Sustainability Summit

Sustainability Live Keynote

Dr Janis Birkeland will deliver the opening keynote for the first ever 100% virtual, Sustainability Digital Summit.

Dr Birkeland contends that sustainability is a design problem.  Designers can rescue the planet and the poor by creating urban environments that multiply net public gains over their lifecycles.  Her proposed reforms to decision-making processes and design frameworks aim to reverse the obstacles to sustainable design embedded in sustainability methods, metrics, models and mindsets.  Nevertheless, development could be designed to increase social and natural life-support systems through net-positive design – now.  However, she cautions against greenwashing which has led many to believe that regenerating communities and environments is enough when, in fact, current conceptions of ‘green building’ reduce future options.

“I am excited about this year’s Sustainability Summit because, finally, we appear to be in the midst of a paradigm shift from recycling, restoration, and renewal to net-positive environments for society and nature. Design is becoming recognized as a crucial means of constructing a genuinely sustainable society. Design Awards, by presenting tangible evidence of advances, also engender the hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and critical mass needed to save the planet.”

Currently Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne – Dr Janis Birkeland has devoted her personal, professional, and academic life to socio-ecological sustainability.

Session Information

View the 2023 Sustainability Summit on demand.


Dr Janis Birkeland

Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning | University of Melbourne