Shelter and physical comfort are just two of a variety of factors that define your relationship with your home, workplace, and other oft-frequented destinations. These places and their connection with the habitat in which they are erect, however, is a concept that sadly is often excluded from consideration when designed and further unobserved when inhabited. This year’s Living Future unConference aims to change that.
Curated carefully under the theme of “place and community,” the 2015 gathering will explore ways habitable structures affect both humanity and the earth’s well being. Living Future global outreach vice president Eric Corey Freed defines a place in its truest sense as not merely a built habitable structure but one that operates in health and harmony with its immediate environment. “Places” exist, but places exist in mutual benefit with their community. By this measure, most places are not places, and thus the symposium’s common objectives: “restore natural ecosystems, re-establish a tie between humans and their nourishment, and encourage compact, connected communities that support a productive lifestyle.”
The unConference is an annual gathering of enviro-vanguards wherein keynotes and attendees huddle en masse to openly discuss urgently overdue, yet tragically under-reported, proposed solutions to environmental woes under a selected theme, typically in the form of a virtuous duplet (past examples of pairings include “beauty & inspiration” and “resilience & regeneration”). And, while the name “unConference” might sound self-effacing, it is more accurately a self-aware wink at the unconventional nature of the program subject matter. Ideas exchanged are often divergent from political orthodoxy and introduced by speakers kept absent from the mainstream, rendering the event almost an alternative to the alternative—a micro-culture within a subculture. This exchange of uncommon knowledge should not be mistaken as fringe, however. The weekend consistently draws in more than 2,000 people, and this year’s distinguished lecturers include Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment co-founder Ibrahim Abdul-Matin and Janine Benyus, who penned Biomimicry, the definitive text on the subject.
The Sheraton Seattle will host the 2015 Future Living (properly, the International Future Living Institute) unConference, and consistent with the Future Living credo, the Sheraton in 2009 was awarded as one of the Top 10 Green Hotels in the U.S. by the Mother Nature Network (MNN).