Topical Meeting
  Mountain Daylight Time


Co-organized with Generation Investment Management, this meeting focused on the built environment while further developing ideas from our May 2020 and July 2020 Complexity of Sustainability meetings. How do design choices and developmental decisions related to the built environment moderate the sustainability of a building, factory, city, society, ecosystem, or ultimately, the entire planet? This is an inherently complex question, and the answer depends on the interactions between the built environment and multiple socio-economic, technological, and natural complex systems. In many of these areas, our understanding of the bigger issues is still in its infancy. There is an urgent need for developing a systemic scientific framework for addressing such questions in order to reduce our species’ environmental footprint and ensure a livable planet. This meeting highlighted applicable areas of current complexity research and explored our understanding of the built environment's impact on sustainability at multiple scales. The meeting’s goal was for scientists to engage and inform applied decision-makers and practitioners about the underlying science as we work towards creating a more sustainable society.


Opening & Closing Remarks by:


Full Lineup:



8:30 AM MDT — Introduction by William Tracy, Vice President for Applied Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, and Puja Jain, Partner at Generation Investment Management

8:40 AM MDTCities and the Future of the Planet with Geoffrey West, Shannan Distinguished Professor and Past President of the Santa Fe Institute

9:10 AM MDTSustainability in Deep Time: Archaeological Lessons for Modern Challenges with Stefani Crabtree, ASU-SFI Biosocial Complex Systems Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, and Assistant Professor of Environment and Society at Utah State University

9:40 AM MDT — Designing Responsive and Regenerative Human Settlement Systems with Gerhard Schmitt, Professor Emeritus of Information Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Founding Director of the Singapore-ETH Centre, and Principal Investigator of Cooling Singapore

10:10 AM MDT — Climate Change, COVID-19, and Human Ingenuity with Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Harvard University, Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and Science Board co-chair, Science Steering Committee, and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute

10:40 AM MDT — Meeting Adjourn


8:30 AM MDT — Introduction by David Krakauer, President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute, and Puja Jain, Partner at Generation Investment Management

8:40 AM MDT — Designing Sustainable Built Environments in Growing and Shrinking Cities with Luis Bettencourt, Inaugural Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago, Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and External Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute

9:10 AM MDT — Build Communities Like Our Lives Depend on It—Because They Do with Vishaan Chakrabarti, William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Creative Director of PAU, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

9:40 AM MDT — Designing Healthy and Sustainable Buildings for a Post-Covid Era with Jessica Green, CEO and Co-founder of Phylagen, Founding Director of the Biology and Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, and Science Board member at the Santa Fe Institute

10:10 AM MDTAl Gore, Former Vice President of the United States, cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project.

10:30 AM MDT — Meeting Adjourn

More SFI Events