Today was the final day of the Greenbuild 2011 conference in Toronto. This morning I attended a session entitled “Solutions for Healthy Cities: Resiliency and Regeneration.” This session grouped a presentation on a healthy city initiative with two presentations on disaster resilience, a pairing that I was delighted to see. The healthy city presentation was about a project initiative in Mexico City to restore their main river (out of about 45 major rivers running through the city, which is built on a natural self-enclosed wetland area), Rio La Piedad to a more healthy and natural state. The speaker focused on a simple and global mindset regarding sustainability, which was one that focused on human’s role and history in relation to all biological and other natural processes on earth to put things in perspective. He discussed those concepts in terms of the role of water in the environment and the economy and is applying them to the La Piedad restoration project.The second presentation of the session was a talk by an East Coast structural engineer about the role that seismic engineering and performance-based seismic design play in minimizing the impact of our built environment. He kept the discussion very qualitative and discussed the underlying concepts behind our seismic code objectives, how we can improve on those objectives, and the benefits that can be realized through performance-based design. He made mention of the ATC-58 efforts to provide a platform to transition the performance discussion to a risk-based discussion and the ATC-86 effort to include environmental performance in this discussion, an effort that is in its early stages right now. This talk, of course, rang very close to home for me as I’ve been working to quantify the environmental benefits associated with performance-based seismic design via our EnvISA methodology. I was ecstatic to see the concepts that Degenkolb has been advocating for and applying for so long represented at Greenbuild by one of our industry peers.The session closed with a talk by another East Coast structural engineer that applied the same seismic disaster resilience concepts to wind event disaster resilience. It was very interesting to see the perspectives of this individual pertaining to performance-based wind design as the discussion mirrored the core concepts behind performance-based seismic design almost exactly.The conference came to a close for me at an afternoon specialty update session on how to submit a successful Greenbuild education session proposal. I learned a few lessons about the proposal review and selection process and what the selection committees are looking for. These lessons will come in helpful when assembling our proposal for next year’s conference if we choose to submit again (our proposal for this year’s conference made it rather far in the review process but ultimately was not selected).All in all this has been a very productive and informative conference for me. I’m looking forward to bringing all of these lessons back to Degenkolb for incorporation into our design practice, Sustainability Committee efforts, and EnvISA marketing & implementation efforts.