, Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice based in Washington D.C.

Session 2

Regenerative Design for Radical Sustainability

10:40 - 12:10 EST

After two decades of global initiatives and efforts to promote Green building strategies, the design and construction industry is still largely responsible for resource depletion and environmental degradation worldwide. The Regenerative Design for Radical Sustainability panel explores alternative design strategies that enhance and regenerate our natural capital. Thought leaders and practitioners will share ideas and practical insights, promoting the design of environments that can coexist harmoniously with the vast richness and beauty of our planet. Speakers will inspire design leaders to take action in their practices and communities towards alternative design processes that can help reverse environmental damage. 


  • Event Curator: Jaya Kader, Founding Principal of KZ architecture, born in Costa Rica and based in, Miami. Sustainability advocate. 

  • Event ModeratorAditi Agarwal, Research Associate, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Building Scientist and Researcher.


Speakers Include:

  • Edward Müller, Founder of University for International Cooperation, based in Costa Rica (Environmentalist, regenerative design advocate).

  • Susan Jones, Founder of AtelierJones, based in Seattle (Architect, leader in alternative sustainable practices).

  • Hitesh Mehta, An eco-landscape architect, eco-architect, and environmental planner. Founder of HM Design, born in Nairobi and based in Ft Lauderdale (Leader and pioneer in sustainable tourism design).

  • Ivan Shumkov, Founder of Build Academy and Principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects , based in New York.

  • Maren Costa, Founding member, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, based in Seattle (Advocate for the Environment, Founding Member and Leader for Amazon employees for Climate Justice).

  • Alnoor Ladha, Founder of Brave Earth, based in Costa Rica (activist, alternative community building).

Session 3

Design Equity: The Revolution Will Be Designed

12:20 - 1:50 EST

There has been continual philosophization about whether design can alleviate civilization’s collective offenses against humanity and the environment. Simply, Yes, it can. The question is, How do we do it equitably? To answer, we must confront the impediments to non-discriminatory ways of living worldwide and interrogate how design can be utilized to realize universal justice in the 21st century. 

  • Event Curator: Courtney D. Sharpe, former Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Boston, current MBA Candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management

  • Event Moderator: Naksha Satish, GSD MAUD 2022, Architect and Urban Practitioner 


Speakers Include:

Volume 2: Straight-Up Talk: Homelessness - Ethics / Policy / Action

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Event Overview

Design Impact Vol. 2: Straight-Up Talk: Homelessness - Ethics / Policy / Action, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council, will be a direct, real-talk dialogue on homelessness in the United States that explores the myriad causes of rising homelessness and innovative solutions to eradicate it. It will consist of 3 distinct panels followed by a summary dialogue. The panels will be prefaced by keynote remarks from Binyamin Appelbaum, lead writer on business and economics for the Editorial Board of The New York Times. Download event resources here.

Session 1

Ethics: Is Housing a (Universal) Human Right? 

The first panel, “Ethics: Is Housing a (Universal) Human Right?” will probe the cultural, historical, and socio-political causes of homelessness in the United States, as well as the moral and ethical question of who bears ultimate responsibility for providing housing in this country. 

Speakers Include:

  • Binyamin Appelbaum, Lead Writer on business and economics for the Editorial Board of The New York Timesbased in Washington, D.C.

  • Richard Sennett, Chair, United Nations Habitat Urban Initiatives Group, based in London, U.K.

  • Leilani Farha,  Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Global Director of The Shift, based in Toronto, ON

  • Michael Lehrer, Founding Partner, Lehrer Architects, based in Los Angeles, CA

Session 2

Policy: What’s the Problem?

The second panel, “Policy: What’s the Problem?” will clarify homelessness politics and policy, focusing on how to advance a new national will committed to providing affordable homes for all individuals.


Speakers Include:

  • Shaun Donovan, AB '87, MArch '95, MPA ’95, NYC Mayoral Candidate, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, based in New York, NY

  • Angela Howard, Senior Vice President, Real Estate and Facilities, Covenant House, based in New York, NY

  • Hanan Scrapper, Regional Director of PATH San Diego, based in San Diego, CA

  • Nithya RamanCouncilmember-elect, LA City Council District 4, based in Los Angeles, CA

  • Heidi MarstonExecutive Director, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), based in Los Angeles, CA

Session 3

Action: Accelerating Implementation

The third panel, “Action: Accelerating Implementation” will explore a range of housing and other innovative solutions designed to help eradicate homelessness in the United States and abroad.


Speakers Include:

Volume 3

Volume 3: South Asia - Design Agency & Climate Change

Event Overview

 Design Impact Vol. 3: South Asia - Design Agency & Climate Change sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council, examines the understanding of design and development as applied or framed in the South Asian context with a particular emphasis on equity and socio-economic development. The event is organized into two panels presenting diverse voices followed by a moderated discussion and an audience question and answer session. The first panel, “Global Orientations and Local Perspectives,” will unravel the depth of enquiry and the degree of success in balancing global orientations and local practices in multiple South Asian cities. The second panel, “Climate Migration in South Asia,” will bring forth perspectives on climate migration in South Asia as a trigger to other forms of migration and the need for transformation and innovation in humanitarian response.

  • Event Organizer: Aditi Agarwal, MDes ’20, Computational Designer, based in Atlanta, GA 

  • Event Organizer: Rohit Manudhane, MDes ’10, Architect and Lighting Expert, based in Mumbai, India

  • Event Organizer: Ambika Malhotra, MAUD ’20, Architect and Urban Designer, based in Delhi, India

  • Event Organizer: Alpa Nawre, MLAUD '11, Landscape Architect, Architect & Urbanist, based in Gainesville, FL

  • Event Organizer: Moulshree Mittal, MDes EE '21, Architect and Building Performance Specialist

  • Event Organizer: Cadence Bayley, MAUD ‘21

  • Event Organizer: Elsa Mendoza Andres, MDes ADPD ‘22

Design Impact Vol. 3:  9:00 am - 12:00 pm IST  |  Thursday, February 25, 2021

Session 1

Global Orientations and Local Perspectives 

Theoretical underpinnings and practice in South Asia have been typically viewed as derivatives of the Global North. With increased scholarship on localized knowledge, and the need to engage with unique constraints, urban practices can no longer be merely defined in terms of appropriating global discourses. This panel examines pressing questions of geo-political agendas, unbridled urbanization, and thematic prerogatives in the design discourse through the lens of diverse stakeholders in the South Asian development landscape.

  • Session Curator: Seetha Raghupathy, CEO Seagull Studio, Architect and Urban Designer, based in Chennai, India

  • Session Moderator: Naksha Satish, Master of Architecture in Urban Design 2022, Harvard University, Architect and Urban Practitioner, based in Bangalore, India

Speakers Include:

  • S Krishnan, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance; Managing Director of the New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Limited, based in Chennai, India

  • Kenichi Yokoyama, Director General of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Department, based in the Philippines

  • Arif Hasan, Architect and Planner, based in Karachi, Pakistan

  • Kazi Khaleed Ashraf Architect, Architectural Historian and Critic, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Iromi Perera, Researcher and Activist, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Session 2

Climate Migration in

South Asia

Climate change induced displacement is a grim reality for South Asia’s densely populated regions. The problem is one of both time and scale. It extends beyond the local to impact people globally, as migration is not just an internal challenge but also impacts cross-border relations. This panel presents experts from diverse fields who will talk about the transformation necessary in international governance, policy, finance, and design to mitigate challenges that may leave the most vulnerable, helpless.  

  • Session Curator & Moderator: Nupur Gurjar, Harvard University, MDE ’21, Designer, Architect, based in Cambridge, MA

  • Session Keynote: Ms. Licypriya Kangujam, 9-Year-Old Climate Activist & Founder, The Child Movement


Speakers Include:

  • Abhas Jha, Practice Manager, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (South Asia Region), The World Bank

  • Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director, Friendship NGO, Bangladesh

  • Kashif Majeed Salik, Associate Research fellow at Sustainable Development Policy Institute, based in Islamabad, Pakistan

  • Sudipta Kumar Badapanda, Country Director, ActionAid, based in Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Executive Director, Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research and Development (CIPRED), based in Kathmandu, Nepal

Volume 4: Regeneration - Design Strategies for Climate Change



Event Organizers

Ana Pinto Da Silva MDes ’05, Design Impact Chair, Designer Leader, Technologist and Community Servant, based in Seattle, WA

Jaya Kader MArch ’88, Event Curator, Architect, Sustainable Design, based in Miami, FL and Costa Rica

Julia Smachylo DDes ’21, Moderator, Urban Planner and Designer, based in Providence RI

Adriana Pablos MDes ’21, Moderator, Architect and Urbanist, based in Cambridge and Madrid

Cadence Bayley MAUD ’21, Architect and Urban Designer, based in Somerville, MA

Naksha Satish MAUD ’22, Architect and Urban Practitioner, based in Bangalore, India

Lindsey Grant LaGrasse, Assistant Director of Events and Special Projects, GSD

Viviana Urra, MDes ’22, Architect, based in Santiago, Chile

Volume 4

Design Impact Vol. 4:  10:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT  |  Wednesday, March 31, 2021

  • Introduction: David Moreno Mateos, Restoration Ecologist, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard GSD

Session 1


A Paradigm Shift 

10:15 - 11:30AM EDT

This panel will outline regenerative thinking as supported by indigenous science, present an overview of regenerative economics, and explore case studies for applying these systems-based approaches to design.

  • Session Moderator: Julia Smachylo, DDes ’21, Urban Planner and Designer, based in Providence, RI 


Speakers Include:

  • Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Indigenous Peace Activist and guest faculty member at Yale University’s School of Divinity, Ecology and Forestry

  • Carol Sanford, Senior Fellow of Social Innovation, Babson College; CEO, The Regenerative Paradigm Institute

  • Bill Reed, AIA LEED, Principal of Regenesis, founder of IDC

Session 2

Regenerative Design: Systems, Technologies

and Strategies

11:30AM - 12:55PM EDT

This panel brings together different practitioners who will share tools and applications of regenerative design, including: planning, preservation, biomimicry, indigenous activism, regenerative agriculture, and permaculture.

  • Session Moderator: Adriana Pablos, MDes ’21, Architect and Urbanist, based in Cambridge | Madrid 


Speakers Include:

  • Walter Meyer, MLAUD '03, Landscape and Urban Designer, Educator and Community Organizer

  • Atossa Soltani, Indigenous Rights and Rainforest Campaigner

  • Tom Newmark, Co-founder and Chair of The Carbon Underground

  • Victoria Kindred Keziah, Biomimicry Specialist and General Manager for Client Engagement at Biomimicry 3.8

  • Eva Leung, MArch ‘12, Architect, co-founder and CEO of non-profit Terra Cura Inc.

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