Social & Systems Design

We all live within systems, whether man made or natural. To understand our impacts or our influence it is best to comprehend the layout of the system. Mutualistic Systems are no different, although we overlay the ethical implications of each touch point. These designs look into how we can create change by examining the layout of the system and who are the stakeholders that can create change within complex systems.

Greening a College: 

This systems analysis examined the College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning at the University of Cincinnati and how this college could navigate the process of becoming more green. There had been many attempts to launch green initiatives over the years but unfortunately due to limited ‘buy in’ by the appropriate people the programs faded with time.  The fundamental concepts to understand in creating permanent change there is to understand the “Scale of Permanence” when it comes to the stakeholders and projects. This is important to understand, both from a social side and from a project/initiative side as Colleges are transient places projects can fail if the system is not properly understood.Greening DAAP Final

The System of Elon Musk:

Tesla is a company that has been challenging convention since its start with electric sports cars. Elon Musk joined in on this journey and began to push the development of a post carbon world on many fronts. This proposal documents that vision and where one could take such a broad vision to its next logical conclusion through self driving connectivity for efficiency. (this was a group project which included Alison Rednour, Parvaneh Maleki, Jiani Zhu)

Final Presentation:

Click here: TESLA FINAL

Final Poster:

tesla poster

Permaganic Authenticated ®:

The World’s first Regenerative/Mutualistic Farm Certification

Permaganic Authenticated came about from an idea of Luke Ebner, a colleague of mine. He asked if I thought we could create a Permaculture Farm certification back in 2010. I thought it was possible and ran it past some of the leaders in the field; including author Dave Jacke and Dr. Elaine Ingham, one of the world’s foremost organic soil microbiologists; and they both supported the idea. We spent the next 7 years working on getting it launched. We had a soft launch in 2012 at the Carbon Farming Course in Chestnut Ridge, NY and a more formal launch as part of the show, Green Acres, Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, later that year. The following year it traveled to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. We continued working on it for the next 3 years to get it registered as an official Certification Mark by the USPTO, which was submitted in 2015 and approved in March of 2017. This Certification verifies various farming practices and energy systems in use on farms that make up half of the top 25 strategies to not only stop climate change but reverse it within the next 30 years if implemented on reasonable scale. This certification will make those practices more market viable through informing the public of their use in the manufacture of the food and products they purchase. To Learn more please visit

Symbiotic/Mutualistic Design Guide ©:

My Master’s Thesis was a critique of the Circular Economy and its weaknesses, which include its non-critique on Planned and Perceived Obsolescence. This is founded in the lack of accounting of the net energy and materials economy with the Circular Economy.  My thesis looked into the broader economic system and its lack of investment into resilience and energy efficiency, which is how natural ecosystems invest their excess resources. In order to move beyond Planned and Perceived Obsolescence we must take into account these concepts in order to build a resilient and mutualistic economy. The failures of perpetual growth for Wall Street and its result of Planned & Perceived Obsolescence are simply a lack of recognition, much less accounting of net energy theory and how to behave more like natural systems, the only force known to humanity against Entropy.

Energy and our Possible Futures:

A Taxonomy of Futures for Energy

A concise overview of Mutualistic Products:

depletion Resource

Symbiotic/Mutualistic Design Guide Page 1 ©: A deeper look at Finite or Renewable Energy & Materials and developing a proper relationship with Consumable or Durable Products

Symbiotic Design Guide digital copy

Symbiotic/Mutualistic Design Guide Page 2 ©: An if/then Guide based on Clients business model, which defines whether to use Circular Design (bottom) or Symbiotic/Mutualistic Design (top) Process. The Mutualistic Design process is detailed through all steps in products lifespan. It includes designations of types of products and their ultimate repair and disposal.

Symbiotic Design Guide digital copy 2