Processes of globalization and urbanization have formed many exceptionally diverse population in cities around the world. This intermingled living of multiple identities defaults to emergent communities coalesced around elemental notions of identity and proximity. This creates demands on social and political processes that are rarely supported with reflexive insight and expression among groups. As a result, individuals are encouraged to be self-reliant in negotiating the existing societal power structures thereby creating less resilient social cohesion and reciprocity. Doha Metro:Doha Social is a concept design and speculative social innovation project exploring possible ways artists and designers in Qatar can create encounters throughout the Doha Metro rail system that inspire individuals of Doha’s diverse public to appreciate each other more. It is a project re-imagining the Doha Metro as a public space where experiences with creative works can extend the metro into becoming a social resource helping to cultivate a more interconnected and compassionate society. Doha Metro:Doha Social is a collaboration of university student designers and artists constructing ideas of how the metro users can engage with the rich diversity of human experience and meaning that the public of Doha possesses. This paper outlines the project’s strategy, structure, and outcomes as an account of how design can position itself as a practice of conditioning environments, experiences, and encounters capable of cultivating new cultural structures and social dynamics. This outline provides the basis of a critical assessment of the project’s intent of generating conditions of community within colonial, capitalist, inequitable social contexts.
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, Virginia Commonwealth University Arts Qatar, Qatar
Design in Diverse Publics, Design for Community, Social Transformation Design