Former White House staffer and rising design activist Billy Fleming presents the next Hyde lecture

Former White House staffer and rising design activist Billy Fleming presents the next Hyde lecture

By Kerry McCulloug...

January 22, 2020


The College of Architecture is excited to announce Billy Fleming, the Wilks Family Director of the Ian McHarg Center at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, will be giving the next Hyde lecture titled "Design and the Green New Deal” at 4 p.m., February 7th, at the Nebraska Union Auditorium.

For this lecture, Fleming will explore how landscape architects have been conspicuously absent at key political flashpoints of the past decade, including Occupy Wall Street, the Standing Rock protests and now the Green New Deal. The field has responded to neoliberalism with ever larger global corporate practices, a proliferation of boutique design firms and a retreat from public service. The profession has ceded most government work to engineers. Professional societies have further depoliticized the field, ensuring that landscape architects are locked out of the policymaking process and constrained by the limits it imposes.

As currently formulated, the Green New Deal is a set of risky, ambitious positions, involving the decarbonization of the economy, national investments in climate adaptation and a fusion of working-class and environmental politics with a program of social justice.

The Green New Deal is a generational investment in planning and design that will radically transform the social and physical landscape of the United States. It is the biggest design idea in a century. However, it is happening without designers and landscape architects. Whatever form the Green New Deal eventually takes, it will be realized and understood through buildings, landscapes and other public works. It needs designers—and designers need a Green New Deal for themselves, for the professions and for the planet.

Fleming is also co-author of “The Indivisible Guide”, co-editor of “Design With Nature Now” and “The Adaptation Blueprint”, author of Drowning America: The Nature and Politics of Adaptation”, and co-founder of Data Refuge. His writing has been published in The Atlantic, Jacobin, Dissent, CityLab, The Guardian, Landscape Journal, and LA+. Before joining Penn, Fleming worked on urban policy development in the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama Administration.

This presentation is part of the College of Architecture’s 2019-2020 Hyde Lecture Series featuring speakers from across disciplines that are united under the common theme of “OUR WORK / YOUR WORK - Designing and Planning For Political Engagement”.

The college’s Hyde Lecture Series is a long-standing, endowed, public program. Each year the college hosts compelling speakers in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and planning that enrich the ongoing dialog around agendas that are paramount to the design disciplines and our graduates.

For questions, email Kerry McCullough-Vondrak at