Understanding the Intrinsic Value of our Planet to Fight Climate Change ft. Dr Richard Byron-Cox

This episode of the “What’s Wrong With” podcast, created by SOUR, features Dr. Richard Byron-Cox, the Head of the Capacity Development and Innovation Office at the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. There he is responsible for inter alia, for spearheading the capacity development programme; coordinating the internship/mentorship programme; and leading the Secretariat’s programme on innovations.

In his present work, Dr. Byron-Cox has realized many firsts including masterminding the conceptualization, design, development, and implementation of UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace, its exclusive e-learning platform, as well as the world’s first-ever project aimed at achieving Land Degradation Neutrality in 14 countries around the world. He holds a PhD in public international law, and he is a trained and experienced diplomat, international relations specialist and linguist.

About SOUR

We believe the world has spent enough time sugar-coating; it is time we get real, confront, and be SOUR.

SOUR is an international award-winning architecture and design studio with the mission of addressing so​cial and​ur​ban problems through sustainable, adaptive and inclusive design processes.

We are designers, architects, researchers, educators, optimists, and urban dwellers. While the word, SOUR, is a play on the words social and urban, the meaning describes our attitude. We don’t shy away from challenges. We embrace discomfort. Like the process of sourdough making, we take our time: to research, synthesize, and ideate — in order to generate data-inspired and purposeful design solutions.

With all the problems and learning curves we witness throughout history, and today, we believe being a creative team comes with responsibilities. Our skills shall be channels of awareness, and our process should be strong examples of diverse collaborations. We need to respect nature and nurture the minds of people in our designs. We must constantly educate ourselves and share knowledge. We have to perform thorough research and generate results that are data inspired. And we must treat each concept as a prototype, iterating and evolving designs to become future-proof.

About the Founders

Inanc Eray, Partner, MArch is an architect and designer with more than fifteen years of internationaldesign experience. He graduated from Middle East Technical University Faculty of Architecture in Ankara, Turkey in 2003 with a BArch degree with Honors. From 2003 to 2005 he attended DRL- Design Research Lab at Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He graduated in 2005 with Honors and received the degree of Master of Architecture and Urbanism.

After his graduation he joined Zaha Hadid Architects in London where he resided full time for 8 years. During this period, he led several design commissions and competitions and won international prizes within ZHA where he mastered computational design, digital manufacturing techniques and digital design, as well as design / construction administration, code and planning legislations. His final project at ZHA, Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park London, was completed in 2013, where he was the lead designer and the project architect of the project from inception to completion.

In 2013, he was shortlisted by Istanbul Modern and MoMA for “Top 5 Young Architects in Turkey”.

Since the founding of SOUR, Inanc has led many international architecture, urban design and product design projects that won international awards and that were published in major outlets such as Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, ArchDaily, Design Milk, The New Yorker and Domus. Same year, he established İnanç Eray Architects in Istanbul.

Pinar Guvenc, Partner, MSc manages the business operations, in addition to leading the strategicplanning, research and partnerships efforts of SOUR. Prior to SOUR, Pinar co-founded various ventures where she helped set-up company infrastructure and grow them through funding or incubation, achieving

international recognition and awards. New York Functional Furniture – an ecommerce platform for functional furniture designed in NYC, was acquired by Lazzoni USA after its showroom opening in 2015 and Sponge Inc. – a clean-tech startup – won three international awards, and has been accepted to EU’s Climate KIC Accelerator in Netherlands and Plug and Play Incubator in California, USA.

Pinar is also Part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design, School of Design Strategies and serves on the Board of Directors of Open Style Lab, a nonprofit organization initiated at MIT, with the purpose of making style accessible to people of all abilities. She created and teaches a strategic collaborations workshop series for Pratt Center for Community Development and Made in NYC initiative.

Pinar is a frequent public speaker and a guest lecturer, and hosts the panels and podcasts of What’s Wrong With, a series of discussions with progress makers and experts to diagnose real problems, ideate solutions and raise awareness to the general public.

Pinar has a BSc in Industrial Engineering and MSc in Economics & Finance

What is What’s Wrong With?

Driven by such mission and ethos, we follow a robust research agenda which comprises desk research, expert interviews and ethnographic studies, execution of synthesis and ideation sessions internally and with diverse progress makers, and experimentation and prototyping that result as our concepts and inform design solutions. As there is no solution to any problem without the education and engagement of the end user, we have decided to start opening up our process to the public, through ​What’s Wrong With.

What’s Wrong With (www/) is a diagnostic discussion series where the progress makers, boundary pushers and creative leaders discuss problems in various fields, share insights and ideate together. www/ is growing to become a research collective of people who want to find sustainable solutions that are applicable today and tomorrow.

At www/, SOUR’s synthesis and ideation sessions turn into panel discussions that are open to the public. Panelists with diverse backgrounds who do progressive work on the matter are invited to these panels.. P​ast events include www/Cities at Pratt Institute, www/Fashion at Parsons School of Design, www/Health at The Farm Soho, www/Food at 100 Bogart and www/Design again at Parsons School of Design. The speakers included progress makers from various fields, including Lyft, CFDA, Gotham Greens, StartUp Health, Makerbot and Open Style Lab. The latest event, ​What’s Wrong With Art?​, which took place online, included speakers from The Other Art Fair, Roots Studio, Artolution and Damien Davis Studio.

The studio’s expert interviews became accessible to all through What’s Wrong With: The Podcast​, which is available on all podcasting platforms (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify) as well as ​Youtube​. The bi-weekly podcast has the aim to take a deeper dive into what is really happening in different industries and sectors.

About the Episode

The episode​ with Dr. Byron-Cox (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) is part of the What’s Wrong With: The Podcast (www/) series.

SOUR is always excited to hear new ideas or thoughts, so just shoot them a message – they are open for creative minds and collaborators!

Follow SOUR on Instagram​, ​Facebook​, ​LinkedIn​, and Twitter​.

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