Whenever someone asks me, “What is Social Design and why are you studying it in a graduate degree?” my answer is both short and long.
Social Design is a field which takes design concepts and design thinking together and applies them to the challenges the world has today.
But why am I on this path in Social Design? I had lost my way – overwhelmingly, catastrophically lost my way – over the course of my career in architecture. Designing and making beautiful places no longer brought me a sense of joy; I became acutely aware of the profession’s ability to destroy both our natural environment and our social well-being. I’ve seen projects excavate greenfields to build an “environmental awareness center.” I’ve seen designers ignore the dangerous conditions of those who build their projects, insisting that “it’s out of our control.” I’m passionate about working to address that often-unspoken side of the industry. I’m passionate about working against that indifference. The more I thought about it, the more I became unsettled because this phenomenon exists in most other industries as well, not just design. It exists in the garment industry, the technology industry, the transportation industry. The work we do in our own little bubbles every day sets off a domino chain of effects around the globe. I honestly cannot explain the compulsion to help address this, but my instincts are telling me this is something I am called to do.
I still recognize there is a lot I don’t know I don’t know about Social Design. I hope to keep finding inspiration, resources, and guidance so I can discover where I can contribute, where I fit, and how I can craft a career. And if it doesn’t exist, well, maybe I’ll invent it myself.
For my complete thesis publication in PDF, please see here. Otherwise, individual sections can be accessed below.
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