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National “Designing Intelligent Environments” workshop demonstrates value of smart technologies in creating sustainable built environments

Spotsylvania County, Virginia --February 28, 2013--The National Academy of Environmental Design and the National Building Museum co-hosted the workshop “Designing Intelligent Environments, Social and Ethical Implications” to explore the exploding role of new technologies in shaping the built environment. Leaders from across North America convened at the National Building Museum to present emerging digital-physical interfaces. Speakers included Erik Steiner of the Stanford History Project; Andrew Turner from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI); Anijo Matthew from the IIT Institute of Design; Dr. Kathleen Harder from the University of Minnesota; Michelle Cullen from IBM; and Eduard Epp from the University of Manitoba.

Featured speaker, Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of Police, Washington, DC spoke of her commitment to reducing violent crimes through informed decision-making. A cornerstone of her leadership, data and information technology is used to build safe, secure neighborhoods in the District of Columbia for residents, national, and international visitors.

Dr. Fritz Steiner, President of the National Academy and Dean of the School of Architecture at UT Austin explained, “The workshop yielded new insights into how smarter data can help designers craft more sustainable urban environments, how new technologies are affecting our personal space, and how intelligent environment technologies are enabling designers and planners to be more responsive to societal needs. Such technologies are changing how we communicate, how we visualize our surroundings, how we make decisions, how we design and plan, and how we interrelate with our environments--both real and virtual.”

Dr. Jim Wescoat, Co-Director of the National Academy's Research Committee, and Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture at MIT said, “One fascinating aspect of the workshop was the emerging role of new technologies in place-making and community building. These promising possibilities were reinforced by studies of historical environments in the digital humanities field, and discussions of the history of ideas about intelligent, even wise, environments.”

The National Academy of Environmental Design serves the public by promoting the flourishing of individuals, communities, and the natural world through the sustainable design and stewardship of human and natural environments. The National Building Museum is America's leading cultural institution devoted to the history and impact of the built environment. Its mission is to advance the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives.

The workshop proceedings will be posted on late 2013.

The NAED wishes to thank the workshop sponsors Perkins+Will AREA, Virginia Tech, Rachel Martin Design for their generous support. And to, Spotsylvania County for start-up funding for the NAED.


Linda Sorrento, Executive Director

National Academy of Environmental Design


Phone: 703 606-8195

Fritz Steiner, President

National Academy of Environmental Design

Dean, University of Texas at Austin


Phone: 512-471-1922


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