6 Themes 108 Topics
Explore the themes and their related topics using the boxes.
Design for Earth
Designers are sensitive to environmental issues and announce their willingness to conform their practices. However, beyond appearances and words, critical scrutiny is essential. How can we, as designers, reconcile our role, which is closely linked with the market economy and overconsumption, with environmental and social awareness?
Keywords: eco-responsibility; ethics
Facing the technological dilemma:
The value given to the acceleration of technology leads us to believe that the main objective of labour and human thought is a steady increase in efficiency. The growing impact of technical computing power, for example in the form of artificial intelligence, feeds the myth of technological superiority over human judgment. What critical positions can the designers assume in the face of technocratic ideology of progress, or even its supremacy, and how can they conform their practice to it?
Keywords: democracy; wicked problems; progress
While digital design is constantly rising, the use of printed design decreases day by day. Can we contemplate a reduction of visual pollution by increasing the scope of digital design and the use of virtual reality on a daily basis? On the other hand, is the race for technological objects, programmed obsolescence, and the overconsumption of technological gadgets produced in greater quantities, a vector of high-tech pollution?
Keywords: digital design; printed design; visual pollution; planned obsolescence; technological objects; virtual reality
Design, manufacturing and environmental challenges:
The design and production of new products/projects call for consideration of environmental challenges by designers and their clients. However, taking into account the position of the designers in the design and manufacturing process, how can they create a space of resistance and present relevant solutions for the environment? How can the designer find a balance between economic pressure and urgency to act in an eco-responsible way?
Keywords: eco-responsible design; conception; manufacturing; environmental responsibility
Responsible design and sustainable society:
Responsible design integrates the concepts of eco-design and sustainable development in the creation process. How can this concept of eco-design be brought to the consumer and distributor level? What are these actors’ responsibilities towards products from outside this approach?
Keywords: eco-responsible design; responsible design; shared responsibility; consumers; distributers; eco-conception
Design and the sharing economy:
The sharing economy brings not only a possibility of regulating produced quantities, but also a source of change in consumption patterns. At the initiative of a growing, empathetic generation that denies overconsumption and emphasizes environmental protection, the sharing economy calls into question the traditional sources of income for design. If design were limited to sharing economy services, what would the future direction of the profession be?
Keywords: sharing economy; empathy; overconsumption; professional endeavor; environment; consumption habit
Holistic design solutions:
Ethics, advocacy and the participation of all stakeholders in a design project provide a foundation for holistic approaches. Collaborative practices, economic viability and people’s actual experiences and needs are just some of the elements contributing to holistic solutions. What strategies must be incorporated to account for ethical and holistic perspectives?
Keywords: holistic solutions; holistic design; holistic approaches; holistic perspectives; ethics; economic viability; user experience
Sustainability through collective action:
Sustainability is an integral part of decision-making at all levels of designing spaces. Collective action helps create new, sustainable solutions that take natural habitats and the life of the environment into account. Spaces and objects are created when collective action contributes to project viability. How does collective action drive projects and ensure sustainable and viable solutions to complex situations?
Keywords: sustainability; collective action; designing spaces; sustainable solutions; project viability; economic viability; complexity; complex situation; decision-making
Sustainable design through creative practice, science, technology and nature:
As social media increasingly influences people and their actions, technology is ubiquitous. Design solutions are often short-term solutions. Potential issues and ideas include the consideration of creative practices, science and technology and the impact on nature. How could innovative ideas and creative practices stimulate lasting design solutions within these contexts?
Keywords: creative practice; science; technology; nature; enduring design; long-term solutions; short-term solution
Territory, performance, resilience:
Our interventions on a given territory– whether though architecture, urban design or landscape architecture – have an impact on communities and the environment. How can they secure the future of our planet? How can we optimize our interventions’ performance? Can they, for instance, contribute to greater energy efficiency and encourage active mobility and quality of life in general? How can we approach projects to contribute to greater resiliency in cities and natural habitats?
Keywords: architectural interventions; performance; resilience; environment; climate change
Density and proximity:
Density and proximity are at the heart of current discourse on the development of sustainable communities. However, older cities already allow a variety of uses to cohabitate in a continuous built environment. Should we reintegrate this type of density in our loosely knit modern urban fabrics? Can greater density and proximity to services help limit land consumption, encourage active mobility and create sustainable cities?
Keywords: sustainable development; density; proximity; built environment; sustainable city
The inclusion of environmental protection in design has led to the emergence of protocols and standards (like LEED, for instance). What type of relationships do design disciplines keep with those systems and protocols? From a prospective standpoint, what can design disciplines contribute to environmental protection and environmental methodologies?
Keywords: environmental protection; protocols; environmental methodologies
Green infrastructure and sustainable services:
Creating a network of natural and agricultural areas that support biodiversity inside a perimeter of urbanization, leveraging facilities that encourage the post-carbon economy, and encouraging urban and periurban agriculture are challenges that lead to better synergy between ecology, agriculture, and urban planning. What roles can green infrastructure play in supporting the development of cities and regions?
Keywords: green infrastructure; sustainable services; natural spaces; agricultural spaces; biodiversity; urban agriculture; periurban agriculture; post-carbon economy
Growth, planning and urban forms:
Sustainable development requires being at the forefront of, and anticipating, urban growth. How can we transform existing living environments so that they not only respect the capacity of ecosystems, but strengthen their balance and reveal their potential? What about “gentle densification”? What urban forms will be best adapted to maximize the hosting potential of our neighbourhoods, our cities, our metropolitan areas and regions?
Keywords: urban growth; urban management; urban form; ecosystems; soft densification; optimization; hosting potential; interfaces
Creating viable links between city and countryside, urban and suburban, agriculture and biodiversity has been the goal of many urban planning approaches, from the Garden City to residential suburbs. Despite their original intentions, critics are questioning these models that have often shaped regions mostly built out of concrete. It is important to think about the development of interfaces in a complementary and non-antagonistic way. How, in the digital age and that of hypermobility, can we reflect on the notion of geographical boundaries, its importance or its disuse?
Keywords: interfaces; cities; campaigns; agriculture; biodiversity; planning; urban approaches; garden city; residential suburb
Dismantling the human / nature dichotomy: wholeness and immersive reality:
Wholeness and immersive reality: The 20th century’s Cartesian worldview of Man dominating Nature is challenged by the emergence of global warming. However, this dichotomy is not recognized by the worldview of Native Nations. Can a paradigm shift, as strongly voiced in Pope Francis’s encyclical LAUDATO SI, dismantle our deep alienation from nature? What is the role of immersive reality in bridging the human/nature dichotomy and bringing wholeness to our spatial and sensorial experience?
Keywords: global warming challenges; man dominating nature; Pope Francis’s encyclical LAUDATO SI; immersive reality; spatial and sensorial experience; human/nature separation
Beyond sustainability: regenerating large-scale degraded landscapes:
Regenerative design poses a viable method to improve single-use landscapes created by processes of commodification, through large-scale industrial production, extraction or industrial agriculture. These processes have led to environmentally/ecologically challenged or degraded landscapes. What regenerative design strategies can be employed to improve these landscapes? How can ecological processes begin to reverse these damaging impacts, or be integrated into large-scale landscapes?
Keywords: regenerative design; industrial production and extraction; industrial agriculture; environmental/ecological challenges; degraded landscapes; regenerative design strategies; damaging impacts
Living degrowth: when habitat returns to nature:
Diminished economic prosperity and threatening climate events have led to drastic changes in the demographic makeup of cities and regions. These regional shifts have given rise to vast areas of vacant land and underused infrastructure that are now being colonized by natural systems. Through which strategies can the spatial consequences of these dynamic demographic processes be addressed?
Keywords: economic prosperity; climate events; demographic makeup; cities; regions; demographic makeup; demographic processes
In the midst of the Anthropocene, how can we transform our living environments to respect the capacity of ecosystems and, even
more, restore their balance and reveal their potential? Humans are indeed part of nature and, as such, are as fragile as our living
Beyond responding to emergencies and disasters or immediate conditions, the design disciplines can also offer broader, sustainable approaches to shape the world for the long term. Going beyond short-term, market-driven needs can allow designers to drop conventions, look at their work on a different scale and become agents of change who can generate alternatives to the status quo.
Design for Participation
Design as social action, design activism and disrupting the status quo:
It is often argued that design is political. What role can the designer assume in social transformation in a practical way? Is their commitment solely to shape communication or facilitate access to information? Or can they take on more nuanced roles such as that of catalyst and/or educator in decision-making processes, or in community dynamics?
Keywords: community dynamics; decision-making; political commitment
The notion of copyright and intellectual property is being redefined. Pooling knowledge changes the way we do things. Consequently, the questions of design models, logic of knowledge exchanges and decision-making mechanisms arise.
Keywords: open source; intellectual property; authorship
Graphic design in the public sphere:
In the current context of global crisis, interest in public utility design is making a comeback, typically looking at signage and identification issues in health, school, transport networks, and in public spaces. Design is trying to redefine itself as a benevolent practice, relating to the ideals of the avant-gardes of the interwar period and the civil movements of the 1970s. In this respect, what kind of leverage actions does design possess?
Keywords: benevolence; public space; social utility
Design and empowerment:
Design is increasingly taken to task in mediation with citizens in public contexts. In public projects and particularly infrastructure projects (pipelines, highways, energy networks), design is used to help “swallow the pill,” acting more as an intermediary to accommodate project leaders than to support citizens in their claims. How can these public consultations be made into a real design, democracy and citizen empowerment exercise?
Keywords: public policies; public projects; infrastructure; mediation; civilian advocacy; consultation
Methods and processes:
Design must grow rich in best practices that allow the completion of projects that are both important from a social, economic and ecological point of view and are original and in line with current trends. What new methods and processes can be reproduced to be in line with this approach, and how can they be shared with other players?
Keywords: interdisciplinary; best practices; methods; process; sharing knowledge
Transverse approaches to design:
A multidisciplinary group of experts allows for addressing complex issues in their entirety. What international project structures could illustrate this strategy for promoting a more collaborative and participatory dimension of the designer’s work in a relevant way?
Keywords: interdisciplinary; multidisciplinary team; collaboration; complexity; globalism; work structure; strategy
Sustainable urban habitats:
With people spending 90% of their lives indoors, interior spaces are finding new and changing purposes, which demand adaptive reuse, changing functions of buildings, and lasting solutions for living and working. Challenges include establishing innovative and transformative practices and new ways of repurposing, and preserving and recycling various types of spaces.
Keywords: interior space; adaptive reuse; temporal solutions; transformative practices; recycling spaces; repurposing environments; innovation
Sustainable practices and living:
Social housing, condominiums, senior residences: Changing lifestyles and demographics worldwide require new and alternative living solutions. Sustainable living spaces take into account the choice and usage of materials, short and long term uses, and how sustainable practices are made integral to the design process. Questions include sustainable practices, local and cultural choices, material choices and building system integration.
Keywords: changing lifestyles; changing demographics; short term use; long term use; sustainable living; sustainable practices; sustainable housing; materials
Collaborative and participatory practices:
Collaborative practices drive design thinking, including conversations with designers, experts, users and clients to produce projects. Practices such as collaborating with participants to improve the conditions of the environment are potential ways for active participation in design. What are the best and most innovative practices for design professionals and/or researchers?
Keywords: collaborative practices; participatory practices; collaboration; collaborative design; participatory design; best practices; innovation; design thinking
New collectivities (geographical and virtual):
Thanks to information technologies, new activist, if not revolutionary, communities are organizing and criticizing society’s dominant structures, while envisaging new, radically different and representative organizational models, and raising questions about surveillance, control and the omnipresence of social media. What concrete answers are designers bringing to these mutations? How can we imagine spatial, aesthetic, geographic, narrative and virtual configurations aligned with these new collectivities?
Keywords: organizational models; information technology; spatial configuration; social networks
Public consultation and participatory design processes encourage more significant contributions from the public to their communities’ development and also help benefit from the citizens’ experience of their own living environment. How can designers help improve these processes? How can these processes fully benefit from the significant expertise that can be drawn from design disciplines?
Keywords: citizen participation; citizenship experience; living environment; consultation
Design, diversity and majority:
Design is meant for one and all. How can design encourage inclusion and the recognition of diversity? Can consultative or participatory processes guarantee fair representation, or are they a privilege of a right-thinking majority? Conversely, can inclusion and diversity become an obstacle to the creation of places, projects or objects directed at a very wide audience? How can designers face these many challenges and are there projects that go in the opposite direction?
Keywords: consultative process; participatory design; diversity; majority-minority
Sensible (sub)urban revitalization:
Density, accessibility, diversity, affordability: these are sought-after goals as planners and designers grapple with the costs of infrastructure, services, and impact mitigation. The importance of collaborating to remake existing (sub)urban landscapes is more important than ever in the global north and the global south. How can we ensure that new uses, users, and patterns of activity can be sensitively woven into existing environments that are often well-loved ‘just the way they are’? What roles can be played by civil-society actors as well as the state and private sector?
Keywords: urban revitalization; density; accessibility; affordability; infrastructure; services; collaboration; civil-society; local; global
Inclusive planning and design practices:
We try to build our living environments in an inclusive way, with both formal and improvised conditions for diversity, sometimes despite the State’s structured approaches. What challenges and opportunities arise for professionals? Given the diversity of procedural frameworks, how can we transfer inclusive approaches in planning and design from one context to the other?
Keywords: inclusive practices; government approaches; planning; opportunities; procedural frameworks; inclusive design
New tools in public participation:
Coproduction, co-design, co-management: Debates on participatory design and planning increasingly concern decision-making authority and how to share power in light of the conviction that everyone can be a designer of sorts. How does coproduction require that experts retool their own skill sets? What changes are we seeing in the roles played by professionally-trained designers in shaping everyday landscapes? How can new media be used to enable the fuller participation of experts and non-experts alike?
Keywords: public participation; coproduction; co-design; co-management; self-made designer; new tools; skill sets; shaping; landscape
Empowering landscapes: designing for democratic energy ownership:
The use of non-renewable fossil fuels for generating electricity, a major contributor to global warming, must now give way to the creation of renewable, democratic and local energy systems. In consequence, the obsolete infrastructural landscapes we have created for the extraction, transformation and distribution of these resources will face a dramatic transition. Which spatial-ecological and socio-political strategies can we foresee in this transitional era?
Keywords: non-renewable fossil fuels; global warming, energy system; democracy; resources; transition; local; renewable; extraction; distribution; transformation
Stewardship in the Anthropocene: leadership as strategic design in action:
Beyond the steamy Eocene and the glacial Pleistocene evolutionary cycles lies the Anthropocene, where accelerating changes in vegetation, sea level and climate are primarily influenced by human action. Though this new epoch is potentially catastrophic, we must envision a future “Good Anthropocene,” which will feature fundamental changes in our relations with nature and each other, and dramatic design innovations in land-management practices.
Keywords: anthropocene; cycles; vegetation; sea level; climate; human action; land-management practices; stewardship
Educating for the future: landscape as the common thread:
Landscape as the common thread: Through design, imagination and foundational knowledge and skills, landscape architects have the unique capacity to synthesize diverse, controversial or opposing positions and creatively translate them into informed landscape change. What are the pedagogical strategies that education must employ to empower future landscape leaders with a critical understanding of transformational landscape phenomena, to foresee, create, and provide landscape stewardship imbued with greater ecological and social concern?
Keywords: capacity to synthesize; pedagogical strategies; education; stewardship; ecological and social concern
Landscapes of Power: designing for spatial justice:
With the advent of global warming, sustainable development practices and the energy/food/water/waste question, landscape architecture must embrace new, non-urban scales, adjacencies, systems and complexities. Design must be placed at the core of this first interdisciplinary design summit, addressing current political realities: the landscapes of power, questions of spatial complexity and social equity, and the balanced distribution of social, environmental and landscape values.
Keywords: global warming; sustainable development; landscape; powers; spatial complexity; social equity; landscape values; spatial justice
In this era, individuals and groups can take part in social and political life – or all kinds of private or public projects – through a number of public platforms and policies. In this often collaborative and consultative context, what is the role and status of the designer? Design disciplines fundamentally contribute to shaping the virtual and physical public spaces of communities, as well as fostering and shaping culture and heritage, both past and future. How can designers help address issues like inequality or the evolution of participation and representation in the political process and in social life?
Design for Transformation
Access to knowledge/information in the age of big data:
The transformation of statistics into big data leads us to see the world through digital sequences, but the manipulation of data is not neutral. The aestheticization of data requires handling, selection and hierarchization and is considered a subjective process. The veracity and legitimacy of the information from this inevitable process is questionable.
Keywords: information design; big data; data visualization; open data
Design in daily life:
Design, in all its forms, is present in our daily lives. To become a real vector of transformation, it is important that designers take into consideration what characterizes the common realities on which their work has a major influence. This responsibility challenges the designer to wonder about the empathetic character of their practice, as opposed to superficiality generated by overconsumption and information overload.
Keywords: empathy; everyday nature
Design is mainly a manifestation of industrialized countries, and is associated with Western cultural ideologies as a result. Today, a critical eye is necessary as well as a questioning of the aesthetic and the dominant functional paradigms. How can the various design disciplines be open to the world in a perspective of decolonization of education on design?
Keywords: education; north vs south; cultural domination
Design’s gender challenge:
Gender issues demand more reflection and involvement on the part of designers. Design ought to allow all individuals to feel comfortable, safe and above all, included, without having to choose a gender affiliation. How can designers and their clients meet these new challenges?
Keywords: gender; inclusion; exclusion; identity; gender belonging
Acculturation processes are complex. Products manufactured and consumed globally are often unexpected local appropriations, challenging the simplistic interpretations of globalization as a phenomenon of global Americanization. At the intersection of the local and the global, how can the designer consider the plurality of the acculturation process in the design of its projects?
Keywords: acculturation; diversity; globalization; Americanization; global; local; globalization; complexity; consumption
Faced with persistent structural problems, public and parapublic organizations are starting to get interested in the user-centered-experience-design process. After conducting random co-creation and citizen participation experiments, how can the designer better equip institutions with tools and processes, in order to lead to the operationalization of new public policies?
Keywords: public policy; parapublic; user-experience; co-creation; participation; institutions; tools; method; methodology; organizations
The evolution of business strategies should include design and its importance in organizations. Perspectives include changing business strategies through design thinking, change management and design-led innovative practices. How can change management challenge existing structures and the status quo and conversely, how can business thinking transform design thinking?
Keywords: business strategies; importance in organizations; change management; status quo; business thinking; challenging existing structures
Future perspectives of interior design as a profession and as a discipline:
What is the outlook for interior design education and knowledge construction, research and the profession in the short, mid-and long-term, and how are these manifested in current projects and actions and in emerging educational approaches? Perspectives include how the interior design profession develops its specificity while moving forward with new ways of working from inter- and trans-disciplinary perspectives. How do we envision perspectives in education, the profession and the built environment?
Keywords: future perspectives; interior design; profession; discipline; education; short term; mid-term; long-term; educational approaches
Interdisciplinary collaboration and co-creation strategies:
With the evolution of design disciplines worldwide, interdisciplinary collaboration and co-creation strategies become vital instruments for doing business. This subject explores these themes through both the disciplinary lens and emerging interdisciplinary and co-creation strategies and practices. Questions might include ethical and collaborative practices, working across cultures and continents, and multiple global perspectives.
Keywords: co-creation; strategies; practices; collaboration; multiple global perspectives; ethics
Seasonal and temporal mutations:
Encouraging proximity and sustainability requires designing and building spaces that adapt to changing contexts. How can stable uses be encouraged when conditions change with the seasons? Can contradictory uses be reconciled to create more animated spaces? How can accounting for seasonal mutations and changes in the development of transient installations help transform the way a space is experienced and how it’s used?
Keywords: seasonal transformations; temporality; attendance; public spaces
Thinking for the long term:
Architecture is a foundation of cities. In the face of urban sprawl and growing mobility, how can architecture sustain and reinforce the permanence of cities? Is monumentality part of the solution? Which alternative solutions could come into play?
Keywords: urban spread; alternative approaches; urban area
The effects of ephemeral projects:
Temporary interventions have become commonplace, but between the grand pavilions created at Biennials, the calls for tenders from cities or festivals and citizen initiatives, the stakes and impacts of ephemeral projects can vary greatly. What are the effects of these diverse project scales on the evolution of disciplines, on city governance and on citizens’ engagement in building their own cities?
Keywords: ephemeral projects; creative cities; temporary issues; governance; civic engagement
The temporality of cities and regions:
So-called “palimpsests” spaces, host to different functions during the day and night and to the adaptation of neighborhoods through the cycles of life. Time management can streamline the steps related to mobility and urban animation. What are the possible implications in terms of planning and design namely the adaptation of public spaces and buildings?
Keywords: temporality; urban animation; mobility; impact; adaptation; publics spaces; built environment; functions
Post-carbon cities and regions:
Metropolitan areas are the first concern for energy transition and will serve as a laboratory for multiple possible answers; declining, with a reduction in needs, completes the necessary research on renewable energy. How can designers contribute to innovative solutions for the transition to a post-carbon society?
Keywords: metropolitan areas; energy transition; renewable energies; solutions; innovation; laboratory; post-carbon era
Urban design in the realm of possibility:
Adapted governance based on the clarity of the projects and the accountability shared between decision-makers, designers and users, is at the intersection of possibilities. Social and functional diversity offers an opportunity for sought-after urban balances. Public spaces must play a central role in the reconstruction of the city, as long as their design allows transcending the function of mobility to be used as sightseeing and meeting places. How can designers contribute to the mutation of a regulated urban operation in an effort to promote opportunities for innovation?
Keywords: adapted governance; shared-responsibility; social diversity; functional mixing; public spaces; urban reconstruction; urban transformation; urban balance
Shifting territorial connectivity: ecosystem-centered design:
Land planning divides the landscape into narrowly-purposed territories where we live, work, play, grow food and extract resources. As each such territory becomes increasingly specialized over time, we forget that each territory is a unique ecosystem able to balance air and water quality, erosion and flooding, and waste disposal, while supporting biodiversity and human health. What are the necessary interdisciplinary postures and actions to design in an ecosystem centered approach?
Keywords: ecosystem; land planning; resources extraction; specialized territories; air and water quality; erosion; flooding; waste disposal; biodiversity; interdisciplinary; ecosystem centered approach
Nature as technology: soil solutions to climate problems:
Hidden below lawns, paved surfaces, crops, and mulch, soil is unseen in our daily life and absent from discussions on environmental quality. Yet soil is fundamental to supporting life, providing food security and storing water. Soil organic matter (SOM) contains some 75% of the carbon pool on land, effectively harvesting CO2 and maintaining a balanced global carbon cycle that mitigates global warming.
Keywords: environmental quality; Soil Organic Matter (SOM); carbon pool; harvesting CO2; carbon cycle; global warming
In praise of tree huggers: forests as balance of power:
Most urban centers have adopted policies for increasing the urban canopy, acknowledging the added economic value, improved spatial and experiential qualities and environmental welfares associated with trees. But, at regional and global levels, what is the potential contribution of extra-large, new tree plantations to larger scale systems benefits? What is their potential role in addressing global warming? Can trees help create landscapes for spatial justice?
Keywords: urban centers; policies; urban canopy; added economic value; potential; environmental welfares; scale; benefits; global warming; spatial justice
Climatic shifts, seasonal changes, day and night cycles, high tides, low tides and human tides all impose transformative criteria and context to the design of goods, experiences and processes, both for more permanent projects and for more fleeting moments. The evolving nature of the relationship between cities, their surrounding hinterland and global networks of all kinds, also create a need for adapting and rethinking territories and exchanges. New insights, new approaches, new tools and new materials facilitate the increased need to design, redesign or rethink – and therefore make design a source of transformation.
Design for Beauty
Quality in a world of quantity:
Sometimes the argument over the cost of a design intervention appears to annihilate any debate on the beautiful, the nice and the good- design is often considered added value. As a result, the quality of the context granted to the designer is often proportional to the importance that we ascribe to his contribution. How can qualitative values be restored in projects, and the designer recognized as an “expert”?
Keywords: realistic aesthetics; Sensible experience; discrimination
Facing information overload:
Technology has progressed continuously since the invention of the press, and more so with the arrival of television, the personal computer, the web and social networks. Due to the increased supply of information without any regard for quality, our relationship with information and its relevance is changing. In this context of information overload, how can designers define their role as mediator?
Keywords: information overload; knowledge; media; commodification of culture; Neil Postman
Developing a culture of empathy and care:
Even though the work of the designer is of paramount importance, it is often trivialized or unknown to the general public. In this context of tension between redistribution of wealth and recognition, how can designers conceive a more empathetic practice that focuses on ethics and benevolence rather than method?
Keywords: empathy; benevolence; societal functioning; inequality
Beauty and Identity: a humanistic approach:
Beauty is a subject of debate in design. If, at the dawn of the Beauty is a subject of debate in design. If, at the dawn of the emergence of modern design, beauty evoked the need to introduce a form of humanism in industrial production, it has too often been relegated to its cosmetic dimension. How can beauty be reinvested in its humanist dimension in design, and how can it bring the very foundations of the social responsibility of design with it?
Keywords: beauty; identity; humanism; humanistic design; industrial production; humanism; responsibility; social responsibility; cosmetic dimension
Spirituality and symbolic design:
The object and the emotion; the object as continuous to the soul; the poetic object; the religious visual corpus; the uniqueness of the object, the user’s emotional attachment to it and the community that identifies with it: all rely on the great strength of symbolic design and representation. Is the veneration of simplicity or ornamental complexity the source of these endless phenomena?
Keywords: emotion; spirituality; beauty; religion; the object’s uniqueness; symbolic representation; simplicity of form; strength of representation; belief; artifact
As an amplifier of beliefs or collective memories, design serves as a vehicle of popular tradition, a disseminator of ideology, or even a political propaganda tool. Over time, these designs accrue ideological burden or became simple artifacts of an era. Without ideology, does design have what it takes to survive? How is the relationship between ideology and design articulated? In short, who influences what?
Keywords: beliefs; collective imagination; collective memory; popular tradition; ideological diffusion; propaganda; influence
The value of beauty and sensitivity to space:
Aesthetic beauty as a form of design value is a sensitive subject. Sensitivity to space requires a sense of aesthetics. How can we examine questions about aesthetic intention, user experience and spatial fluidity and challenge current ideas about aesthetic intention?
Keywords: aesthetics; beauty; aesthetic beauty; aesthetic sense; aesthetic intention; user experience; spatial fluidity; design value
Interior design for health and well-being:
Creating spaces for health and well-being must take into account a range of considerations in response to health needs or to promote well-being. Questions may include healthcare design, best practices for various human conditions, designing for various health-related needs, ages and stages of life, and developing healthy spaces for people.
Keywords: interior design; health; well-being; health needs; healthcare design; age; stages of life
Universal design perspectives:
Universal design (or barrier-free design or design for accessibility) is required to be usable by everyone without modification, at all stages of life and to work within both aesthetic and functional frameworks. And yet, while designers strive for accessible environments, people who are in need of accessible design solutions are often not well served. How can design be a better vehicle to provide solutions for all?
Keywords: universal design perspectives; design for accessibility; solutions for all; accessible environments; aesthetic frameworks; barrier-free design; stages of life
Aesthetics and identity in the 21st century:
The aesthetic aspect of design is fundamental on many levels, but remains taboo in the way designers present projects and in how they are judged by citizens, decision-makers and elected officials. Should design represent the collective consciousness of the majority, or rather represent minorities? What are the current trends of aesthetics in the various design disciplines? Which approaches, strategies and politics encourage in-depth reflections about the role and nature of aesthetics in the 21st Century?
Keywords: aesthetic dimensions; identity issues; trends; 21st century
Media and representation:
The way projects are visually portrayed, in all design disciplines, is key to how they are communicated – more so than the words used to describe them. Digital images and their distribution through new media influence the way they are perceived. In what way are they perceived and evaluated? Does digital tend to generate a more conventional, uniform communication of projects or does it open up the way for new approaches?
Keywords: project representation; new media; information; digital use; standardization
Approaches to heritage:
Heritage, whether built, natural or intangible, is at the heart of the identity and diversity of our territories and communities. How can design help protect and showcase these elements of collective memory while becoming a force for change? And should we set some spaces aside so they can be used by the next generations to create tomorrow’s heritage?
Keywords: built heritage; natural heritage; diversity of territories; collective memory
Remaking the uniform, the unloved, and the banal:
Whether through the conversion of old highways, railroad or industrial legacies, or adding new vocations to mono-functional but well-located areas, metropolitan landscapes build and renew themselves. What are the challenges and opportunities of requalification of different community types? Different types of scale? In return, how can ordinary everyday landscapes be enhanced?
Keywords: urban renewal; metropolitan areas; power to act; physical environment revaluation; public authorities; private investors; social issues
Urban rejuvenation: rethinking power:
Renewing metropolitan areas often requires rethinking the power to act. Redevelopment of the physical environment, put forward by governments and assisted by private investors, aims to tackle a series of physical as well as social and economic problems. How can we generate interest among senior practitioners, as well as the next generation, to a change of approaches?
Keywords: ethic; aesthetic; multisensory city; transformation; living environment; inclusive urbanism; inclusive city
The ethics and aesthetics of the multisensory city:
Urban actions transform communities and, with them, the perceptions of the people who live in them. With multisensory approaches, these transformations may generate various experiences in the city, encouraging or discouraging its appropriation. What would be an aesthetic of multisensory and inclusive urbanism? What are the issues surrounding the creation of the multisensory city, the inclusive city, the city for all?
Keywords: ethics; aesthetics; multisensory
Build it (differently) and “they” will (not) come:
Accommodating refugees from wars and global warming, accepting increased social diversity, revitalizing without gentrifying- designing for inclusion in today’s globalized cities poses challenges for public space. Recent global justice movements reclaim public space to create a locus of power for political action, and for democracy as an open process. What design processes can empower public space as a true commons, enabling citizens to take ownership, while remaining open to all?
Keywords: public spaces; displacement; globalized cities; global warming; wars; refugees; social diversity; revitalizing
Makeshift landscapes: learning from patterns of informality:
Despite significant improvement to living conditions, makeshift urban landscapes continue to grow, still attracting close to 25% of the world’s urban population. The Habitat III conference recognizes this as a critical urban issue. Can alternative/informal design approaches that accept existing complexity and welcome local and participatory knowledge help us envision innovative, tangible urban solutions to build more resilient communities and landscapes?
Keywords: makeshift landscape; informality; local knowledge; participatory knowledge; tangible urban solutions; resilient communities; living conditions
From creating useful objects to planning green spaces in urban contexts, design disciplines share a concern for sensible and wise design, in a world in search of meaning and prosperity. The beauty of designed objects, buildings, interiors, cities and landscape isn’t superfluous: it is essential. However, the decision of making them beautiful or not is often political. Furthermore, these perspectives on sustaining wellbeing and making life more than just bearable, oscillate between universal design that reaches across the globe, and inspiration from local realities that can provide more adapted ways to improve quality of life.
Design for Sale?
Designers in decision-making processes:
The designer’s role throughout the market is transforming. Today there is wide recognition that designers have the knowledge and skills to inform the decision-making process on the whole by identifying and framing issues, which is above and beyond their capacity for simple technical resolution. How can the designer’s input help trigger a shift towards products, services and experiences that are better suited to meet the needs and aspirations of targeted populations and improve their quality of life and well-being?
Keywords: decision-making process; design thinking; leadership
Design as a resource:
The idea of the “designerly way of thinking” represents a set of conceptual postures capable of bringing about change and innovation. How can the “designerly way of thinking” become a resource for facilitating anticipation and conception in a context of societal change and transformation?
Keywords: designerly way of thinking; Nigel Cross; change
Design and new economic models:
Marketing dominates the current economic model, which is based on a premise of infinite growth. The designer is required to play a special role in an economic context where considering degrowth seems necessary. Between the increase of socio-economic inequalities and the emergence of new economic models, what role can the designer play and how can we define its scope of responsibilities? How can the designer offer an answer to break away from the existing economic models towards a responsible and sustainable economy?
Keywords: circular economy; utility; globalization; inequality; degrowth; disruptive design
Design and the commons: beyond pro bono?:
Access to expertise and common areas (coworking) encourages knowledge sharing. How can we build a sustainable business practice from this sharing in which work isn’t valued in terms of remuneration, but openness to all?
Keywords: tragedy of the commons; common; common good; sustainable practice; value of work; pro-bono; full access; knowledge sharing; circulation of knowledge; co-working; openness; expertise
Sustainable products, low-cost products:
‘Low cost’ products are too often designed with the simple goal of reducing costs to a minimum without respecting environmental values. What processes or innovative conceptual approaches could avoid such a compromise and offer sustainable and low-cost products?
Keywords: low-cost; environment; innovation; sustainable development; eco-responsibility; access to goods
Healthcare and design:
Healthcare systems face epidemic situations, without demographic or cultural precedent. Can design oriented on patients, rather than structures and procedures, propose innovative solutions in a universal coverage approach, regardless of the financial concerns of profitability?
Keywords: health system; health; health care; epidemic; demography; universal coverage; human centered design; public health
Value and vision:
Design thinking provides value and vision when it is strategic and business driven. Innovative methods challenge existing mindsets and provide new and valuable alternatives for envisioning design solutions. How do concepts such as critical thinking, co-design and contextual thinking contribute to the value and vision of projects?
Keywords: design thinking; value; business strategies; innovative methods; critical thinking; co-design; contextual thinking
Economic viability of interior design:
Economic viability is vital to the success of design spaces, yet is often misunderstood. How is economic viability perpetuated using new and innovative practices?
Keywords: economic viability; design spaces; innovative practices; economic viability
Branding contributes to the design of spaces in many ways. Whether it is the design of retail spaces, corporate spaces, or through cultural branding, brands are promoted through various mechanisms. What are the multiple spatial, sensory and virtual aspects of branding?
Keywords: branding design; designing spaces; retail spaces; corporate spaces; cultural branding
What is the value of design?:
Design that enhances everyday human experience is at the heart of the ‘Good Design is Good Business’ principle. Companies recognize that design can be used as a beneficial differentiating tool, to help increase profit and outreach. What parallel factors directly influence how design benefits the user, while allowing businesses to capitalize on the user’s needs? Do empathy and a predisposition to dialogue make the designer more valuable?
Keywords: everyday human experience; empathic design; final user; benefits
The risk of design:
Is design intrinsically a risk? Design can be used to respond to a project’s particular needs and improve it, but is it a risk when a developer or designer moves away from known quantities and conventional solutions? What advantage is there to a creative process that leads to innovation? Conversely, are there risks tied to not using design? Could refusing to use design become an insurable risk?
Keywords: risk of design; promoters; design process
Form follows finance:
The speculative side of urban development shows the impact of financial imperatives on cities. How can designers take a stance, whether of resistance or collaboration, so their practice is not strictly conditioned by said financial imperatives?
Keywords: Carol Willis; form; finance; resistance; collaboration; financial imperatives; resistance thinking
Heritage: revitalization without “Disneyfication”?:
Our living environments usually develop in a sequence of well-defined eras, yet some areas retain their heritage elements and arouse especially strong enthusiasm. However, this can create friction and cause prices to climb, excluding some people. How can we maintain the quality of life for citizens already living in an area while meeting the needs of new residents? How can we forge links between historic heritage and the modern?
Keywords: built environment; historic heritage; modern heritage; development; revitalization; theme park; quality of life
Innovative practices for real-estate development:
Developers are increasingly called on to create sustainable and dense living environments. The challenges of climate change and affordability require diversification of the types of housing built. How can designers and developers collaborate to design new housing models and promote them?
Keywords: innovative practices; real estate promotion; building sustainable live; Housing diversification; social diversity
Selling city life? Marketing and branding the urban:
The city is not a commodity, yet we see certifications and networks of cities and regions, while the growth of urban marketing sees investment in public space. How can we conceive of the responsibility and impact of professional actors and designers, with regard to the tension between the right to the city and the city for sale? Can an urban brand actually attract new projects, citizens and businesses?
Keywords: marketing; urbanity for sale; brand image; urban; new projects; impact of urban marketing
From Commodifying to Commoning the Land: how First Nations are showing the way:
Many indigenous peoples espouse a spiritual attitude towards the Earth, seeing the natural world as a common and shared heritage of which we all form a part. This stands in contrast to developed-world practices that treat nature as a commodity apart from us, to be owned and exploited. Can traditional indigenous ideas help us to address contemporary challenges to the land?
Keywords: commodifying; First Nations; spiritual attitude; common and shared heritage; developed world; practices; nature’s treatment; contemporary challenges
Capitalizing natural resources: taking a stance on environmental change:
Should the fortunate minority of countries possessing natural resources regard these largely non-renewable capital assets as a long-term public heritage or as a short-term bonanza? Should some resources stay in the ground to await more efficient future technologies? How to account for “ecosystem services” provided by natural systems, often valued at zero: flood control, water supply, wind and earthquake protection, aquifer recharge?
Keywords: natural resources; countries; long-term public heritage; short-term bonanza; future technologies; efficiency; ecosystem services; natural system; value
Opening the Arctic: grounding another spatial paradigm:
The rapid opening of the Arctic basin is an inevitable consequence of climate change, redefining continental territory and expanding open water routes for trade and transportation, along with new resource extraction possibilities. This threatens the traditional lifestyles, economy and settlements of Northern Inuit people in Canada and other Arctic Circle countries. Can innovative landscape approaches, and interdisciplinary research and design, lead to a different Spatial Paradigm?
Keywords: Arctic basin; climate change; continental territory; water-routes; trade; transportation; Canada’s Northern Inuit; Arctic circle; spatial paradigm
The role of design within modern economic systems can take many shapes and generate often unexpected results – with outcomes that can be significantly better or worse than originally planned. What is the value of design, within the production of goods and the development of society as a whole? While design can be used for commodity, it can also be used for the common good, with the latter implying a more political design voice, driven by values and ideals, rather than a solely monetary purpose.
Design for Extremes
Propaganda and destruction:
Through propaganda, design has shown its strength as a vehicle for the extreme as well as its power in conveying a message. In a context of monitoring and controlling information, how can design act as a counterweight, as a place of resistance, allowing a greater mobilization of populations?
Keywords: public opinion; mobilization; manipulation
Visual communication in a context of geopolitical crisis:
New communication technologies and political willingness do not appear sufficient to address global crisis. In a context of upheaval or disaster (climate, social, military, health), how can design contribute to a better relationship between states and promote diplomatic solutions from a territorial perspective as well as within the communication sphere?
Keywords: geopolitical crisis; catastrophe
Design for peace:
Positive peace is predominantly associated with social structures and social norms. It requires a planned implementation of pacifist means to support the establishment of a long-term peace based on respect and trust, rather than on coercion and violence. How can design and its problem-solving approaches help enact a new relational geometry to prevent conflicts in a lasting fashion, and to promote a better future?
Keywords: positive peace; pacific means; coercion and violence
Marketing and social exclusion:
The social ability to possess is a sense of power that goes against much environmental discourse. The decision to purchase is driven by a strong element of communication and marketing. How can the designer participate in inclusion and limit situations of social exclusion in a world influenced by the comparison of products, services, perception of images and other sources of power?
Keywords: possession; environment; marketing; communication; environmental consequences; inclusion; exclusion; power; consumption; overconsumption; marketing
Crisis as reason for action:
Disasters and crises lead to fundamental questioning of practices and regular processes. The designer usually addresses issues from another perspective that allows them to identify solutions not seen by other economic players. In addressing these critical situations as sources of action, how can the designer bring unexpected proposals?
Keywords: disaster; disaster; solution; innovation; crises; actions; upheaval
Design at the intersection of global trends:
The designer is always at the intersection of disciplines and trends. Yesterday’s tendencies were demographic, social, economic, technological or environmental, whereas tomorrow’s trends will be not only global, but more specific than ever. Biotechnology, nanotechnology, augmented reality, robotics, and deep learning will all influence the designer’s actions and way of thinking. How can so much new data and information be integrated in future missions with full lucidity?
Keywords: intersectionality; complexity; processing; global trends; circulation of knowledge; globalization; specificity; specialization
Design spaces are mutating, in step with the ever changing technological, physical and spatial interactions of humans with the world. Temporal spaces create experiences aligned with the ways people actually live and work, and reflect how they move and live in environments. What are these new ways of being in space and time and how are human computer interactions (HCI) and artificial intelligence changing design solutions?
Keywords: technological spaces; temporal spaces; design spaces; physical interactions; physical interactions; computer interactions; artificial intelligence
Crisis and resilient design:
Crises around the world provide an important challenge for design. Designers improve human conditions through socially responsible design and approaches such as humanitarian design or resilience design. For instance, what solutions, temporary or otherwise, can design provide for refugees and people displaced by natural disasters or war, to name a few?
Keywords: crisis; challenge; improving human condition; humanitarian design; resilience design; socially-responsible design; refugees; natural disaster; war
Concepts are expanding to take account for extreme spaces, which involves new and different ways of thinking about spaces and their design. How might design consider new concepts such as liquid disciplines and extreme situations?
Keywords: extreme spaces; spaces design; new concepts; liquid discipline; extreme situations; design thinking
Natural disasters (predictable or not):
Natural disasters can have devastating effects on human life. What lessons for the future can we learn from historical responses to natural events ranging from earthquakes to hurricanes? How should the design disciplines assess and take into account risks from natural hazards, and how can we create policies, plans, and designs to yield safer, more disaster-resilient communities?
Keywords: natural disasters; historical responses; natural events; resilient communities; affect on human life; policies; plans
Disasters caused by human action, such as war and famine, can be as destructive as the most powerful natural devastation. What is the role of design in generating or managing disasters? And how can design help those affected by man-made disasters and emergencies through policy, infrastructure, and improved means of communication and aid?
Keywords: man-made disasters; natural devastation; long term effects; managing disasters; managing disaster with design
Socio-economic and political contexts:
We can think of the various impacts designers can have in extreme situations on two levels: material and climate-related (desertification or natural disasters), or political and social (urban poverty, overpopulation, immigration, political instability). A new understanding of these issues by designers seems necessary, considering that the frequent overlap of these types of situations generates crises that are all the more complex and dramatic. How can designers bring forth solutions and tools for understanding in such complex emergencies?
Keywords: socio-economic issues; political issues; crisis; state of emergency; solutions; understanding tools; design of action
Resilient cities and territories:
Extreme weather events impose the transformation of many aspects of our built environments. Issues of food and energy are also at the heart of resilience concerns- how do designers have to rethink our food and energy systems? What contribution can the designers make in the face of the economic decline of certain territories?
Keywords: extreme weather events; built environment; energy supply; resilience; resilient territories; economic decline
Urban design for temporary settings and crises:
Emergency planning becomes a major concern in the face of cyclical, seasonal and weather changes. To what extent can we plan in advance, whether in contexts of rapid urbanization, where informal habitats have existed for a long time, or in the integration of climate refugees? Does the designer also have something to contribute in the short term, in contexts typically preceded by studies and long-term planning?
Keywords: emergency urbanism; temporary urbanism; informal habitat; urban planning; climate refugees; short term; long term
Where extremes coexist:
How can we promote the functional and social diversity of ouHow can we promote the functional and social diversity of our living environments? Multigenerational or intercultural housing and areas of extreme socioeconomic diversity are all challenges to conventional practice. In the face of extreme homogeneity or spatial segregation, can design encourage diversity through various approaches and ways that promote solidarity rather than confrontation?
Keywords: Social mix; functional mixing; intergenerational housing; intercultural housing; cohabitation; socio-economic differences; conventional practices; extreme homogeneity; spatial segregation
Urbanization beyond cities: the hinterland, extended:
The cities of classical Greece and Renaissance Italy evolved as dense, compact centers in symbiotic relationships with their local regional hinterlands. As city-states combined into larger entities, their hinterlands expanded in parallel, first to national scale and, today, to global scale, as proliferating world trade creates a “planetary system of production”. What are the implications for cities and hinterland landscapes of this revolutionary development?
Keywords: urban centers; policies; urban canopy; added economic value; potential; environmental welfares; scale; benefits; global warming; spatial justice
From the margins to the center: global warming and human habitats:
Climatic events draw development toward fringes and edges, often near large bodies of water, dramatically affecting local communities and ecologies, disrupting economies, and forcing resettlement. How often have projects designed to mitigate or adapt to climate change instead affected areas where people could live? Through which spatial/ecological and socio-political strategies can resilience be achieved to better empower local communities in disaster-prone zones?
Keywords: classic Greece; Renaissance Italy; Hinterlands expansion; planetary system production; revolutionary development
Landscapes of violence: reconciliatory ambitions:
The vast programs of urban, industrial and agricultural expansion of the nineteenth century resembled violent military operations in their thoughtless destruction of geographic features, including lakes, rivers, and vegetation. But these early errors were often corrected in subsequent stages of development and landscape architecture professionals frequently served as a “countervailing force” to the violence and destruction of the first development wave.
Keywords: global warming; human habitats; fringes; edges; local communities; ecologic; economies; resettlement; spatial/ ecological strategies; socio-political strategies; resilience; local empowerment; zones; disaster
Recent migratory movements are challenging political and design strategies to forecast gradual human migrations between countries and even within one country, through political upheavals and/or as a result of climate change. As rising sea levels change the shape of continents, as new spaces become more accessible and others unliveable, the capacity to adjust to such dramatic shifts will become even more essential. Canada, reaching all the way to the Arctic, will be at the heart of those changes. How can design solutions support these sociological, economic or political migrations?