DCP Students Organize First-Ever Ethics and the Built Environment Symposium


Organized by DCP doctoral students, the Ethics and the Built Environment Symposium aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between ethics and the built environment, especially within the rapid pace of cultural and technological production, agricultural challenges, and climate change in our contemporary world; to promote the consideration of ethics in the production of the built environment; to initiate and sustain a dialogue between the fields of arts, humanities and sciences on this common ground, thus providing a more holistic understanding of the subject; and to encourage the influence of humanities discourses in the scientific fields.

We talked with one of the organizers prior to the symposium to learn more.

Name: Carla Brisotto

Year: Third-year Ph.D. student

Discipline: Architecture

  1. Who came up with this idea to have a symposium? What’s the purpose of the event?

I thought it would be a great idea to organize a symposium, but I couldn’t do it alone. So I put out the word to all my Ph.D. colleagues, and together, we created a symposium that establishes a common ground between all the disciplines of the college.

The purpose of having the Ethics and the Built Environment Symposium is because it’s a topic that is meaningful across multiple disciplines at the same time. It involves all the different themes and topics of the college.

Another reason why we decided to have the symposium was because our future responsibility will be in academics, not only in terms of research and teaching, but also service. But we felt that part was missing. We learn to teach by having a TA position and we can learn to research because we’re getting a Ph.D., but the service part was missing. So organizing the symposium was also making us strong in terms of future job hunting.

  1. What is your expectations for the event? How many people are you expecting to see?

It’s hard to tell at this point, but we’ve reached out to the college, around campus and also in the local community, so we’re hoping that we’ll have a good turnout.

We have a few keynote speakers and then 3 panelists of discussions. We picked them based on the topics they were presenting. We have all the departments represented in the panels, as well as the presentations.

  1. What makes this event unique? What are you hoping that someone attending will be able to take away from this event?

As designers, we are facing new challenges for the profession, such as climate change, human rights and social injustice. These problems are often approached scientifically, however we felt that a real commitment to solve these issues had to involve also ethics. Ethics can help us ground the issues and find the common ground amongst all the disciplines. It’s important for someone who will become an architect, a designer or a planner to not only have a practical approach, but also a theoretical and ethical understanding of the problems we are asked to solve.

Organizers of the Symposium:

  • Carla Brisotto, Ph.D. student in Architecture
  • Bahar Aktuna, Ph.D. student in Architecture
  • Beth McGee, Ph.D. student in Interior Design
  • Lesa Lorusso, Ph.D. student in Interior Design
  • Djundi Tjindra, Ph.D. student in Urban and Regional Planning
  • Luiz Felipe Ungericht, Ph.D. student in Urban and Regional Planning
  • Martha Battaglin Ramos, Ph.D. student in Landscape Architecture
  • Hamed Hakim, Ph.D. student in Building Construction
  • Ronald Ratliff, Ph.D. candidate in Urban and Regional Planning
  • Charlie Hailey, professor in Architecture
  • Ruth Steiner, professor in Urban and Regional Planning
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