How to See a Place
How does one see a place? How do we experience it, feel it, know it? For the past nine days, Nicole Lavelle, Sarah Baugh and myself spent a good deal of time, both directly and indirectly, exploring this question. It’s a question certainly not uncommon to those who travel, or to those who do extensive work in places outside the ones they call home. It’s a question those engaged in...
Quote No. 008
Q: What are the boundaries of design? A: What are the boundaries of problems? Q: What is the future of design? A: [no answer] Charles Eames interviewed by Madame Amic, 1969
Beyond Problem Solving
As the end of the school term draws near, I’ve been racing to get through a very large stack of checked-out library books. One such book, Bright Minds, Beautiful Ideas, explores the parallels of thought between three historical designers and two contemporary ones. They are Bruno Munari, Charles and Ray Eames, Marti Guixe and Jurgen Bey. In his introduction, co-editor Ed Annink offers a...
Call for Collaborators
The Everyday Institute (MTTB’s sister entity) is seeking individuals working in public policy to collaborate on a series of publications/teaching tools to make civic processes more accessible to a broader audience. Interested parties should get in touch to discuss further details.
Thinking about Design
My old friend Nicole Lavelle and new friend Sarah Baugh are in Detroit this week. A more detailed report on the activities this had yielded to follow. However, rest assured we have been talking and thinking a lot about design and how we position (or don’t position) ourselves within this realm. All this thinking has gotten me thinking that I probably do too much thinking. Regardless, I...
Quote No. 007
The biggest impact social entrepreneurs can have is not their solutions to problems; it is their recruiting thousands of local changemakers to give their ideas wings in community after community after community. – Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka Quick read on Drayton’s vision for changemaking here.
Yesterday, during a surprisingly undisturbed break between classes, I snatched the latest issue of Fast Company from the design department’s well-stocked periodical rack to glance at the cover article entitled, The Secrets of Generation Flux. If I had a nickel for each time I’ve heard myself or one of my peers suggest that their current working environment, education tract or otherwise...
Quote No. 006
Design for social change is a very “sexy” topic and you see a lot of design firms now going to the public sector and to NGO’s saying, ‘We’re designers, we’re here to help you!’ And they’re like, ‘What are you talking about? You don’t speak our language, you don’t know development theory, you don’t know our approach.’ –...
In Defense of Graphic Design
I’ve been spending a good amount of time in recent weeks developing visual tools for D:hive, a talent retention and attraction experiment in Detroit. Though I still find myself in constant grapple with the graphic design profession, I’ve been humbly reminded this week that graphic design, though often perceived as the court jester among the design disciplines (a bit trivial next to...
Rumination No. 011
Knowing a lot about the world, the place you live, and how things really work (or in many cases don’t work) is a lot more useful then keeping up with the design blogs.
On Social Design
I have a love/hate relationship with the term social design, mainly because, despite the fact I have no idea what it really means, I still find myself wielding it frequently in conversations with other designers and non-designers alike. Some days, I’m certain there’s absolutely no point in even endeavoring to crack open the puzzle. Other days, like today, I’m desperate to find...
Harbinger of Good Taste
I am continually inspired by the work of CUP (Center for Urban Pedagogy), in New York City. Bringing together individuals of varying backgrounds, CUP produces educational tools, workshops and project-based curricula that aim to demystify complex city policy and planning issues. The organization’s approach to public engagement through civic education is largely driven by access to (and a...