Carnegie Mellon Professor Laura Lee was recently named Adelaide's 'Thinker in Residence.' Formerly head of the university's School of Architecture, Lee is spending part of the year helping South Australia to introduce a design policy lens for the State's Strategic Plan.
"Adelaide, South Australia's capital, is a smart city where innovation is a way of life," said Premier Mike Rann who started the Thinker in Residence program in 2002. "We have a reputation for innovation in many fields — the arts, social policy, the sciences, industry and government. Adelaide Thinkers in Residence build on the reputation that has made South Australia one of the most progressive states in the world, and a fabulous place in which to live, work and visit."
An internationally acclaimed architect, Lee has taught at universities in Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland and is a senior fellow of the Washington, D.C., think-tank Design Futures Council. Her residency will focus on the value of design and the built environment's impact on the quality of life for South Australians.
"I have the great opportunity to extend the impact of previous Thinkers who are world experts in areas ranging from early childhood education and homelessness to bioscience and new media. I also have the great privilege of working with a diverse group of partners from academia, government, industry and professional practice."
Lee specializes in bringing agencies together to work collaboratively on built design projects. She will work with the state government's departments of Health, Arts, Education and Planning, as well as the Australian Institute of Architects, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.
Lee's mission is to increase awareness and understanding of good design as integral to a sustainable future for South Australia and to identify current and potential strengths and key design influencers. She will assist in the development of an integrated design strategy for South Australia, leading to new models of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Through establishing local, national and international networks, Lee also hopes to expand business opportunities for the design and building industries in the state.
Photo: Laura Lee is on the terrace of the new South Australia Water building, a "six star green rated" facility on Victoria Square in Adelaide, overlooking Carnegie Mellon's Torrens Building.