Designing with the Planetary Futures in Mind

Micène Fontaine, May 19, 2022

As I drove home from a high school graduation yesterday afternoon, the words of the last speaker lingered. Nothing in his speech was about him, it was a heartfelt thank you to the circles of teachers, school administrators, friends, family, and communities that had been there and worked together - knowingly or not - to help him achieve this milestone.

A right of passage in the life of young people in America, graduations are filled with hope for the future and acknowledgement of the support the graduates received on the road to graduation. It is a highly choreographed ceremony where everyone is reminded of their roles in supporting each other - for the first time for some or across generations for others. Either way, it's a nod to how far graduates have come and to all the possible futures they carry.

I share this story because it reminded me of the entanglements between people and places, between past, present, and future, between what is and what could be. It reminded me of the importance of the seeds we plant, their potential impact, and their ripple effect.

That - in essence - is the message of our Change by Design session on Designing with the Planetary Futures in Mind. Maybe that's why this last speech still lingers a day later. If the idea intrigues you, check it out. If nothing else, perhaps consider the different systems your designs are embedded into and whether they deplete or regenerate them and work with them - as one.

Here is to you because the built environment - the one you design - supports us all daily - well beyond graduation day.

:Change by Design