Keynote Speakers

Randolph T. Hester, Professor Emeritus, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley

Randolph T. Hester is a founder of the Participatory Design Movement in landscape architecture. He has created internationally acclaimed democratic landscapes in places as diverse as Raleigh and Manteo, North Carolina, Los Angeles, California, and Tainan and Chiayi Counties, Taiwan. He mobilizes grassroots efforts to collectively create places of cultural and biological diversity. His capacity to adopt hopeless causes, address environmental injustices and overcome seemingly insurmountable political obstacles through socio-ecological thinking and strategy is legendary. His first books, Neighborhood Space (1975), Community Goal Setting (1982) and Community Design Primer (1990) provide now classic participatory design techniques. Design for Ecological Democracy (2006) describes a visionary yet achievable future based on enabling, resilient and impelling form. Hester is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Center for Ecological Democracy in Durham, North Carolina.

John Liu, Chairman, Building and Planning Research Foundation, National Taiwan University

John K.C. Liu is the Chairman of Building and Planning Research Foundation at the National Taiwan University. He is a founding member of the Pacific Rim Community Design Network. Liu studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cooper Union, and University of Washington, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include ecological design and planning, methods and theories of participatory design, and heritage conservation. Liu taught and researched at the National Taiwan University, Tsinghua University, University of California, Berkeley, Chung Yuan Christian University, and Pennsylvania State University. Liu received numerous awards, including Taipei Culture Award, Taiwan Architects Association Award, Asian American Architects and Engineers Association Award, State of California Affordable Housing Award, and Progressive Architecture Award. He was the Ong Siew May Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore from 2016 to 2017, and a scholar-in-residence at the National Science Foundation, USA.

Akiko Okabe, Professor, Department of Socio-cultural Environmental Studies, University of Tokyo

Akiko Okabe is an architect and Professor in environmental studies, architecture and urban policy at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, she practiced as an architect at Arata Isozaki & Associates in Barcelona, and in partnership with Masato Hori at Hori and Okabe. Okabe began teaching at Chiba University in 2004. Her books include Further Concentration in Megacities (2017; co-authored), Barcelona: a Mediterranean City (2010), Sustainable Cities: Regional and Environmental Strategies at the European Level (2003), Sustainable Community under Depopulation (2012; co-authored) and Toward an Urban Renaissance: Cities as Common Social Capital (2003; co-authored). Okabe’s work on urban upgrading via stakeholder participation in Jakarta received the Regional Holcim Award 2014 and Architectural Institute of Japan’s Architectural Education Award 2017.

Special Guests:

Bryan Bell, Executive Director / Co-Founder / Associate Professor, Design Corps / SEED Network / Department of Architecture, NC State University

Bryan Bell founded the nonprofit organization Design Corps in 1991 with the mission to provide the benefits of design for the 98 percent without architects. His current work includes research on the field of public interest design and the SEED Network, which Bell cofounded. His work has been supported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize and through a Harvard Loeb Fellowship. Bell has published three books in the field, and he organizes the Public Interest Design Institute and the Structures for Inclusion conference series. He was awarded a National AIA Award and was a National Design Award finalist. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the Smithsonian National Design Museum. Bell holds degrees from Princeton and Yale and is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University.

Sergio Palleroni, Director / Professor, Center for Public Interest Design / School of Architecture, Portland State University

Sergio Palleroni is a Professor and Director of the new Center for Public Interest Design at Portland State University (, and previously a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and the University of Washington for two decades, where he founded the Basic Initiative (, a multidisciplinary fieldwork program which each year challenges students from US and abroad to apply their education in service of the problems facing marginalized communities throughout the world. He has worked on sustainable architecture and community design in the developing world since the 1980's both for not-for-profit agencies and governmental and international agencies such as UNESCO, World Bank, and among others the governments of Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, China, Taiwan, India, Kenya, Tunisia and Western Sahara. This work has received international recognition and is currently focused on investigating public interest design practices, and networking these practices into a global knowledge network.

More speakers and details will be announced soon.

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