In Conversation with Gretchen Bakke: The 2021 Lucas J. Daniel Perspective in Sustainable Systems

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IIT Institute of Design has invited cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, to discuss a huge systems design and sustainability challenge during this virtual lecture. More than ever, electricity is a critical means for connection in our lives, as we all plug in for Zoom conversations (like this one) that have come to replace in-person activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In conversation with ID faculty Weslynne Ashton and Carlos Teixeira and Illinois Tech Distinguished Bodine Chair Professor Mohammad Shahidehpour—director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation—Bakke will reveal the social aspects of infrastructure and technological management, Chicago’s own relationship with ‘the grid’ and microgrids (including Illinois Tech’s own microgrid), and design’s critical and urgent role in reimagining this deeply important civic infrastructure. How do we incorporate renewables and principles of the circular economy to produce a preferred future for the grid—one that is both sustainable and equitable?

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