Resiliency: Our Sustainability Celebration + Design Week Portland events
In a first for SERA, we coupled our 2017 Sustainable Action Celebration with a Design Week Portland session in back-to-back events last week.
Our celebration comes on the heels of the AIA’s recent report “The Habits of High-Performance Firms,” which highlights SERA’s four AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten project wins. The report attributes our green portfolio of work to the culture of sustainability we foster in our offices.
Our Director of Sustainability Mark Perepelitza outlined some of those efforts in his introduction, which include everything from purchasing 100% carbon offsets; to our public stance on building standards and carbon emissions legislation; and now the holistic planning of our future Portland office.
In considering more broadly what sustainability means in 2017, the theme of this year’s celebration was Resilience – the idea that our buildings and communities should seek positive ways to prepare for immediate and long-term stressors, whether it’s a Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake or slower transformations like gentrification, sea-level rising, or an economic downturn.
Led by Rebecca Grace, the Sustainable Action Committee debuted a new 360-degree graphic linking the guiding principles outlined in last year’s Sustainable Action Plan update (PDF) to a proposed framework for resilient design at SERA. The diagram provides a visual snapshot of a project’s resilience in three main categories: Sustainable Placemaking, Human Health and Wellbeing, and Resource Management.
Following the SAC Celebration, the public was invited in for our Portland Design Week session applying our approach to resilience to the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. Through a series of active visioning exercises, SERA staff served as facilitators and graphic note takers (for those less inclined to draw) and together with our guests we dove in with markers and maps.
All together, these exercises elicited a number of bold but entirely achievable ideas that could help to bolster our community’s resilience. As you can imagine, we covered a lot of ground, and are now working to formalize this information into something that can be shared publicly.
Please stay tuned for this forthcoming update!
Thanks to our Sustainable Action Committee and Design Week volunteers, led by Rebecca Grace and Josh Cabot, for two wonderful events!