2017 BFC Celebration

Please join us to award the 2017 grand prize and celebrate ten years of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge with a once in a lifetime gathering of past winners and design thought leaders! This event is produced in partnership with A/D/O. Program details can be found below.

Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11

29 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222


Friday 10th | 6-9PM
Award ceremony to honor our 3 Finalists: Net-Works, OpenAQ, and the Vertical University Project by KTK-BELT
our 2 Runners-up: Martín Peña Community Land Trust and Sistema Biobolsa
and to confer the $100,000 grand prize to the 2017 Winner, Bhungroo!
Representatives from each project will make brief remarks about their work.

Saturday 11th | 10AM-6PM
Participate in a symposium with representatives from all ten winning initiatives and design thought leaders
Speakers include: Kate Orff of SCAPE Studio; Bren Smith of GreenWave; Dr. John Todd, ecological design pioneer; and many more (see symposium program details below).
Symposium will be followed by a networking reception to celebrate ten years of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Event contact: [email protected]


SPACE WILL BE LIMITED. Your ticket will not guarantee entrance if you arrive late, as we expect to have a waiting list. Please arrive punctually. The events are free and open to the public, but there is a suggested donation of $25. You may purchase a boxed lunch ticket for Saturday, November 11th.


The Design Revolution - How is Bucky’s call for a Design Science Revolution (1961) going? What is the role of design in solving the complex problems of our era? How can nature-inspired, biomimetic, regenerative, and “design science” approaches achieve better outcomes than design has in our past? How do we accelerate the adoption of these approaches? How do we incentivize more resources to flow toward projects taking the anticipatory 'long view'? What do we need in order to better leverage visionary and innovative design approaches?

Panelists: John Todd (ecological design pioneer, president, John Todd Design); Ryan Chin (Co-Founder & CEO, Optimus Ride, Inc.); Gavin McIntyre (Co-founder & Chief Scientist, Ecovative); Eden Bruckman, (Senior Green Building Coordinator, City of SF, Dept. of Environment; Co-founder, The Living Building Challenge)
Moderator:Susan Szenasy, (Publisher and Editor in Chief, Metropolis Magazine)


Terrestrial Ecosystems - Extractive industries and large scale agribusiness are ravaging the global environment, impoverishing soils, imperiling biodiversity, massively toxifying terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and driving indigenous and poor populations into urban slums. What strategies do we need to deploy to preserve and regenerate vital lands, restore our biosphere, provide food and resources for the world's population needs?

Panelists:Jody Holmes (Director, The Rainforest Solutions Project); Seth Itzkan, (Advisor, The Savory Institute; Co-Founder, Soil4Climate); Trupti Jain (Co-Founder, Bhungroo); Biplab Ketan Paul (Co-Founder, Bhungroo)
Moderator: Greg Watson (Director of Policy and Systems Design, The Schumacher Center for New Economics)


Aquatic Ecosystems - Our oceans, and fresh water resources, which generate the majority of the planet's oxygen and are the main drivers of our weather are under assault from warming, overfishing, plasticization, acidification, contamination, depletion, coral bleaching, etc. The livelihoods of countless coastal communities are threatened. How do we build a new relationship between humanity and aquatic ecosystems? What are the key trimtabs to create this kind of change? What are the key critical challenges for the next ten years? How do we get more people to understand the opportunities?

Panelists: John Todd, (ecological design pioneer, president, John Todd Design); Bren Smith (Executive Director and Co-founder, Greenwave); Marc Fruitema (Support Program Manager, Blue Ventures); Gena Wirth (Design Principal, SCAPE Studio)
Moderator: Erin Meezan, (VP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Interface, Inc.)


Urban Ecosystems - Our species is now predominantly urban. How we organize, develop and manage our cities—and the materials, goods, services, and resources required to sustain them—will be key determinants of our ability to thrive in the future. How do we transform our megalopolises into sustainable, resilient human settlements in the face of climate change? What does an integrated approach look like, in terms of ensuring that our cities are healthy, energy neutral, safe, culturally inclusive, aesthetically energizing places to live?

Panelists: Ryan Chin (Co-Founder & CEO, Optimus Ride, Inc.); Eden Bruckman, (Senior Green Building Coordinator, City of SF, Dept. of Environment; Co-founder, The Living Building Challenge); Kate Orff (Founder and Partner, SCAPE Studio)
Moderator: Andrew Revkin, (Senior reporter, ProPublica; Editor, NYTimes dot.earth blog)


Resilience Strategies - What does it take to work on the whole system? In the face of setbacks, disappointments, and obstacles, how do we remain inspired to solve humanity’s most pressing problems? Complexity creates so much uncertainty. How can designers, inventors, and innovators face the unknown and remain proactive? What types of resources and tools are necessary for a systemic approach to persist in the long-term? How can we ensure that the strategies we enact through our work do not lose sight of the big picture?

Panelists: Bren Smith (Executive Director and Co-founder, Greenwave); Marc Fruitema (Support Program Manager, Blue Ventures); Jody Holmes (Director, The Rainforest Solutions Project); Tre' Cates (Chief Operations Officer, Savory Institute); Trupti Jain (Co-Founder, Bhungroo); Biplab Ketan Paul (Co-Founder, Bhungroo); Gavin McIntyre (Co-founder & Chief Scientist, Ecovative)
Moderator: Renee Lertzman (Social psychologist; Author, Environmental Melancholia: psychoanalytic dimensions of engagement; climate change communication expert)