The Future of Design Studio: Social Design for a Complicated World


The systemic interdependency between climate and every single aspect of life has made it evident that when we are talking about climate change, we really are talking about a change in everything. We have known about the problem for decades and still have not done anything consequential about it. Natural disasters are on the rise around the planet. In 2022, the world was devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires of record-breaking proportions, all part of a cyclic trend that has accelerated in the last 10 years. Looking at a future where acres of the planet will be striped bear; coastlines and islands will vanish underwater; mass extinctions of flora and fauna are becoming common occurrence; and humanity is turning numb to human deaths. Even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, we would not escape the impending effects of climate change. It is ironical that in an attempt to make our environment more and more comfortable, humanity has destroyed that environment in the process. Forcing us to ask, how do you design for the future when the future we are designing for is a dystopia that design helped create? Design has always been about looking forward in a linear way, naively thinking that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. As we stand facing unavoidable apocalyptic scenarios, can design be resilient and adaptable to help humanity become more versatile? This paper explores the importance of Social Design in the coming decades.


Camilo Cerro
Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design, College of Architecture, Art, and Design, American University of Sharjah, Ash Shariqah [Sharjah], United Arab Emirates


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Education


Adaptable, Climate Change, Systemic Interdependence, Resilience

Digital Media