Looking Back, Moving Forward

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Samira Shiridevich, Assistant Professor, Arts and Art History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Communication Beyond Language: Using Participatory Design Toolkits to Transcend Lingual, Cultural, and Technical Barriers View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Juanjuan "June" He  

This study investigates the effectiveness of using participatory design toolkits to create communications across diverse participants. It evaluates and provides an effective method to assist inter-generational and cross-cultural communications, especially with people who do not speak English well. This research helps to include voices from underrepresented communities in the United States and increase awareness of their needs and situations. The qualitative research methods, including interviews, open-ended surveys, and reflective writings were used to help understand the benefits and impact of the toolkits and relevant methods. The result of the research demonstrates improved communication and enhanced learning experience from users across different age groups and cultural backgrounds. The limitation of the research is the participants’ sample size. But we are enrolling more participants moving forward. The research demonstrates that well-designed participatory design toolkits, with an emphasis on participants’ cultural contexts and lived experiences, can greatly enhance communication even if participants face multiple barriers. Further studies will explore more innovative media to create targeted participatory design toolkits, thus bringing more underrepresented voices to the mainstream.

From Troubles to Triumph: The Role of Design Culture in Establishing a Design Policy in Northern Ireland View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Michelle Douglas  

As design policies and national design strategies are becoming more prevalent in developed countries, there is a clear nudge to governments’ improved understanding on the positive value of design and design-led economies. This new context of support and awareness is developing in contrast to the reality that some regional areas continue to operate in troubled economies and societies that place design at the bottom of its priorities for policy making. As a devolved government that operates within the UK, Northern Ireland (NI) has elements of socio-economic deprivation and a troubled history of conflict. While wider research indicates it has the weakest design economy in the UK, there is limited understanding or identification for the reasons behind it. This research uses a grounded theory approach to observe the culture nuances (tacit habits, behaviours and perceptions) amongst the NI design community and builds a framework of ten recommendations that can inform policymakers towards considering a policy for design in the region. It exposes a design culture that is insular yet resilient and reveals broader perceptions of a society and government that both undervalues and misunderstands design. While most policy labs build upon participatory, collaborative and co-design methods to engage with stakeholders, this research uses grounded theory and inductive reasoning to develop a theory from within a design community, laying the foundations for policy making to begin.

Too Futuristic and Too Unnatural?: A Speculative Design Approach to the Issue of Citizen Acceptance of Urban Vertical Farming View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Charlotte Britton,  Oliver Szasz  

Urban vertical farming has received much attention in recent years for its potential to transform global food production and supply, tackling many crippling, systemic issues. Current technology promises a new vision of the future of food; however, studies show that it is not always embraced by the public. This paper takes a speculative design approach to the issue of citizen acceptance of urban vertical farming, particularly with regard to the perception of the technology as ‘too futuristic’ and ‘too unnatural’. A literature review sets out secondary research conducted into the psychological, spiritual, and social roots of this barrier, as well as the interrelated topics of organic food certification, nature connectedness, and rewilding. On this basis, a range of qualitative primary research methods are used to uncover new insights. Photo elicitation interviews with citizens explore their aversion to ‘futuristic’ and ‘unnatural’ farming practices while in-store vertical farm observations uncover certain key customer behaviours. Finally, in-depth expert interviews on the future of food and vertical farming are set out. Using the grounded theory methodology, all results are analysed and synthesised, and three speculative scenarios are developed that demonstrate possible future perspectives in which citizens live in different relationships with urban vertical farming and nature. The scenarios are visualised and presented in a virtual exhibition space where an audience can engage and contribute their comments and criticisms. The aim of this project is to inspire debate and action to address the barriers to urban vertical farming and help to realise the technology’s potential.

A Study on Stucco Architectural Patterns of Ahom Brick Monuments of Assam, India View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Saurav Khuttiya Deori  

The Ahom dynasty ruled Assam, India, for nearly 600 years in Assam (1228–1826). Their reign had a significant impact on the cultural heritage of Assam. Today, most of the surviving tangible heritage of Assam, like early monuments, has the imprints of Ahom architecture. These architectures are constructed using stones, bricks and mortars. Most of the brick architectures have managed to survive in fragments; this is due to natural causes like earthquakes, vegetation and weather conditions of the landscape. This cause has significantly impacted the existing ornamentations of these heritage buildings. The pilot study discloses that out of more than 30 Ahom monuments, only three brick monuments have managed to survive the stucco ornamentations. These are Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar of Sivasagar District and Kareng Ghar of Charaideu district of Assam, India. Considering conserving these ornamentations, this paper examines the stucco patterns and their underlying design principles used as architectural ornamentation. The study includes photos and video documentation along with semi-structured interviews. As the data were extensive, the categorization method to structure the data has been adopted. With the categorized data, Variation, Visual, and Symmetry analysis are considered. The analysis considers the analysis of shapes, forms, colours, and textures used in pattern compositions. To study the variations in structural arrangements, one-dimensional pattern class analysis has been considered. The results attempts to disclose a visual framework of the dominant pattern types and pattern classes used by the early artisans and the underlying design principles followed to achieve harmony in the overall structure.

Shifting Design Thinking to a Circular Design Perspective: Reframing the Process of Circular Innovation View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Carla Sedini,  Cabirio Cautela,  Stefano Maffei,  Massimo Bianchini  

Design Thinking (DT) is a design innovation approach whose essential characteristics, such as framing challenges iteratively with a human-centered perspective, might still be helpful when sustainability issues arise. But, they are no longer sufficient because the diffusion of the Circular Economy (CE) paradigm requires a profound revision of DT principles. Circular Innovation depends on systemic design thinking: DT vision is now confronted with emerging approaches such as Systems Design, Transition Design, and Distributed Design (Barbero et al., 2015; Sevaldson et al., 2015; Irwin, 2014; Diez et al., 2017) that address sustainable innovation going beyond the so-called eco-design of products and services. In recent years, toolkits like The Circular Design Guide and The Systemic Design Toolkit have been developed to interpret DT in a Circular Economy framework. They constitute interesting examples for stimulating systemic and circular innovation but still lack a critical assessment of their application, such as evaluating their effectiveness/impact. The paper includes a literature review of DT and CE to identify the relevant relationships between the two approaches that will allow us to shift the DT framework within the Circular Innovation paradigm. It is the basis for analyzing exemplary cases of tools/toolkits/processes (and a selection of connected use cases) for circular design innovation. The matching of these knowledge layers allow us to address the relationship between DT and CE and help to produce a critical renewal of the theoretical and operational framework of DT needed to incorporate the systemic approach for Circular Innovation.

BiodiverCities - Citizen Engagement in Co-designing Wild Pollinator Urban Habitats View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Justė Motuzaitė,  Ruta Valusyte  

This paper considers how design-driven methods can facilitate citizen engagement in urban ecosystem regeneration, focusing on wild bees. The research addresses the need for a better understanding of wild pollinators and tools aimed to 1) develop cities where humans and wild nature could coexist and 2) facilitate discussion with different stakeholders on public engagement within the following theme. An action research project, "BiodiverCities I", is used as the method within this paper. The project provides design tools and educational methods to facilitate urban nature regeneration through citizen engagement. Two engagement activities were delivered during the project: 1) a survey on emotions related to wild bees and 2) a co-design session. Twenty participants from various fields and age groups were engaged. During the co-design session, participants used locally available materials to design wild bee nests and install them in the nearby area. The results show that the activities led to solid empathetic feelings towards the wild bee species, and practical knowledge about environmental regeneration based on requirements for the habitat of the wild bees, enabling citizens to create solutions to the pollinator decline problem. Co-design sessions guide the discussion about wild biodiversity in the cities and improve citizen engagement, while design tools such as visual memos or thematic questions can effectively guide citizens to their own decisions, foster self-incentive and facilitate a better understanding of interspecies. This paper contributes to the existing knowledge of how nature-centric design can facilitate the coexistence of humans and wild nature in cities.

Digital Media

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