Watch Crash Course Presentations Streaming Here

Imagine being able to spend one amazing day immersed in learning about sustainable design—and meeting the people who have pioneered new thinking and practices. On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Pratt’s CSDS will present the fifth annual Sustainability Crash Course, a day-long series of workshops with a host of experts from Pratt’s sustainable design faculty and elsewhere. With over 20 speakers, it is sure to be a fantastic day of exploration and inspiration! Registration required. Space is limited.

CSDS Sustainability Crash Course 2015
Center for Sustainable Design Studies at Pratt
Saturday, March 28, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EDT)

Engineering Building
Pratt Institute
200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Click here to visit the Eventbrite page.


Presentation Schedules:

9:30am – 10:15am Sustainability at Machu Picchu
Natural Dyes: Urban Gardens Growing Plants for Pigment
Bringing Cradle to Cradle to NYC: the MTA in Transition
10:20am – 11:05am Intro to water quality in NYC: Why CSO are so relevant?
Build It Green
Uncovering the Apparel Supply Chain
11:15am – 12:00pm #StartUpLife
Open Sewer Atlas: Deciphering NYC sewer system
Reality: The Science and Truth About Climate Change
1:15pm – 2:45pm Green Infrastructure Sessions
Art that Changes the World
Crowd Designing with A. Bernadette
3:00pm – 4:30pm Keynote Panel: Economics of Sustainability


Featured Presentations:

Keynote Panel: Economics of Sustainability

Marie Driscoll, CFA,  Gelvin Stevenson Ph.D., and Mary McBride Ph.D.

So often the argument against sustainability is that “It costs too much and it’s not profitable”; so what is the price of reducing the environmental and ethical impacts and how does it effect the cost of doing business? Join our panelists in a conversation that pulls back the curtain on the economic realities of environmental and ethical business practices and explore strategies for implementing change. Moderated by Debera Johnson, Executive Director of Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Strategies.

Marie Driscoll is a highly experienced equity analyst focusing on apparel brands, apparel retailers, and luxury goods.  She has served in key analytical and business development roles in leading financial research firms.  Marie’s knowledge of global consumer markets is broad and deep.  Access to industry leaders, financial acumen, and analytic insight support her actionable investment advice.  Marie was recognized three times in The Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” analyst survey, most recently in 2009, capturing the first place rankingfor stock selection in the Clothing & Accessories industry. Marie started Driscoll Advisors late in 2011 providing consulting services to academia, industry, investors and non-profits. She is a columnist, thought leader, and an adjunct professor at LIM College, teaching Luxury Brand Management in the Fashion Industry.

Gelvin Stevenson, PhD, teaches Environmental Economics in Pratt’s Sustainable Environmental Systems Program. He has worked for the New York City, New York State and the federal government guiding Social Responsible Investing and currently organizes a monthly event that showcases promising greentech companies. He was a community organizer in the South Bronx, and has written for Business Week, the NYT, the Progressive, Indian Country Today and others.

Mary McBride has spent her career researching, redesigning and refining the meaning of design and its potential to incite positive change within organizations and the world at large.  Her professional business experience spans several areas including marketing, strategicplanning, design management, operations analysis and organizational development. Mary consults on innovation and leadership with major organizations worldwide to effectively implement strategies for planned change.  Mary is Chair of the Design Management and Arts and Cultural Management programs at Pratt. 


Intro to water quality in NYC: Why CSO are so relevant?

Presented by LEAP. Guest Speaker: Shino Tanikawa.

What is a CSO? What is Eutrophication process? How does this impair water bodies? Reviewing water body classification and uses, why is New York City mandated to take action? An overview of the Green Infrastructure Plan and its goals. We will be using the sewer in a suitcase to link the relation between NYC sewer system and water quality.

Shino Tanikawa is District Manager at NYC Soil and Water Conservation District


Open Sewer Atlas: Deciphering NYC sewer system.

Presented by LEAP. Guest Speaker: Korin Tangtrakul.

Open Sewer Atlas NYC is a unique community planning project with the goal of creating transparency into the confusing world of New York City’s sewer system. This section will guide you through some of the key functions of the interactive OSA map. We will present how information was gathered and analysed to display a more complete picture of how NYC sewer system operates.

Koring Tangtrakul is a M.S. Candidate In Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt Institute.


Green Infrastructure typologies and case studies

Presented by LEAP. Guest Speaker: Paul Mankiewicz, Ph.D., Biologist/Plant Scientist.

Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments.  At the scale of a city or county, green infrastructure refers to the patchwork of natural areas that provides habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. At the scale of a neighborhood or site, green infrastructure refers to stormwater management systems that mimic nature by soaking up and storing water. We will explain how different typologies of Green Infrastructure perform and go review successful case studies.

Paul serves as the Executive Director of the Gaia Institute and leads the staff in pursuing the Institute’s mission of exploring through research, development, design and education the interrelationship between human communities and natural systems. Dr. Mankiewicz’s philosophy, which provides the foundation on which the Gaia Institute is based, holds that human communities and natural systems can coexist to mutual benefit. This rests on the hypothesis that where the flow of ‘waste’ materials from human activities can be cleaned and utilized to create habitat, human industry can be coupled with conserving and creating landscapes that provide an abode for life. Such material cycles can enhance environmental quality, where ecological productivity and diversity become goals of human activity.

Dr. Mankiewicz received his Ph.D. in Biology from the City University of New York/New York Botanical Gardens Joint Program in Plant Sciences. He also received a B.A. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research; an M.A. in Biology from Lehman College; and a M. Phil. in Biology from the City University of New York. He has substantial experience with enhancing, restoring, and constructing wetland and terrestrial ecosystems. A past president of the Torrey Botanical Society, the oldest such organization in the New World, Dr. Mankiewicz is a member and former chair of the Solid Waste Advisory Board of the Bronx and Treasurer of the Soil and Water Conservation District for New York City.


Monitoring Green Infrastructure: Methodologies and Technologies.

Guest Speaker: Zhongqi Cheng (Joshua)

Monitoring green stormwater infrastructure allows us to measure performance of the system. Monitoring is conducted at individual sites after construction, and it is intended to complement other activities such as the monitoring of the sewer system, receiving waters (rivers and streams) and groundwater. Guest speaker will share his experience monitoring Green Infrastructure installed by DEP.

Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng is the chair and associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, director of the Environmental Sciences Analytical Center at Brooklyn College, and a faculty member for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Macaulay Honors College. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality. Cheng is one of the founders of the Urban Soil Institute.


Art that Changes the World

Kim Fraczek

Outreach Coordinator, Kim Fraczek is Sane Energy Project’s in-house artist/designer adding art and community building to Sane Energy’s programs. As a co-founder of Occupy the Pipeline and the People’s Puppets, she has led art builds for Beyond Extreme Energy, the People’s Climate March, Flood Wall Street and so many more events. Kim is committed to using art as a messaging tool for social engagement, and has brought a wise and considerate hand to the art component of all of Sane’s ongoing campaigns. And she can make a Cantastoria (a “sung storybook”) on ANY topic (just ask her).

Veteran artist/activist Kim Fraczek has created striking visuals for just about every noteworthy campaign in recent memory, from Occupy Wall Street, to the People’s Climate March, to Flood Wall Street. Enjoy a video tour of highlights from dozens of actions plus a performance of one of Kim’s “Cantastorias”–huge illustrated storybooks that rhyme. Learn how this creative powerhouse left her corporate job to pursue a life that integrates her art with her belief system.


Natural Dyes: Urban Gardens Growing Plants for Pigment

 Liz Spencer

Learn about the colorful, living world of natural dyes & the plants from which they are derived (many of which are dual purpose edibles and have herbal/medicinal properties). Natural dye basics such as the natural fixative process, color extraction, and historical context will be covered. Liz Spencer of The Dogwood Dyer will speak about her unique urban practice which is distinct from most other natural colorists and dyers, focusing on sustainability, environmental resiliency and community benefit. You will be amazed at the colors attainable by using only plants and minerals.

Liz Spencer lives, gardens & dyes in Brooklyn, New York. Her business: The Dogwood Dyer, imparts color onto cloth for sustainable fashion and home goods designers using only plants, flowers, barks, berries & roots. Her pigment comes from locally grown and foraged plants as well as ethically sourced dyestuffs. Care is taken to reduce water use in the dyeing process & a significant portion of the refuse water is recycled back into her dye gardens in urban Brooklyn street-side Tree Guards.  An advocate for considerate design implementation in education, Liz teaches sustainability, fashion and natural dyeing at Parsons The New School & FIT. She is a venture fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator and holds a BA from Linfield College and an MA in Sustainable Fashion from The London College of Fashion.


Uncovering the Apparel Supply Chain

Teel Lidow

Apparel industry supply chains are notoriously opaque, making it difficult for brands to track and manage their ecological and social impact and for consumers to make informed choices about the clothing they wear. Teel Lidow, founder of Boerum Apparel, discusses the barriers to transparency in the industry and how his company traces the production of its clothing, from farm to finished garment.

Teel Lidow has worked as an international development consultant, non-profit analyst and corporate lawyer. In 2014, Teel founded Boerum Apparel, a for-profit social venture that applies his expertise in corporate social responsibility and supply chain transparency to the social and environmental problems in the apparel industry. 


Bringing Cradle to Cradle to NYC: the MTA in Transition

Cody Miller, Daniel Penge, Carla Ramirez, Rebecca Travis, Bryan Wong

The Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute looks to place materials into endless, closed-loop cycles. These cycles of materials translate to the flow of commodities in a circular economy – a system which tries to effectively eliminate waste. What better place to exercise the Cradle to Cradle mentality and the principals of a circular economy than in the NYC Subway System? We have attempted to rethink the way in which users interact with traditional modes of transportation. As a conceptual redesign we are applying sustainable principles to a system which impacts 8.4 million people a day. Our interests are in testing collaboration as a means of success, pushing past school course offerings, and allowing ourselves the chance to understand yet another niche of the industry we plan to enter in May.

Cody Miller, Daniel Penge, Carla Ramirez, Rebecca Travis and Bryan Wong are a group of Industrial Design seniors at Pratt Institute.



Presented by Gunner Tierno

The startup world can be a very mysterious one filled with glamorous successes and whispered failures. The media makes it very difficult to understand what the realities of starting your own business actually are, so come join Gunner Tierno for a presentation and open discussion of what it takes to make your mark on the world. He will share his stories about sleepless nights, quitting his job, incubation, upcycling, registering two businesses, and much more. The second half of the presentation will be an open discussion where the audience can weigh in, ask questions, comment and whatever else comes to mind.

As the mastermind behind two businesses, Turn Up Art and Team G, Gunner doesn’t just walk the walk, he runs it. At age 26, Gunner is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of two startups; a 501c3 non-profit and a for-profit LLC. He is involved with projects that span across the creative spectrum: featured in magazines, television and documentaries or built into the cityscape of Midtown Manhattan. With a brain for business, an eye for design and a heart for charity, there’s no telling where he’ll turn up next.

Crowd Designing with A. Bernadette

Presented by Andrea Reyes and Amberle Reyes

Meet founders Andrea Reyes and Amberle Reyes  from A. Bernadette as they take you behind the scenes. A. Bernadette works with artisans in Uganda creating fashion accessories, home goods, and apparel from recycled/up-cycled materials. Join in on the fun as they take you through the design process, discuss transparency within the fashion industry, and seek participation from the audience with designing their next collection.

A. Bernadette was born out of sisters – Andrea and Amberle’s passion for exploration. Their travels took them to Jinja, Uganda where they worked with two Fair Trade producer groups.


Build it Green

Justin Green

Justin Green is the Co-founder and Director of Build It Green!NYC. Justin has overseen BIG!NYC’s development from its beginning in 2004, having managed the first two deconstruction projects for the Durst Organization that generated the materials required to launch BIG!NYC. Justin also piloted and directed NYC Cool Roofs for its first two years.

Before BIG!NYC, Justin worked at a non-profit addressing the housing and energy efficiency needs of low- and middle-income communities. While there, Justin assisted their efforts to establish a statewide loan fund for the installation of energy efficiency measures. He has also managed construction crews in residential development, worked as a Loan Associate with Low Income Investment Fund monitoring loans to non-profit housing developers, and designed for an educational dotcom. Justin received his BA with a double major in Economics and Community Development from Oberlin College.


Reality: The Science and Truth About Climate Change

Keith Edwards

Reality. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is a reality. We know it’s happening, and we know why: carbon pollution is warming our planet and creating dirty weather like extreme droughts, flooding, wildfires, and superstorms. And we’re all paying the price for it in lives, livelihoods, food and water scarcity, and in every way imaginable.
What can we do? Reduce carbon pollution. Right now, scientists tell us that we’re on track to see global temperatures rise up to 4°C by the end of the century, with a shift to a clean-energy economy, we can still create the sustainable and prosperous future we all want. But we have to act now.
Join Keith Edwards of The Climate Reality Project for an engaging slideshow presentation of the science of climate change and the effects we are starting to see around the world.

Keith Edwards is the National Sales Director for the New York office of The Business Journals, the nation’s largest publisher of local business news. He works with media professionals in helping them better understand and target business owners across the country. He was first trained as a Climate Leader in August of 2012, and he served as a mentor at the North America Climate Leadership Corps training in August of 2013.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith received his degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Oklahoma. He moved to New York City in 2000 and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Outside of various professional organizations, Keith serves on the board of Directors of Choral Chameleon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting music performance and education. He attends St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.


Sustainability at Machu Picchu

Brent Porter

At the equivalent to the US president’s Camp David, the Inka retreated to Machu Picchu where he sponsored not only passive solar and shading with natural ventilation throughout but also adherence to sustainable agriculture, preservation of indigenous vegetation and practice of nine principal crafts using native materials.  The principal agricultural terraces produced three crops of corn per year, and their exacting location enhanced daylight for growth and passive solar gain in rounded stone beneath the ground. Further, the southwestern mountainside provided afternoon shadowing at the hottest times of the year.  Other crops were located in a variety of ecologically sensitive parts of Machu Picchu, and their byproducts along with native grasses were adapted, recycled and woven into a variety of products.  Today, the town below suffers from the lack of sustainability where 800,000 visitors arrive and depart each year.

Brent M. Porter is completing his 42nd year at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and has been a practicing architect with his own firm since 1982. He was selected by the Pratt student body as Distinguished Teacher in 2004-2005. Prof. Porter has pioneered in the research and application of energy conscious design and planning in work in the New York City region and abroad. He headed one of the four design teams in the Summer Energy Conscious Design Institute at Harvard University’s School of Architecture as early as 1983. His Pratt research group received one of the first national solar access research grants from the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Dept. of Energy. With the late William H. Whyte, well-known author and urban planner, the Pratt Environics Design Studio established by Porter won the first victory for “sun rights” in NYC from the City Council and the Board of Estimate. Additional floors proposed for a new high rise at 505 Third Avenue were shown to cast much shadow on the adjacent Green Acre Park at East 51st St. The commission for the first “Solar Access Study for NYC” was granted to Porter’s team shortly after by the Dept. of City Planning. Public successes followed and began in defense of St. Bartholomew’s Church from a new high rise’s shadowing, then led to similar studies at Union Square and the Upper East Side. The simulation of shadowing was featured on PBS’s “Innovations” program. Proposals for Atlantic Yards housing as well as for the Navy Yard’s Admirals Row Housing have been simulated with community groups support. Work to defend sun rights and lessen shadowing continues.

Prof. Porter now heads the Christina Porter Lighting Lab of the School of Architecture. Current studies include simulation of various configurations of photovoltaic material within double glazing with shading devices within the glazing to both generate electricity and admit daylight but concentrate that available natural lighting on the ceiling of various types of spaces.

In both his teaching and his practice, the pursuit of environmentally sensitive and passive solar implementation has been a major goal. Strategies to lessen the environmental impact to Machu Picchu and its town below have been pursued for twenty years with a new commitment due to the mudslides in 2010 and the contribution of a broad, multidisciplinary team headed by Porter to study planning, environmental, civil engineering and structural engineering in the lower Royal Inka valley of the Urabama River. Porter has served as a consultant for such sustainable projects in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, India and Japan. But perhaps his popular Czech and Slovakian beergarten known as Radegast Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a special accomplishment. With its sustainable design measures and materials used throughout, its naturally ventilated skylights and its planned photovoltaic roof, this Eastern European eating and drinking establishment has been named one of the ten best facilities of its kind in the USA.