Billy Fleming - Climate, Design, and the Green New Deal

Billy Fleming, the Wilks Family Director for the Ian L. McHarg Center at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, presented "Climate, Design, and the Green New Deal," at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 18, at The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. This presentation was part of the Pryor Center Presents 2019-20 lecture series.

Fleming's work is focused on the intersection of science, politics and design as they pertain to climate change. His recent research has focused on the use of nature-based strategies in climate adaptation planning along the American Coast.

Fleming says the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns us that to avoid catastrophe, human societies have 12 years to wholly transform the way we consume food, energy, water and land, making changes on a scale for which there is no documented historic precedent. 

As the Green New Deal surges to the forefront of the public imagination, the long-sought fusion of green- and blue-collar workers finally seems within reach. While considerable attention has been paid to the role of industrial and national economic policy in framing the Green New Deal thus far, little, if any, thought has been given to the ways in which it could transform the nation's sprawling built environment. And yet, it is a set of ideas and goals that will be understood through the buildings, landscapes, infrastructure and public works projects it delivers — and it is the only idea in contemporary American politics scaled to the challenges of climate change.

Fleming earned a Master of Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arkansas, where he served as student government president for the state's lone research university. He was a 2011 University Olmsted Scholar. Fleming earned his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from PennDesign in 2017.

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