design, civic engagement, & the challenge of wicked problems

Download Design, Civic Engagement, & The Challenge of Wicked Problems

Post on 22-Jul-2016

217 views

Category:

Documents

4 download

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

Together, in June 2014, the Kettering Foundation & the Community Design Research Center at the University of Virginia convened a group of urban design, planning & architecture researchers that engage directly with their communities to explore the role of design thinking as a civic engagement strategy.

TRANSCRIPT

  • D E S I G N , C I V I C E N G A G E M E N T & THE CHALLENGE OF WICKED PROBLEMS

    SYMPOSIUM REPORT

    K E T T E R I N GF O U N D AT I O N

    hosted by in collaboration with

    JUNE 2, 2014

  • WW

    what is distinctive about civic engagement for the

    design disciplines?

    what civic engagement practices are most promising for increasing the capacity of citizens (including our students) to make decisions & act

    together over that issues that affect their lives?

    why does engagement

    matter?

    are we asking the right questions?

    what do we do in design schools that doesnt

    happen other places?

    how do you deploy your students on the ground?

    why do you think the design profession can

    raise the universitys bar in engagement?

    1

  • WW

    how do the design fields encounter wicked

    problems?

    how do the design disciplines clarify,

    amplify, or challenge how higher education

    institutions engage with community challenges?

    what naively am I missing to be anxious

    about?

    what intuitively do you think design has in particular to take us to the next level?

    where is this groundswell

    coming from?

    how can you engage with communities & work toward

    tenure?

    2

    what are we teaching

    students about community

    change?what

    is civic capacity?

  • PARTICIPANTS

    Suzanne Morse Moomaw, co-convener John Dedrick, co-convenerAssociate Professor, Urban & Environmental PlanningDirector, Community Design Reseach CenterUniversity of Virginia School of Architectureswm2x@virginia.edu

    Vice-President & Program DirectorCharles F. Kettering Foundationjrdedrick@kettering.org

    Derek S. Hyra Judith E. InnisAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Public Administration & PolicySchool of Public AffairsAmerican Universityhyra@american.edu

    Professor Emerita, City & Regional PlanningCollege of Environmental DesignUniversity of California Berkeleyjinnes@berkeley.edu

    Harriett Jameson Michael RiosLecturer & Program DirectorCommunity Design Reseach CenterUniversity of Virginia School of Architectureharriettjameson@virginia.edu

    Associate ProfessorLandscape Architecture & Environmental DesignChair, Community Development Graduate GroupDepartment of Human EcologyUniversity of California - Davismxrios@ucdavis.edu

    William H. Sherman Rusty SmithProfessor of ArchitectureAssociate Vice President for ResearchUniversity of Virginia School of Architecturewhs2b@virginia.edu

    Associate Chair, Program of ArchitectureAssociate Director, Rural StudioSchool of Architecture, Planning, & Landscape Arch.Auburn Universityrustysmith@auburn.edu

    Roy Strickland Deborah Witte Professor of ArchitectureDirector, Master of Urban Design ProgramTaubman College of Architecture & Urban PlanningUniversity of Michigan granite@umich.edu

    Program OfficerCharles F. Kettering Foundationdwitte@kettering.org

    3

  • The only difference between a problem & a solution is that people understand the solution.

    -Charles F. Kettering

    4

  • The Kettering Foundation is rooted in the idea that truly collaborative research is the only method

    that will catalyze the innovation needed to address todays wicked problems. Likewise, the Community

    Design Research Center at the University of Virginia is committed to addressing these issues through

    collaborative research around place. By pushing the boundaries of design & planning, the center

    pioneers innovative collaboration, design thinking, & tactical solutions.

    Together, in June 2014, the Kettering Foundation & the Community Design Research Center at the

    University of Virginia convened a group of urban design, planning & architecture researchers that engage

    directly with their communities to explore the role of design thinking as a civic engagement strategy.

    Held in Washington, DC, the symposium was entitled Design Civic Engagement & the Challenge of

    Wicked Problems. The invitation read as follows:

    We think the time is ripe for a fresh exploration of the role the design fields can play in

    strengthening the connections between university campuses & the larger communities in which

    they are located. In brief, while community engagement programs are now well established on

    many campuses, the potential for the kind of engagement that is mutually beneficial to both

    communities & campuses has not yet been fully developed. As Kettering Foundations President

    David Mathews has argued, universities & communities are often ships passing in the night.

    We hypothesize that professionals in the design fields are well positioned to advance the theory

    & practice of democratic engagement, which is essential to advancing the core responsibilities

    5

    INTRODUCTION

  • of teaching, research, & service.

    The two-day conversation sparked many debates around discipline, pedagogy, & systemic issues, & raised

    questions about the ways university design schools can most effectively engage in a community. Among the

    topics under discussion, for example:

    How do the design disciplines challenge & inform how universities engage with communities?

    What conditions have created a desire for public interest design?

    How do design schools address wicked problems through teaching, research, & practice?

    This report synthesizes the key themes, issues, challenges, & opportunities that were explored during this two-day

    symposium. While the conversations raised as many questions as they answered, they succeeded in providing a

    framework for situating university design schools within their communities as agents of collaborative democracy &

    change.

    6

    INTRODUCTION

  • THE DESIGN EDUCATION & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IMPERATIVEISSUES & CHALLENGES If the second millennium was defined by

    dichotomiesurban/rural, first world/third

    world, industrialized/non-industrialized,

    shrinking/expanding, North/Souththe

    third millennium will be characterized by

    morphologies. Shifts in climate, population,

    natural resources, infrastructures, territories,

    & economies will yield unprecedented urban

    & environmental challenges. These transitions

    generate wicked problemsissues difficult to

    recognize & to solve because of ever-changing

    conditionsfor our communities.

    Doctors have an ethical & professional responsibility to act when they see a crisis. Architects need to be the same way. Institutions like the Rural Studio exist because the profession is not fulfilling the need.

    -Rusty Smith, Auburn University

    The responsibility of higher education

    institutions for shaping & preparing future

    architects, landscape architects, & urban

    designers & environmental planners to meet the

    ever-growing, complex, & shifting challenges

    of the 21st century has never been greater.

    There is a need for current programs in the

    built environment to respondto be more

    innovative, integrative, responsive, & relevant

    both to professional practice & the needs of our

    communities. Curriculum & education delivery

    must respond by thinking & acting outside the

    box.

    The question of how these disciplines should

    adapt remains a matter of debate. Several

    tensions arise. First, academic programs are

    required to develop both theoretical & skill-

    based competencies related to socio-spatial

    issues, open-minded inquiry & research, &

    problem solving skills via either critical analysis

    (planners) or an iterative design process

    (designers). Secondly, professionals/employers

    expect these programs to provide students with

    a tool-box of basic skillssuch as GIS analysis,

    3D modeling, & graphic representation

    needed in the professional setting. Lastly,

    community organizations, activists, & citizens

    want their universities (especially public higher

    education institutions) to engage disadvantaged

    citizens, advocate for community needs, &

    contribute to issues of environmental & social

    injustice.

    Beyond this plethora of expectations for what

    programs should be doing, there are also

    questions of when these expectations must

    be met. Academic institutions operate on a

    very different time-scale than do communities.

    Course work & student involvement rely on

    a semester or quarter cycle. The academic

    calendar usually spans nine months, with a four-

    week break for the holidays. Often, grants must

    be completed & outcomes delivered within one

    fiscal year. Tenure-track faculty members must

    complete a project that is meaningful, impactful,

    & relevant in a designated timeframe.

    At the community level, change happens much

    more slowly. It can take five, seven, or ten years

    for a community to successfully execute a new

    comprehensive plan or realize a newly designed

    public space. Communities are subject to the

    fluctuating tides brought about by elections,

    budget appropriation changes, & shifting

    priorities, making cultural change difficult. And,

    while a citizen may live in a community where he

    or she can be affected by a design proposal for

    7

  • an entire lifetime, a student is in & out