Enviro Heroes: Dawn Danby

Photo: http://rwphotographic.com - Raina Kirn & Wilson Barry

Design advocate and writer

For Dawn Danby, design isn't just about objects. "There is so much stuff - too much stuff," says the Torontonian now living in San Francisco. I'm interested in tool-sharing, co-op structures, providing people with things they don't necessarily need to own."

Danby trained as an industrial designer at the Rhode Island School of Design, which is where she became interested in the ecological impacts hidden in product-design decisions. These days, she focuses on sustainable design as it relates to the urban environment. Along with Canadian artist Noel Harding and visual arts professor Rod Strickland, Danby has been an integral member of the Green Corridor Project, a redevelopment of the bridge corridor linking Canada and the U.S. at the Windsor-Detroit crossover. The team of planners, building and landscape architects, educators, city planners and residents are working to turn the two-kilometre-long concrete jungle into a regenerative green zone.

As well as her design work, Danby frequently contributes to worldchanging.com, an online environmental magazine. She has also written several essays on sustainable design in the industrial world - appropriate, since she holds an MBA in sustainable business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

As a designer, Danby's goals are down to earth and practical: to develop environmentally sustainable systems and products that change the way we all experience the built environment.

Now with Autodesk, a software engineering company, Danby is a much sought-after speaker on sustainable design, and she continues to shine a light back on Windsor and the power of design to change the way we think about and interact with the environment.

This article is part of Enviro Heroes, a series spotlighting the efforts of individuals determined to make a difference. It was updated in April 2009.