Online Conference, 25-26 March 2021 | SDN Symposium
SDN Symposium
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14:00 - 15:30


Communities, Systemic Values, Social Complexity, Design Methods, Co-Design

How does the role of designers change when activating/supporting alternative life forms and grassroots initiatives are put in place by communities? What are the opportunities and tensions that designers may encounter when co-designing with communities for the common good? Speaking about a design related to situations rather than to objects, what are the new principles, practices, methods needed by the designer to work with/within/for communities' common good?
This panel focuses on the collaborative approach to design towards dealing with the social complexity of a common good. Notions on “embedded systemic values”; situated complexity of reality and how these values inform the design methods; how can we challenge today's methodology to be more open and adaptable; and what gaps are we trying to fill/overcome are topics that are discussed in this section of the conference.

Panel speakers

Presented papers

  • Design & Permaculture. Shifting paradigms to build food sovereignty in Tunisia

    by Safouan Azouzi

    The catastrophic effects of the Anthropocene ie of human action on the planet are becoming more and more evident. However, different movements in both the Global North/West and the Global South/East are challenging the status quo, as new forms of governance and collective action are concretely implemented by communities to protect and maintain the shared resources entrusted to them. The permaculture movements offer in this sense alternative means of organization in response to the Anthropocene. In Tunisia, where several voices are calling for a real change in the trajectory of the economic model and the agri-food system to build food sovereignty, we have also seen the emergence of a network of permaculture practitioners. In parallel, the oasis of Jemna has become the symbol of peasant resistance and the practice of commoning; recalling the concept of autonomous design.

  • Urbanism for the Common Good: Assessing the Transformation of 18 de Marzo Oil Refinery in Mexico City

    by Maitreyi Phansalkar, Beatriz Vergara Aller, Jorge Zapata

    Contemporary cities are predominantly designed as means to gather and accumulate capital. Real estate (market) shapes cities and neighborhoods to be exclusive, creating islands of privilege and power. And while migration towards the urban centers for opportunities is a set process, a city possesses many challenges that have been the cause for an outflow or a reduced quality of life for the vulnerable communities. As spatial interventions are pivotal to social implications, design and planning professions have an unsaid responsibility in changing the narrative of development towards the common good. The paper proposes an assessment model to be used by these professionals at multiple stages of a project. This model's demonstration is done via master plans of 18 de Marzo Oil Refinery, Mexico City produced by UTSOA's Advanced Design Studio Mexico in spring 2020. It is an individual and collective reflection tool that aims to create a sensitive approach towards environmental, social, political, economic, and spatial justice, reducing tangible and intangible barriers created by factors like land-use patterns, interests, real estate, private markets, segregative practices, and more.

  • Using Probes and Prototypes in Digital Environments for Participatory Deliberation

    by Juan de la Rosa, Juan Sebastian Bedoya Rodríguez, Valentina Barrera, Paul Bryan Gamboa, Carlos Andrés Garzón, Dora Consuelo Villalobos, Stan Ruecker

    In this paper, we discuss the use of semi-synchronous participatory design methods in the design of possible futures in the La Vaca wetland project on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia. Working in conjunction with the grassroots organization called the Collaborative Center for Research and Innovation (CIIC), a series of three workshops was held, involving 25 families divided into five groups. Taking a values-sensitive approach, the first workshop dealt with values and stories, the second with topophilias and topophobias, and the third with prototypes for systemic future mapping. The project concluded with a session on strategic planning, where a dozen possible future projects were identified and mapped out. The use of digital online technologies, combined with physical resource toolkits provided to each group, enabled participants to work off-line at their convenience, then gather again to share their ideas and engage in the participatory discussion process. With this experience, we now feel that a semi-synchronous approach of this kind has potential in general, and in particular during times of crises such as the pandemic, when resources are scarcer than usual, but the community does not wish to lose momentum in its planning process.