The conference consists of a combination of panels, keynote speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and excursions. Past topics addressed during the conference include: environmental literacy, food sustainability issues, religion and the environment, product innovation, and biomimicry. Over the past decade the conference has brought such luminaries as Shigeru Ban, Sim Van der Ryn, Lola Sheppard, Sean Ahlquist, Neri Oxman, Carlo Ratti, Steve Badanes, Francois Roche, David Orr, John Schaeffer, Stephen Kellert, and Clare Cooper Marcus to the University of Oregon campus.
Unbuilt is to reassess the existing and find potential for the future. Our environment is shaped by the unseen – cultural, political and economic forces intersect with design to impact everyday life. How might we synthesize these forces in new ways to build a sustainable tomorrow? HOPES  aims to deconstruct the preconceived, voice the unheard and find potential in challenging the norm.