Yestermorrow Strategic Plan 2017-2020

Our strategic plan is based on a simple, yet critical idea: People shape, and they are shaped by the places in which they live.

The design of our built environments - our homes, public spaces, material objects, etc. - have a profound influence on our sense of self, and our sense of place within our communities, local ecosystems, and the planet as a whole. Yestermorrow is about empowering everyone - from do-it-yourselfers, to design professionals - with the skills and confidence to create places and things that reflect their values.

This plan is focused on impacting the intersection of three big issues: climate change, rapid urbanization, and social justice.

According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change, to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 percent by the year 2030. The year 2030 is also expected to be a milestone for our cities: 150 percent more urban areas are expected to be built by that year to accommodate 1.35 billion more urban dwellers. These two conflicting issues exacerbate the conditions for social exclusion and racial segregation found in most of our built environment today. It is the world’s poor and disenfranchised that are feeling the worst effects of climate change.

These issues constitute a “wicked problem” - they cannot be solved in isolation, or with the same mindsets that created them.

That’s why we’re calling for a revolution in design/build education. Our Strategic Plan focuses on systems thinking - examining problems in the context of relationships rather than in isolation; and prioritizes design solutions for climate resilience and social justice.

Yestermorrow is a primarily white organization. We - Yestermorrow’s staff, instructors, students, donors, and friends - have benefited from the privilege afforded to us through a history of racism and inequality. We acknowledge this fact as a starting point in our commitment to dismantle racism in all its forms. We believe in the empowerment afforded by a quality design/build education, and we’re passionate about creating inspired, healthy, and inclusive communities. We therefore actively challenge the reigning dynamics of power and privilege that limit opportunities for people of color and historically marginalized communities.

Our revolution in design/build education is centered on four themes:

Teach. We will expand our course offerings related to design/build for healthy, inclusive, and climate-resilient communities.

Experiment. We will become a living laboratory for sustainable design/build, and experiment the latest best practices for net-zero, regenerative design, and resource-efficient fabrication.

Convene. We will bring people from diverse fields and backgrounds around the table, and expand our role as a hub for conversations across disciplines and boundaries.

Impact. We will ensure our programs have positive, measurable impacts for individuals and communities.