The profession is in transition. We are questioning what is relevant. For many, the focus only on issues of elite culture is not enough. There is a growing desire to tackle problems of broader social impact; the continued expansion of The 1% program alone demonstrates appetite for social engagement.
While this shift has been influential, the question still remains: do we possess the skills and experience to address vexing social problems when the most troubling conditions are in communities and cultures that are unfamiliar to designers? Whether those communities are across town or around the world, they are the underserved and by definition designers don’t have much experience serving them.
We are witnessing successful projects around the nation and globe, yet there is much that we need to learn. The Public Dialogue seeks to build our knowledge by advancing our understanding of the following questions:
- How can we best use design thinking as tool for social change?
- How can designers effectively work for underserved communities?
- What is the impact of the built environment on our lives?
- What is the role and value of pro bono service for the design profession?
- How do we measure design’s effectiveness?
We are putting forth this discourse because we believe it to be urgent; however, the focus of these topics will change as the perspectives of individuals and organizations within our industry evolve. Being such, your input is important to us. If you believe there is anything we have missed, or if you have content to contribute to this conversation, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.