SDM Sponsors MIT Sustainability Summit

April 30th, 2014MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program has become a major sponsor of the MIT Sustainability Summit, which will take place May 3-4, 2014, at the MIT Media Lab. The conference’s theme is “Coastal Cities, Sustainable Futures.”

“The MIT Sustainability Summit is student-led, faculty-advised, and joined by leaders in the public, private, and civil sectors—including our alumni. It is a fantastic example of what can happen when the MIT community of innovators comes together to tackle big challenges. Cities are a fantastic focus of our conversation this year; they are both sites of greatest vulnerability and hotbeds of innovation for new ways of living and working,” said Jason Jay, lecturer and director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.

“Sustainability is one of the most complex and urgent issues of our time, especially around coastal cities,” said SDM Director Pat Hale. “SDM is honored to support the MIT Sustainability Summit and proud of SDM student Marianna Novellino, who is the summit’s managing director.”

Coastal cities are caught at the nexus of three forces that dominate the 21st century: rapid urbanization, climate change and destabilization, and continued integration of the global economy. What business models are contributing to the growth of these economic hubs? What policies are being discussed to combat unsustainable growth? What trends are shaping coastal cities’ development agendas? How best can industrial professionals, policymakers, urban designers, and communities connect to develop solutions to these challenges?

These questions and more will be addressed at the Sixth Annual MIT Sustainability Summit. Slated keynote speakers include:

  • John Fernandez, professor, Department of Architecture, MIT
  • Nancy Kete, managing director, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Brian Swett, chief of environment and energy, City of Boston
  • Aisa Tobing, senior advisor to the governor of Jakarta, Indonesia, for international affairs
  • Molly Turner, director of public policy, Airbnb

Panel discussion topics will include:

  • Designing the coastal cities of the future. This panel will explore current measures to guard against and recover quickly from natural disasters as well as ways to promote vibrant and attractive waterfront neighborhoods for the future.
  • The collaborative city. This panel will examine ways in which new companies, equipped with innovative business models, disrupt traditional notions of urban planning and economic development. What tradeoffs must cities make to accommodate the growing collaborative economy, and what impacts do these businesses have on social and economic equality?
  • Waste management and diversion from landfills—what’s next? This panel brings together experts in organic, can and bottle, and e-waste reuse to explore innovative ways businesses and regulators can increase the diversion of waste from landfills. How can we capitalize on recycling efforts? What are the economic and regulatory forces that shape waste management behavior?
  • Sustainable supply chains and coastal cities—a long and vital relationship. This session will cover the trends in supply chain designs. What are the implications of logistic networks in human economic activity and development in coastal cities?
  • Reinventing mobility. This panel will explore ways cities can reshape urban mobility to meet growing travel demands while strengthening transportation systems’ resiliency.
  • Infrastructure financing—what is the value of preventing damage? This panel will feature industry experts discussing innovative approaches and financial products for funding resilience-building urban infrastructure.
  • Opportunities by the sea. This panel will consider the perspectives of industry players along the coast as well as port regulators/operators in an attempt to find balance among businesses, food production, and even the provision of water while protecting oceanic resources.
  • Energy resilience for coastal cities. This panel will look at where and how resilience can be built into the energy system, as well as how private and public institutions can create and capture value. Recognizing that a low-carbon economy is a key solution for mitigating the effects of climate change, panelists will also explore opportunities to drive green development in coastal cities and beyond.
  • Planning for the new economy. This panel will consider how the interrelationship of environmental, economic, and social challenges transforms the way we conceptualize the planning, design, and management of cities.

Other highlights include:

  • Workshop: My City Garden/The MOVE Tour
  • Workshop: Greenhouse gas emissions through computer-aided analysis tools
  • Workshop: New England Climate Adaptation Project
  • Tour of Harpoon Brewery through sustainability lens

In addition to SDM, current sponsors of the Sustainability Summit include Keurig Green Mountain, the Tata Center at MIT, Zipcar, Complete Recycling, and Thoughtforms.

For more information, to register for the conference, or to inquire about sponsorship, please visit: