Assistant Professor of Design
Beth Ferguson is an Assistant Professor of Design at UC Davis. She is an ecological designer whose practice blends industrial design with sustainable transportation, solar engineering, climate resiliency, and public engagement. She is the founder of the Adapting City Lab whose work includes micromobility systems, sustainable product design, and resiliency planning for a changing climate. Ferguson is also the director of Sol Design Lab, a design/build studio that specializes in solar charging stations and was awarded the Austin Green Award in 2017 for the Austin Energy Electric Drive Solar Kiosk. She participated in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge with the interdisciplinary team Public Sediment, which won the Honor Award for Analysis and Planning from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Best Places Award from the Environmental Design Research Association in 2019. Her interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Exploratorium Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, TEDx Presidio, Bay Area Maker Faire, and Otago Museum in New Zealand. Her collaborative work has been featured in Fast Company, The New York Times, BBC, and Texas Architect Magazine. She is a San Francisco Autodesk Technology Center Fellow, a Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellow, and a former ZERO1 American Arts Incubator Fellow.
Prof. Ferguson’s interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Exploratorium Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The ZERO1 San Jose Biennial, Otago Museum in New Zealand, and the Oliver Art Center at California College of Art, among other venues. She has presented her work internationally at venues like the New Zealand International Science Festival, Reframing Urban Resilience Implementation in Barcelona, Spain, and Carriageworks in Sydney, Australia. She has been included in the International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces at Stanford University and the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at UC Santa Barbara. She has received grants for her research from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, the Green Initiative Fund, Senate Bill 1, the City of Austin, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the U.S. Department of State. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chalk Hill Artist Residency in Healdsburg, CA.
In 2017, Ferguson won the Austin Green Award for her Electric Drive Solar Kiosk in Austin, TX, which was also featured in the “Better Together” IDSA and AIGA San Francisco juried show. In 2018, she participated in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, partnering with team Public Sediment led by SCAPE. Public Sediment for Alameda Creek received the Honor Award for Analysis and Planning in the American Society of Landscape Architects 2019 Professional Awards, the Best Places Award from the Environmental Design Research Association, and $31.4M in implementation funding from the State of California.
At UC Davis, she is the founder of the Adapting City Lab, co-founder of the Product Design Lab, and faculty committee chair of the Design Department’s new makerspace. As a specialist in industrial design, she has played a key role in collaboration with many units on the UC Davis campus, including the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility program, cEnergi Lab, and the Bicycling Plus Research Collaborative. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Energy Graduate Group at the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute and at the Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Group at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Professor Ferguson previously taught at Stanford University, Hampshire College, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Professional appointments include serving on the City of Emeryville Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and as a judge for the UC Berkeley Big Ideas competition. Ferguson has worked on international sustainability projects in Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. She received a Design MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Industrial Design and Ecology from Hampshire College.
Publications and Work
Ferguson, B., Maiorana, T., Vega, K., & Cogdell, C. The UC Davis Product Design Lab: Sustainability, Inclusivity, and Creative Exploration. International Journal of Academic Makerspaces and Making, 3. View this Article<https://ijamm.pubpub.org/pub/ez0swd6d/release/1>
Sanguinetti, A., Ferguson, B., Oka, J., Alston-Stepnitz, E., Kurani. K. Designing robo-taxis to promote ride-pooling. International Conference on Human Interaction and Emerging Technologies, Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series, (ed), 1253: 10-16. Springer, New York, New York. View this Article<https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-55307-4_2>
Tira Okamoto, Amanda Brown-Stevens, and Resilient by Design Teams: Public Sediment, Resilient by Design: Bay Area Challenge, 130-147, Resilient by Design: Bay Area Challenge. View this book<http://www.resilientbayarea.org/book>
Ferguson, B., Creative partnerships for emergency solar charging
stations, IFoU 2018: Reframing Urban Resilience Implementation:
Aligning Sustainability and Resilience, Barcelona, Spain 2018
Sanguinetti, A., Ferguson, B., Kurani, K., Designing shared
autonomous vehicles for ride-pooling, UC Davis Institute for
Transportation Studies, EconPapers 2019 and Senate Bill 1 Policy
Ferguson, B., Wittenmyer, A., Visualizing Solar Data, Sustainability Symposium, The University of Texas at Austin, 2015
VentureWell Faculty grant https://venturewell.org/announcing-fall-2020-faculty-grantees/
San Francisco Autodesk Technology Center Residency
Austin Green Award for the Electric Drive Solar Kiosk
Alameda Creek Atlas, Research Category Winner, Great Places Awards, Environmental Design Research Association
Unlock Alameda Creek, AIA California Merit Award
Honor Award Analysis and Planning for Public Sediment for Alameda Creek Professional Award
DES 127A, Introduction to Sustainable Design
This course is intended for students interested in exploring the principles, practice, and materials of sustainable design in the context of the environmental and climate crisis. Through lectures, reading, case studies, field trips, and group projects this course will explore sustainable design in the fields of material science, product design, energy, transportation, the built environment, and visual communication. We will investigate how designers, architects, and engineers use ecological and socially responsible design to address complex systems related to climate change, resource limitations, and ecosystem degradation. The intention is to create a solid understanding of sustainable design methods and their potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
DES 127B, Studio Practice in Sustainable Design
In this studio course, we use inquiry, research, and data to inform work that makes environmental impact visible and known, and that inspires behavioral change. We will further investigate many of the concepts from 127A (Lifecycle Analysis, humanitarian design, material processes, environmental justice, green energy, and more) both locally on the UC Davis campus and beyond. For designers of any medium, this course will ask you to use your voice to make visible and actionable the environmental behaviors of humans.
DES 165, Studio Practices in Industrial Design
This studio course will explore core elements of industrial design through concept ideation, material selection, model making , and fabrication processes. Historic, contemporary, and future developments in industrial design along with industry awareness and sustainability will be covered. Innovation in new material and fabrication technology related to everyday objects, soft goods, portable structures, electronics, furniture, and transportation will be explored in this studio. Applications for common materials such as metals, plastics, wood, ceramics, and composites will be tested. Industrial design processes such as forming, casting, cutting, joining, and finishing will be demonstrated. Practice based course assignments will cover sketching, 3-D form, 3-D rendering, and prototype making. Presentations will highlight social entrepreneurship, environmental responsibility, ethics, and real-world problem solving.