Feature Story

The Next 100 Years



We asked researchers to transport themselves into the future.Here’s what Kees Lokman from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC had to say.



Q
If you could transport yourself to the future, what would you be teaching/researching in 100 years?
Kees Lokman, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

In 100 years, with growing understandings of ecology, urban metabolism and cross-scale linkages, we are teaching how to design socio-ecological systems that fully incorporate biophysical processes as well as byproducts of urbanization in order to create productive and regenerative urban landscapes across multiple scales.

Kees Lokman, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

A: While the outcomes of the recent Paris Climate Conference are hopeful, climate change will have major impacts on global water and food security, energy transitions, environmental transformations and the way we build our cities in the future. Today, spatial practices are just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of the possibilities of design to address these global challenges. In 100 years, with growing understandings of ecology, urban metabolism and cross-scale linkages, we are teaching how to design socio-ecological systems that fully incorporate biophysical processes as well as byproducts of urbanization (waste, emissions, nutrient runoff, etcetera) in order to create productive and regenerative urban landscapes across multiple scales. Rather than obtaining a degree from a single design discipline, students will enroll in trans-disciplinary programs that interweave every aspect essential to the functioning of the built environment: from architecture to geo-engineering, from public policy to natural resource management.

Q
How will the work you are doing now influence your field in 100 years?

A: In the age of ‘the Anthropocene’, which suggests human activity has fundamentally changed ecosystems, land use patterns and biospheric processes on a global scale, we are increasingly confronted with messy and complicated relationships between nature and culture. In order to imagine more sustainable relationships between ecology and economy, we have to better understand how biophysical and anthropogenic systems influence each other. As such, I am interested in design-based research, which emphasizes problem solving through design thinking and continuous testing of design solutions, as well as data visualization and mapping: analytical drawings that layer cartographic maps, diagrams, statistics, photographs and text in order to reveal the complex interrelationships of processes of urbanization with flows of water, waste, energy and mobility. Through these research endeavors, my work aims to produce new insights, analytical tools and design approaches that expand the way we think about complex social-ecological systems in order to positively inform the future shape and functioning of built environments.

Explore this Series

Nearly every researcher searches for something — a clue, an anomaly, a missing link — that will unlock new knowledge about the world we live in.

In the first 100 years at UBC, discovery was paramount. The drive for invention and the need to understand cause and effect ushered in decades of eureka moments in labs, classrooms and in the minds of students and professors alike as relationships between things revealed themselves. 

But what will the next 100 years bring? We asked researchers across a range of disciplines at UBC to transport themselves into the year 2115 and imagine what they might be teaching and researching.

Discover what they envision and travel with them into the future.

UBC is proud to mark its 100th anniversary as a global leader in education, research innovation and community engagement.
Learn more about the UBC Centennial.

Story Credits

Thank you to all of our participants for their willingness to predict the unknown.

Special thanks to Tim Herron, Events and Technical Services Manager, Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, for giving us lots of space to be creative and Public Affairs for suggestions on researchers for the story.

Story team: UBC Communications and Marketing — Martin Dee, UBC Photographer; Margaret Doyle, Digital Storyteller; Michael Kam, Web Developer; Lina Kang, Web Coordinator; Adrian Liem, Manager, Digital Communications; Mark Pilon, Designer; Aida Viziru, Web Interaction Designer; Matt Warburton, Manager, Graphic Design.

Published: February 2016