Seoul Design Olympiad 2009

  • Publication / Exhibition

We are now all designers: every square millimeter of the planet has been designed and redesigned by human hands. Just as we are beginning to further understand the stresses which we place on our own planet and begin to shift our design behaviors, its terrestrial, aquatic, and climatic systems are nearing collapse. As Homo Sapiens species expand in population and proliferate around the globe, most other species are projected to decline, diminishing the biodiversity on the planet and paving the way for a 6th wave of mass extinction. Not only does this present an economic and ethical horror, this would create an aesthetic horror – a world with potentially decreasing sounds, layers, textures, living colors, and difference. It is vital to expand architecture beyond “design for us,” or beyond a built environment conceived exclusively for our consumption and comfort, to address the wider global ecosystem as a shared space for all species. As “WE design” in the 6th Wave urban design can be recast as a form of new, activist, joint urban and environmental stewardship in order to manage biodiversity and begin to reverse the trajectories of mass extinction on a hot, crowded planet.