Conference: Forest Futures / Harvard GSD

The Harvard Graduate School of Design organized a two-day conference titled Forest Futures: Will the Forest Save Us All? It is open to the public and available via streaming.

Planetary survival in the Anthropocene crucially depends on the stewardship of resilient forest ecosystems worldwide—at the scales of wilderness, planted forests, metropolitan tracts, and the urban forest canopy of cities and towns everywhere. The Fifth National Climate Assessment (US, 2023) repeats now familiar claims that healthy forests provide essential ecological, economic, and social benefits and services.

But our forests today face extreme risk. Disturbance agents are driving massive change—including unprecedented temperature increases, altered precipitation patterns, increasingly catastrophic weather events, uncontrollable mega-fires, and destructive land use practices. This symposium addresses risks and threats, initiatives and improved practices, and speculations on a more secure and more just future for metropolitan and urban forests and the species that inhabit them.  

The symposium complements a concurrent exhibition in the Druker Design Gallery at Gund Hall, titled “Forest Futures.” This exhibition is curated by Anita Berrizbeitia, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at GSD, and the graduate students of her seminar, DES-3510 Forests: Histories and Future Narratives.

Thursday, February 15

Harvard GSD, Piper Auditorium
48 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

6:30 — 6:45 p.m.
Gary Hilderbrand, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture

Opening Keynote
6:45 — 7:15 p.m.
William (Ned) Friedman

Keynote Response
7:15 — 7:30 p.m.
Edward Eigan & William (Ned) Friedman

Gallery Preview
7:30 — 8:00 p.m.
Anita Berrizbeitia

8:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 16

Harvard GSD, Gund Hall
48 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138

9:30 — 9:45 a.m.
Sarah Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture

Opening Remarks
9:45 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.
Gary Hilderbrand, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture

Panel 1: Scaling Threats
10:00 a.m. — 11:25 a.m.
Moderated by Edward Eigen

  • Lisa Haber-Thomson & Edward Eigen, Epping Forest’s Highwayman, Dick Turpin
  • David Nowak, Urban Forest Change: The Need for Planning and Action
  • Jonathan Thompson, The Role of Forests in Massachusetts’ Decarbonization Roadmap
  • Discussion

Panel 2: Decoding the Urban Forest
11:45 a.m. — 1:10 pm
Moderated by Pablo Perez-Ramos

  • Michael Jakob, The Heterotopic Other
  • Nicholas Pevzner and Max Piana, Beyond the Axe: Reimagining Silviculture and Design
  • Acheampong Atta-Boateng, Concrete to Canopy: Nature-based Urban Adaptation

Lunch Break
1:15 p.m. — 2:15 p.m.

Panel 3: Speculating and Acting
2:15 p.m. — 3:40 p.m.
Moderated by Pamela Conrad

  • Silvia Benedito, “Cold-Fire” Landscape Management for Warmer Climates
  • Amy Whitesides, An Equitable Urban Forest Plan for the City of Boston
  • Eric Kramer, Shared Responsibility, Empowering Action in Cambridge, MA

Panel 4: A Just Survival?
4:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.
Moderated by Malkit Shoshan

  • Maria-Mercedes Jaramillo, Growing Forests in Bogotá: Resistance, Reconciliation, Resilience
  • Abby Spinak, What You Do to the Land, You Do to the People
  • Sonja Dümpelmann, From Breathing Space to Palliative: Urban Forests and Public  Health in the Plantationocene
  • Discussion & Closing Remarks

Published on January 29, 2024

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