The first day’s events at Dwell on Design are coming to a close, and the star-studded line up and community-centered discussion didn’t disappoint. The morning started off with a bang with Mark Lakeman, Co-Founder of City Repair Project, who set the bar high, talking about community empowerment and grassroots organizations taking their communities into their own hands. Michelle Kaufmann, always a crowd-pleaser, spoke mid-day about her approach to prefab housing and her practice’s design strategies for greener lifestyles. Read on for more of the day’s highlights, and be sure to come by the conference Sunday at 3:30pm, when Inhabitat’s Managing Editor Emily Pilloton will be speaking about humanitarian and green design as community development tool.

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John Hockenberry moderated most of the day’s events, and attendees could submit their own questions through the new “On Stage At Dwell” site that electronically spooled questions directly to the stage.

One of the surprise delights of the day was Alice Waters, famed chef and founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation, who spoke about her Edible Schoolyard project in Berkeley. The community-centered kitchen and garden program is an example of how we can “learn from the landscape” and inspire community development through ecologically-centered education and activity. Waters’ long-time commitment to healthy food and environments was apparent in the project, which serves as a great model for other projects across the country.

The day came to a close with Reed Kroloff of the Cranbrook Academy, who spoke about the role of a good architect, Craig Hartman of SOM who spoke about San Francisco’s Treasure Island’s future, and Gwynne Pugh of Pugh and Scarpa, who talked about the role of context in design, particularly in reference to Pugh and Scarpa’s mixed-use project on San Diego’s waterfront.

Tomorrow is only a half-day conference, but we’ll make sure to report the exciting news. Also stay tuned for highlights from the conference’s Exhibition section, which was filled with interesting companies and green products.

+ Dwell on Design 2007