Climate Design Lab 2019
In collaboration with the Van Alen Institute, the CLEO Institute executed the second annual Climate Design Lab in July 2019. The Climate Design Lab is part of Van Alen Institute’s Keeping Current, a project that looks to develop solutions and ideas to sea level rise in Miami. The Climate Design Lab is Keeping Current’s high school program.
Throughout the three-week program, nineteen students from nine different schools in Miami-Dade County and one school out of state learned about the role innovative design can play in addressing sea level rise in the Miami region and beyond.
During the first week, students were exposed to speakers that taught them about the science, impacts and solutions of climate change and sea level rise in their communities. The speakers brought their expertise in technology, engineering, flood prevention and storm water management, government resilience, and drinkable water. The students also participated in a hands-on workshop led by Mariana Boldu from Curtis and Rogers, where they learned how to apply green infrastructure adaptations to a local park in Miami that frequently deals with flooding.
During the second week, students were exposed to new perspectives on the effects of climate change.The speakers shared their knowledge about youth empowerment, starting an environmental nonprofit, corporate social responsibility, public health, and the link between climate and social justice issues. The students participated in a hands-on workshop led by Katherine Hagemann and staff from the Miami Dade County Office of Resilience, where they explored resilience adaptations in three different communities of South Florida. A field trip to the Frost Museum allowed the students to learn about local coral restoration projects, renewable energy innovations, and the importance of ecosystem protections like mangroves.
The third week focused on their photo voice and design projects, under the leadership of the University of Miami. The first aspect, Climate Change & You, drew on the methods of photo voicing established in the opening of the Climate Design Lab to engage each student in a reflection and expression of their individual exploration of climate change impacts. It called on students to photograph the impacts of climate change in their communities and use media to tell a creative story. The students created photo boards to display their images and captions,which were then shared with the class. The second-half of this week focused on their design projects,where the students were tasked with applying critical thinking skills to solve climate-related problems in several communities. The groups focused on four particular communities in South Florida: West Kendall, the area around Booker T. Washington High School, Hialeah, and Miami Gardens. The locations were relevant to the students as each group had a student that either lived or went to school in that neighborhood. Each team was tasked with using design thinking methods to develop a proposal for their selected neighborhood that encompassed its full life—built, cultural, economic, natural, policy, social—and responded to the conditions of present concern as well as future projections.
These design projects were then presented to a panel of jurors with backgrounds in environmental science, government, and architecture. The teams were awarded recognitions to highlight the strengths of their presentations in one of the four categories: Integrated Understanding of People and Place; Engaged Process; Communication; and Implementation Planning. The presentations will later be featured at the 2019 Keeping Current exhibition.
“The thanks go to you and the whole team that transformed these students into climate strategists. I am forever grateful for your efforts. “–Commissioner Eileen Higgins, Miami Dade County, District 5
“Thank you all for organizing such a great program! This is exactly what we need.”-Katherine Hagemann, Resilience Program Manager for Miami Dade County
“What I liked most about this experience is that I got to learn about climate change (the causes, effects,and solutions) which I didn’t know before so I couldn’t even explain it to anyone or do anything to prevent it. I would recommend this program. The more people that understand how urgent this problem needs solving, the better chance we will have to mitigate it. Mitigation is better than adaptation.”–Amalia
“I enjoyed the amount of information that I got in such a short time from people who had the experience on how different areas would be impacted by climate change. I also enjoyed being able to write a letter to my elected officials since it’s something that I wouldn’t have done without the extrap ush. [My knowledge of climate science and sea level rise] has gone beyond the superficial. I knew climate change and sea level rise existed, but I only knew the surface of it. The Climate Design Lab helped me learn more in depth, enough to be able to explain it to my peers.”–Edelma
“The information about the link between climate change and health resonated with me the most because it helped solidify my passion towards pursuing a medical degree. I would absolutely recommend this Lab to other students because we need to be well-informed about our future and potential solutions.”–Josue
Climate Design Lab 2018
In collaboration with the Van Alen Institute, CLEO helped carry out the Climate Design Lab in July, 2018. This program is part of Van Alen Institute’s Keeping Current, a series of open design competitions inviting interdisciplinary teams to develop solutions and ideas using the lenses of economy, ecology, and equity to adapt to sea level rise.
This three-week program invited 16 high school students to learn about the role innovative design can play in addressing sea level rise in the Miami region and beyond. This included:
Learning about the science, impacts and solutions of climate change and sea level rise to your own community
Understanding how to apply critical thinking skills in design for problem solving
Producing an innovative and forward-looking solution to climate change and sea level rise to be featured at the 2019 Keeping Current exhibition
Having the opportunity to develop a design solution to be featured at the 2019 Miami-Dade School District Science Fair.
Students heard from experts across the fields of climate science, resilience, design, communication, and research who provided a baseline knowledge of climate science, seriousness and solutions. Together with their Lab mates, students work in groups to identify adaptation measures and solutions to address pressing problems related to sea level rise in a specific community in the city of Miami.
Click here to see the 2018 syllabus.