Our community of practice, upcoming conference, & calls for proposals and sponsorship
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Minneapolis' Butler Square
June 2016 update:
  • Wood at Work community of practice: mission, updates, and membership
  • Announcing the Wood at Work 2016 NYC conference!

  • Call for conference proposals is now open! Submissions due July 15

  • Call for sponsorship

  • Projects, stories, and feedback from our 2015 conference

Image above: This new all-wood building is a collaboration between Grimshaw Architects, Kean University's School of Public Architecture, and Nordic Structures—an offshoot of our 2015 conference and an example of our community of practice in action. Completion is slated for fall 2017.

Dear Wood at Work community,

Faster than we imagined, the diverse seeds planted at our last conference have grown into a forest of interdependent, productive relationships. Dozens of new, tangible collaborations are underway as a result: new wood buildings, businesses, research, and capacity development of existing ventures.

We’ll hear more about these projects, along with new ideas, research and projects focused on sustainability, design, and forest conservation—from you!—at our upcoming October 2016 conference! Here we will continue to co-create the ‘wood renaissance’ - a movement that, if tended carefully and thoughtfully, stands to help the global population build healthy, sustainable cities and conserve and restore the forests of the world. Thanks to those who are already ‘on board,’ and a warm welcome to newcomers to the Wood at Work community of practice.

Wood at Work brings together leaders in conservation, forestry, industry innovation, policy, architecture, and urban planning to explore the most advanced ideas, theories, and practices around wood use and forest conservation.

Our mission is to advance the role of wood globally in urban construction, forest conservation, and climate discourse by focusing on the links between sustainable wood use, and the strategies that make sourcing this wood truly beneficial to global conservation efforts and human well-being.

Kenneth Frampton at the Japanese saw table Wood at Work 2015
Wood at Work 2015

W@W Community of Practice
From the beginning, we envisioned W@W as a thriving community of practice: “a group of people who (1) share a common concern, set of problems, or passion about a topic, and who (2) deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area, strengthen their own work, or ‘practice,’ and that of the broader field, by interacting with one another on an ongoing basis.” (Check out Scott’s short blog piece about his collaboration with Wood at Work co-organizer Dr. Sarah Wilson and other academics exploring the relevance of a CofP in our shared domain!)

With more than a hundred and twenty members and growing daily, the W@W community is working across boundaries to create new knowledge and structural changes in the systems we live and work in. Many of us are collaborating on projects connecting industry, culture, conservation, government, design, and academia. Here are some of the ways we are building our community through transdisciplinary work:
  • Since our 2015 conference, our members have initiated meetings, collaborations, and projects with each other, led professional talks, proactively sourced wood, designed new buildings, made films, continued researching the psychological benefits of wood in design, begun promoting portable sawmill use in New York City, and we believe many more projects that are propelling the entire discourse.
  • W@W is creating a new database for sustainable wood sourcing that will link foresters, developers, builders, and anyone else who needs to know how to supply or purchase sustainable timber.
  • By popular demand, we are publishing the proceedings from W@W 2015 in print form.
  • W@W 2016 will be another fantastic opportunity to connect, learn, and co-create!
W@W 2016 Conference - October 2016!
W@W 2016 will again be held in NYC, tentative date Friday, October 28. The venue is to be determined - we are exploring several centrally-located options with the same beauty and atmosphere of last year’s venue, the gorgeous Bronx Zoo. Participants will include leaders from architecture, conservation, business, NGOs, and urban policy. We are in the process of selecting keynote speakers, and welcome your suggestions! Email them to us at

W@W 2016 will feature:
  • Hands-on activities, including a live portable sawmill demo of making lumber from a NYC tree, and a “crash course” in tree identification
  • Cutting-edge research on wood technology, sourcing, policy, and procurement
  • World-famous authors, theorists, and historians on wood as a tool for historic and contemporary culture-building and craftsmanship
  • Presentations on innovative and exciting projects, including project updates from last year
  • Participatory discussions and workshops on current themes and challenges
  • The launch of our new sustainable wood database (funding permitting!)
  • A film debut by Robert Maas on the Uaxactun community forest concession in Guatemala, inspired by last year’s conference
Call for proposals for W@W 2016
Do you have a journal article, paper, field project, business model, or compelling idea that you would like to share with the community? We invite proposals for presentations, demonstrations, tables, workshops, and posters that address any aspect of:
  • Sustainable wood: wood science, procurement, policy, or production
  • Wood in the design of contemporary buildings and other infrastructure
  • Culture and craftsmanship in wood, forest use, and stewardship - from new to ancient
  • Innovations in forest conservation through use, regeneration, community forest management, and livelihoods
We also welcome submissions featuring other themes consistent with the W@W mission. Proposals are due July 15, 2016 and should include the following information:
  • Name, position, affiliation, and contact information of author(s)/presenter(s)
  • Name/title of your submission
  • Type of submission (presentation, speed talk, demonstration, table, workshop, or poster) that you prefer (note: we may substitute one format for another to meet time/space constraints, with your permission)
  • Description (200-250 words) outlining the research/presentation idea, and why it’s relevant to W@W
Please submit your proposals to by July 15, 2016. We will screen, format, and send these out anonymously to the community to aid in selection. Please also invite your colleagues to submit!

Community of Practice diagram
A community of practice as a socio-cultural system

Funding and sponsorship
This year we are again seeking sponsorship from organizations and individuals who support this collective cause. We will be offering increased brand exposure and other additional benefits to sponsors this year. If you are interested in supporting this work, please contact us at It is the support of this community that will make the conference a reality.

Your feedback
How has participation in last year’s conference and our community impacted your ideas, work, and collaboration? And how can we improve this year’s conference? We’ve received so much positive and constructive feedback over the past eight months, but are still looking for additional stories and quotes to feature on our website to give newcomers a sense of what it's like to take part in such an engaging, multi-disciplinary event, and the benefits it can bring.

Save the date! Wood at Work 2016 promises to be even more surprising, engaging, and inspiring than last year. We can’t wait to see you there!

With best wishes,

Scott, on behalf of the Wood at Work team

Scott Francisco, Pilot Projects Design Collective
Jeremy Radachowsky, Wildlife Conservation Society
Sarah Jane Wilson, IFRI, University of Michigan

Copyright © 2016 Pilot Projects Design Collective, All rights reserved.

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