Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2014

May 21 Event: OWA & SFAIA host Alexandra JaYeun Lee

by Jean Nilsson, Ed.

Alexandra JaYeun Lee

Alexandra JaYeun Lee will speak on Rethinking the Role of Architects in the 21st C from the Perspective of Social Resilience and Design Equity in a May event that OWA is sponsoring in partnership with AIASF Mentorship Committee. It will take place at the AIA San Francisco office Wednesday evening, from 6-8 on May 21 at 130 Sutter in SF. Check our website OWA Calendar.

Alex, a Korean New Zealander who is in the US as a Research Scholar at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at UC Berkeley, has spent the last decade applying her architectural knowledge to teach, practice, and advocate for democratic design. After meeting fellow members of the OWA at our last Book Circle, Alex is excited to share with us what she has learned about social resilience in the last 8 years.

Alex’s presentation will be based on lessons learned from running the New Zealand chapter of Architecture for Humanity and her PhD topic Framing Disaster Research as 'Wicked' Design Problems. Alex writes that she currently is working on converting her PhD dissertation into a book that would "give voice to public interest designers and expand the role of architecture in the 21st century.

“Disasters often amplify existing societal conditions and test the limits of our relationship with the urban environment. I will discuss the changing role of the architecture and design professionals in the 21st century in the context of recent urban disasters – the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Having interviewed over 56 disaster experts in the field, from both within architecture and non-architectural disciplines, I will provoke a discussion on what it means to be a woman, an architect, and a leader.

“By employing the ‘wicked problems’ framework to reflect on complex situations, it is possible to appreciate the powerful role that design can play in tackling the key decision-making processes of disaster recovery.”

Please join us May 21 for Alex’s presentation and a discussion of important issues she raises:
1. What is the role of gender in social resilience?
2. How can we better educate/equip ourselves from "the big one" in the same way that we tackle the challenges of social, environmental, and ecological sustainability?
3. How can architectural design lead to more equitable society?

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