PHD DEFENCE: Wendi Goldsmith

Title: Integrating Natural Systems with Engineering: Decision Support to Guide Sustainable Development and Climate Resilient Design

Oplysninger om arrangementet


onsdag 17. februar 2016,  kl. 10:00 - 12:00


BTECH, Birk Centerpark 15, 7400 Herning, room 2052

The assessment committee

Professor Allan Gross, Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University (chairman)

Adjunct Professor Igor Linkov, Carnegie Mellon University and US Army Engineer Research and Development Center

Professor Brynhildur Davidsdöttir, University of Iceland

Om afhandlingen:

Integrating physical and social science in sustainable development: Practitioner Perspectives

Design professionals may seek to improve environmentally sustainable outcomes, yet the process of change demands efficient strategies. Though interest in adopting such approaches is gaining popular support in public policy, its effective uptake by practitioners is hindered by issues stemming from group dynamics (such as division of professional roles, rules including standard conventions, stakeholder preferences, and other case-specific artifacts influencing the process) and technical challenges tied to solution complexity (such as integrating natural and social systems, balancing competing concerns, reducing externalized impacts, and justifying innovation in conservative settings). Due to anxiety related to professional liability, as well as resource constraints, monitoring and analysis of project process and results is rare, and future design efforts seldom benefit from peer review of past successes, failures, and innovations. However, examination and synthesis of the factors playing out in projects suggests practical paths towards success. 

The presenter has developed a portfolio of case studies and decision support tools through action research spanning over 25 years in the field of sustainable development and climate resilient design. Relevant problems, as well as potential solutions, were examined through interacting as a practitioner with other professionals and stakeholders involved in refining design objectives, formulating and selecting design solutions, reflecting on the forces affecting outcomes, developing new tools and strategies, and recursively testing novel design approaches. Literature from relevant fields is reviewed and synthesized, with emphasis on the decision processes that drive development of design solutions, as well as for selecting among possible alternatives. The context of the action research spans case studies in which cumulative methods are applied and evaluated. The overarching research question addresses how designers can better incorporate naturally based fundamentally efficient ecological cycles into the built environment through intentional design.