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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  |  11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Open to Conference Attendees Only

Pinking the Pendulum: Progressing a New Future for Healthcare

Susan Black
Principal and Director, Perkins Eastman Black Architects Inc

There is a Diva in our midst: Behold her, a Queen no less than any other – set in time immemorial, a mythical creator whose legend is increasing in its significance today.  She is the unquestioned ruler of our planet, embracing the plant, animal, and human kingdoms with an exalted presence.  Indeed, we owe our life - here on earth - to her.  


She is the Great Mother, our very own Mother Nature – however, she is displeased: our existence no longer seems to be unconditionally supported on her once bountiful earth.  She had high hopes that humans, encouraged through their intelligence, enhanced through evolution, might magnanimously solve earthly dilemmas once and for all.  But abuse has become a way of life - against women in particular, acutely mirrored by exploitation of the homeland. 


We all fear this downward spiral, and yet measure our daily lives in incremental duties and accomplishments with barely a pause for our futures.  We forfeit the resolve for our children and their children to have the same opportunities we have experienced, forgetting that the fate of daughters and the very earth is one of abuse.  Our Diva wonders why women have attained so little status over the millennia – perceiving this failing as an untapped advantage and a dishonour to the balancing principles in nature.


Advocating for women does not infer an intention to disregard or, indeed, marginalize men.  This would be an unworkable imbalance, flying in the face of the disequilibrium we strive to correct.   Recognizing women as major contributors in society would begin a healthy rebalancing of masculine and feminine attributes, innate and important in all of us.


The built environment has played its part – often of abusive arrogance.  Our potential to make amends to the Diva have been thwarted by the marginalization of feminine contributions.  Nevertheless, our built environment can become a worthy catalyst and an integrated agent toward a new paradigm.  As architects and citizens, we have an enormous responsibility to reform our established ways.  Crucially, this reform must involve engaging the perspectives of women toward collective contributions to influence the powerful pervasiveness of how we formulate our built environment.  


Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity to get it right.  We can liberate the proverbial pendulum to find its true center and, in our doing so, rebalance the asymmetry of our current trajectory.  The Diva deserves a heartfelt response.


This presentation is an overt ‘call to action’.  Susan Black will engage, challenge, and inspire attendees to transform the future of healthcare design to consistently be more balanced, generative, and ‘on purpose’.  Susan will draw upon her decades of professional experience, as well as specific project exemplars, to demonstrate the practical benefits of realizing this vision.  All are welcome to participate.   


  1. Learn principles for redressing the disconnect between humans and nature by examining the histories of prehistoric societies and their built environments.
  1. Consider the question of: How much time do we really have to make amends to Mother Nature?
  1. Learn key facts from the disciplines of neuroscience and brain research about men and women, and explore how these can be translated into more generative approaches to formulating our built environments.
  1. Learn how feminine principles, incorporated in the built environment, can support wellbeing, allay chronic suffering, increase flourishing, and meet the unique needs of women – while considering the larger question of: Whether a more balanced built environment can better contribute to world peace?
SESSION FOCUS AREAS: = Generative Space = NOAH