A new economic model for Oregon

Sarah Costello is Vice President of Development and Communications for the International Living Future Institute. You can reach her at sarah.costello@living-future.org or 503.228.5533.

Sarah Costello is Vice President of Development and Communications for the International Living Future Institute. You can reach her at sarah.costello@living-future.org or 503.228.5533.

Last month, I had the pleasure of helping to launch the Oregon BEST Red List Design Challenge, a competition that my organization, the International Living Future Institute, is running in collaboration with Oregon BEST.

We’re calling on the world’s most innovative designers to present their ideas for a new building product that meets a demonstrated market need and that could be manufactured using materials sustainably drawn from the State of Oregon’s rich natural resources. Since my organization is the home of the Living Building Challenge, it will come as no surprise that we require competition teams to ensure that the products they design are free of any chemicals on our Red List of worst-in-class toxins.

As for the kinds of products we’re looking for, the sky is the limit. The winner could be anything from a tiny but critical new piece of monitoring equipment to an engineered structural wood product, anything that meets our requirements and has the potential to tap into major market demand.

Now, competitions are exciting, and it’s going to be great to see the range of entries that I’m sure this design challenge will elicit from around the world. (Our last competition drew 15 entries from Hong Kong alone; so I know there’s an international audience for this kind of thing.) But I think there’s something deeper at work here, something that sets this competition apart from the rest.

That’s because the real goal of the Oregon BEST Red List Design Challenge isn’t just to get a bunch of cool new design ideas from around the world. Nope, the real goal is to create a new vision for deep and lasting prosperity in Oregon’s manufacturing and natural resources industries.

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