Marcia McNally and Randy Hester are two landscape architects who have really led the way toward ecological, community-oriented design. Through their work in the U.S. and East Asia, their numerous award-winning publications, and their teaching at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, they have investigated the path to resilience. Today, they continue to use design as a form of activism to challenge environmentally-destructive traditions. They are the founders of SAVE International, an organization working to protect endangered Black-faced Spoonbills. Their firm is renown for applying ecological thinking to community problems resulting in innovations in city design, regional land use, and natural resource management. And their work demonstrates that ecological conservation and equitable development can coexist. We’re lucky to have their voices be a part of the conversation surrounding Destructive Idealism at this year’s conference.


Dr. Deborah Brosnan is an environmental entrepreneur and marine resilience specialist who has taught at Virginia Tech, UC Davis, and Stanford University. With her work, she seeks to translate cutting-edge science into real-world decision-making across government, civil and private sectors. She has authored numerous articles, serves as Science Advisor to the Global Risk Forum and other institutions, and leads Deborah Brosnan & Associates, an extensive network of consulting professionals. She survived a volcanic eruption and a 747 plane crash and emerged from these experiences to build resilience into communities impacted by disasters. Dr. Brosnan will be a great addition to HOPES[25], for she brings experience solving complex challenges in ways that meet economic and environmental goals.


Dr. Armando Azua-Bustos holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. He is a Scientist of the Center of Astrobiology of Madrid, Spain, and his research is focused on the intimate relationship between water and life in order to understand the limits of life on Earth and the possibilities of finding life elsewhere in the Universe. Dr. Azua-Bustos has also a number of initiatives in space research and will be soon the first to perform plant genetic engineering in space. He is also a TED fellow, having given two TED talks. Dr. Azua-Bustos research has appeared in several TV documentaries, including National Geographic.


Chelina Odbert is the Executive Director and co-founder of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), an international design, planning, and community development firm. KDI challenges the traditional top-down approach to design and centralizes the unique elements of each community by empowering residents to lead local projects. KDI has received several awards and accolades, such as The Neighborhood Revitalization Award from The Atlantic, and Odbert has been personally recognized by the Van Alen Institute, American Express, and the Aspen Institute.



Pablo Unzueta is a Chilean-American visual artist and photographer based in Northern LA. His passion for photography was inspired by his family when he was still young. Pablo focuses on documenting the narratives that challenge sociological and economic issues, predominantly amongst the Latino community. His work focuses on the interactions of the local community to understand the deeper meaning of human connection.
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Academic and interdisciplinary activist, Earl Mark has taught at the University of Virginia, University of Cambridge, and will soon join the faculty at the University of Oregon School of Architecture & Environment. In his recent research project “Shelter In Place” Mark collaborated with Virginia Tech faculty and the School of Engineering at UVA to design fabric structures as refugee housing that is rapidly-deployable and results in minimal ecological impact. Software engineer, architect, and distinguished educator, Earl Mark will share his insights on environmentally responsive design from an interdisciplinary standpoint that looks for innovative solutions to multifaceted issues.


Ronald Rael’s recent work explores activism through the creation and curation of public art and unconventional approaches to 3D printing. Additionally, he designs and writes about sustainable materials and earth-based architecture. Rael is based in Oakland, California and is Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, co-founder of Emerging Objects, and partner of Rael San Fratello. His collaborative 3D printed work ranges from small-scale sensory objects that were recently on view at the Cooper Hewitt Museum to 6’ walled adobe structures near the border wall. Over the last year, Rael has made 3D printing more accessible by founding the Bottery, a robotic ceramic workshop and by developing an intuitive 3D modeling software program, Potterware 2.0. Rael is also involved in Rural Environments, a creative outdoor field school near his hometown in Colorado which provides space for students and artists to make work in the landscape. Rael’s work engages people in the creative process and constantly pushes boundaries in digital design to create new and exciting spaces.