RESEARCH + SCHOLARSHIP
Our future generations will inherit a world unprecedented in known human history. Those who take their first breath today are a generation born into the new Anthropocene epoch. A time and an ideology defined by recognition of human geological agency and situated within a context of complex and intertwined issues found in climate change, sea level rise, food and water scarcity, mass extinctions, environmental justice, and others.
This world of pervasive human influence across all scales of the global landscape presents the central dilemma for the 21st century. In just over a decade the emerging Anthropocene paradigm-and recognition of the extent of human influence on Earth Systems-has catalyzed transformations
in scientific and humanistic discourse. In the sciences, these transformations advance our ability to measure complex systems and forecast environmental change with disturbing results (Steffen, etal. 2011). Similar transformations have occurred in the humanities, such as further rupture of socio-cultural binaries while exploring new conceptual frameworks of socio-ecological relations through the concepts found in anthromes (Ellis, etal. 2010), hyperobjects (Morton 2013) and post-environmentalism (Wapner 2010). Central to such interdisciplinary concerns is the upheaval of the prevailing notion of nature and culture as essential counterparts, but ultimately separable.
My research is centered upon the realization that if the Anthropocene paradigm presents a fundamental shift in human-environment relations, then environmental design disciplines and professions must seek a new discourse relative to this shift. To assert timely relevancy, we must begin by opening a 21st century debate into the question: what is the potential impact of the Anthropocene paradigm on the future of environmental design? This is the transformation I welcome within my research and teaching as we imagine new territories of scholarship, pedagogy and practice for the discipline and profession in our strange, new world of the Anthropocene epoch.