March 20, 2017

Discussion Session 3.20.2017 – The Mechanistic Worldview

  • How does the mechanistic worldview influence the way designers, see and solve problems?
  • Can worldview cause designers to be blind to certain problems while seeing others?
  • How can we critically use the mechanistic worldview?
  • Is it possible to design responsibly and sustainably from within a mechanistic paradigm? In what ways would it impede or facilitate solutions?

Discussion Leaders: Minrui Li, Bori Lee, Vikas Yadav and Olivia Shoucair

  1. This is a very interesting and relevant topic to the current state of this world. I think that the mechanistic worldview tends to simplify problems so that they are more easily solved. And by no means am I saying our mechanized systems are simple. But as we talked about in class, they are predicable and predictable systems are easier to solve for and to anticipate. We are humans, it’s human nature to both do the easiest thing, and to come up with a reliable solution to a problem. From a totally hypothetical situation, wouldn’t it be preferable to design for a system that is 100% predictable? I think it’s easy to understand why a mechanistic worldview has become so prevalent. It’s actually the much harder way to look at nature holistically.

    And when we’re presented with a mechanized system, it is also easy to follow that system. But armed with this insight, we can begin to question and examine what we are doing, and not to ‘blindly follow along.’ One part of our in-class activity that I thought was cool was where we came with positives that this mechanistic system provided. My group as the ‘lack of access to health food group’ found, mechanized farming is what allows this over-populated world to be fed. Take that away and large groups of our population can’t be fed and this destabilization would lead to other drastic consequences, namely conflict.

    There are always ways to include more responsible & sustainable design within a mechanized system. Take farming again for instance. An organization which buys produce, I would imagine, orders a specific amount. We have the notion that this amount is ‘too much’ and further taxes the farmer and farm lands. But what if that order were slightly less? What if this organization purchased their food from a farm that observed more sustainable practices? This may not drastically alter our food system, but it would certainly be a small step in the right direction. What if more stores and distributors modified their buying practices? Would we begin to see actual change?

    • I really appreciate this comment, Jesse. I think you have a great perspective on the different worldview’s and what actions they both afford and constrain in the real world. I think the overlap in WV is a really nice space to practice design within. I was speaking with Terry in class on Wednesday and she mentioned that Goethean science was an area where this overlap in WV existed in both theory and practice. I feel this would be a great practical goal for Transition Design to strive for, to align WV so those impacted by our design’s. Encouraging them to experience both holistic and mechanistic interpretations, to come away from the designed experience with a new mindset

      ( Here is the link for the movie about Cuba agricultural production in the 90’s in an era called The Special Period. Entitled, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, the documentary tells the story of the collapse of the USSR and Cuba’s access to oil which supported their mechanistic economy. Cuba was forced to adapt a realistic combination of holistic and mechanistic perspectives to overcome the oil crisis. Cuban’s became highly self-resourceful and transitioned their economy, policies and day-to-day behaviors toward more ecologically beneficial practices and shifted their cultural mindset in the process. I hope it helps you think about what is possible in your practice and a recognition to the power of community.

      • Michelina Campanella March 24, 2017 at 10:01 pm Reply

        Thank you Francis for sharing that link, and Jesse for your thoughtful comment and mentioning the potential consequences of changing mechanized farming, namely starvation and international conflict.

        Looking at our wicked problem through the lens of the mechanistic worldview was a simple exercise for our group, because the food system on the industrial scale is already a very mechanized. To Jesse’s point, breaking down this complex system into isolated, component parts and optimizing each step with chemicals and machinery has created an efficient and reliable machine that feeds the world, and disrupting it could cause starvation and international conflicts, among pain and suffering. I understand the appeal of mechanized systems for their so-called predictability, but as we have learned (and debated) no system is 100% predictable, and the food system is certainly not, especially in the face of a changing climate.

        We pointed out in our MLP presentation that this system is vulnerable because it has not built in the flexibility to adapt to climate change (of which it is a main culprit), and because of this the system will break down, whether by preemptive choice or by cataclysm. I find the irony of the mechanistic world view to be deeply upsetting: to impose control over natural systems and break them apart is to increase their vulnerability to the changing, natural world. For example, monocrop operations have an extreme lack of biodiversity which leaves them open to disease spreading throughout an entire crop. In the natural world, plants and insects work together to keep viruses in check, and without the immunity of multiple species in an ecosystem monocrops are incomprehensibly at risk.

        In short, the mechanistic world view is rife with contradiction. It strives for control and to eliminate risk while failing to acknowledge that the component parts exist in an ever-evolving ecosystem, and because of this it destroys any chance at resiliency.

  2. Our conversations about the mechanistic worldview brought me back to thinking about our section on MLP models. I looked back on what I had written for that discussion post, and found this “People are very predisposed to viewing problems within their own experiences, and thus explore issues as they observed them within their lifetime. This impedes our ability to see transitions, because we fail to identity many of the cause/effect relationships with the past that impact our relationship today.” Looking back at this post, I can see my own tendency to take a mechanistic worldview perspective towards the MLP mapping assignment. I was taking a very reductionist approach, wgere past events lead to present events lead to future events. Although I was endeavoring to take a holistic approach, where we viewed crime in Pittsburgh within the context of the larger system’s history, I fell into Mechanistic thinking. It is very easy to think that there is a structured, linked chain of events over the course of history. Rather, I should acknowledge that events and current scenarios are a more fluid result of many factors and tendencies over time. This is something that I will need to keep reminding myself of, especially in regards to how I understand and make sense of global problems.

    • Delanie Ricketts March 24, 2017 at 8:24 pm Reply

      Vicky I think your comments really highlight just how difficult it is to step outside one’s own thinking paradigms. I also find myself reverting to a mechanistic worldview. I think that because a mechanistic worldview is so dominant in our daily lives it is impossible to completely challenge its impact on our everyday thinking. It takes real effort to think in more holistic ways, which makes a mechanistic worldview the default mode of thinking most of the time.

      I think design methods can help one challenge mechanistic thinking. By focusing on enabling new ideas to emerge and representing diverse perspectives, exploratory and generative methods may help designers see problems from new (non-mechanistic) vantage points. A focus on human centeredness also lends itself to a holistic worldview. While blinds spots will always exist for any given problem, making concerted efforts to understand a problem through multiple lens can help mitigate negative effects of approaching a problem from a single mindset.

      However, I think being aware of how a problem plays out in a mechanistic worldview has value as well. For instance, in development work in particular it is critical to be aware of resource and capacity constraints. To eliminate these real challenges from one’s thinking would result in an unsustainable solution. Nonetheless, it is the role of the designer to be aware not only of real world constraints that reflect current mechanistic systems, but to also be aware of how the system as whole might be improved from a holistic standpoint. Designing solutions purely to exist in a mechanistic system would result in simply perpetuating the issues inherent in such a system. Thus, neither a mechanistic or holistic worldview can result in sustainable solutions alone. It is the combination of a diversity of worldviews that engenders truly sustainable solutions.

    • Scott Dombkowski March 25, 2017 at 5:11 pm Reply

      Vicky and Delanie, I agree with both of you. The almost ubiquitous application of the mechanistic worldview in the world we live in makes thinking more holistically extremely difficult. Like you Vicky, I can also say that I took a reductionist approach towards mapping the practices at work in the gentrification of Pittsburgh. It was and is much easier to comprehend the entirety of the interconnected factors causing gentrification when thinking about them in a “structured, linked chain of events”.

      I do think that a combination of the more ubiquitous mechanistic worldview and a holistic worldview should be applied as we continue to design. While the mechanistic worldview has several shortcomings, it also provides structure and stability to create solutions for the world we live in.

    • I agree with Vicky that we need to constantly remind ourselves to jump out of mechanistic mindset and our own experience. I’m thinking that can we design a toolkit for this self-reflection activity, like question prompts?

  3. To me, worldviews are awesome tools of analysis to understand various dynamics at play. I think the reductionist approach in the mechanistic worldview can be used almost anyone to dissect and understand part of something, however, a holistic worldview might require collaboration. A mechanistic worldview can be used to scope in a problem from a certain lens whereas holistic worldview requires us to zoom out and see multiple mechanistic worldviews in conjunction to derive common dynamics. These dynamics can be useful in shifting the balance in a complicated system.

  4. Few days ago, my friends and I talked about the gentrification problem is Berlin. ( A decade ago Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit tried to attract creative types to the city by declaring “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy” (poor but sexy). But now the house rent is like skyrocket high. When my friend argued that it seemed inevitable since the land and house as rare private capital in urban area, I realized the worldview of private property dominated our mind of seeing the wicked problem.

    What if there were no idea about owning a land as a private property? We could see many ancient civilizations does not have such concept at all. Land can’t be own. Even now in China, people legally can’t own a land. Lands are all owned by government. For sure, I don’t think it is a way to solve the gentrification problem in Berlin. But I think it is a new way of thinking, otherwise the scarcity of resource will leads to a dead end and I don’t believe that government does not foresee the current situation a decade ago. People simply not able to figure out the solution in the dominated worldview.

  5. Manya Krishnaswamy March 26, 2017 at 2:35 am Reply

    It is inevitable that, as designers or human beings in general, we see the world around us, its problems, its successes from a unique perspective that is shaped by our past experiences, intuition, emotions, etc. Our minds gravitate towards the things we understand, are familiar with and have ways of identifying. It reminds me of a quote by Ludwig Wigginstein, “the limits of my language means the limits of my world”; we only see the things that we know about.

    As a result, the gaps in our knowledge and the biases of our worldviews mean that we definitely miss things. And, the moment we acknowledge this, we recognize the need for diversity when addressing problems. It allows us to compensate for the things we might miss.

    Due to the fact that the mechanistic world view is so deeply ingrained into many modern day societies, so are the values it carries with it. For example, I think the (over)emphasis on success at all costs can encourage designers (and other problem-solvers) to make clearly defined boundaries around problems. This ensures problems are tame, can be addressed within a given time frame and with a likelihood of success. If we focused more on long-term, positive social and environmental impact, then we would take a much broader view of problems and seek out more wholistic methods of addressing them.

  6. I think the idea of a mechanistic worldview vs. a holistic one is a false dichotomy. Breaking world views into two diametrically opposed paradigms is as reductionist as the mechanistic worldview that the lessons and readings so vehemently opposed. Before we talk about how to design responsibly within a “mechanistic worldview,” we should really critically examine what it means to dichotomize culture, experience, science, art, design, and society at large into two “worldviews.”

    If we don’t break down problems into their constituent parts, I’m not really sure how we would endeavor to solve them. Are we to ignore biology at the molecular level because it’s too reductionist? Should we forget about understanding carbon emissions at a granular scale so we can devise possible solutions on that level? Should we blindly accept the Gaia Hypothesis, even though mass extinction events disprove it?

    The problem with the transition design framework is that it ultimately upholds the very paradigms it’s proposing to break down. The world is far more complicated than mechanistic or holistic world views, and breaking them down that way does a disservice to complexity and the very systems we’re trying to solve for.

    • As much as I do sometimes like defining things as mechanistic or holistic (or to at least use it as a scale in which to place ideas), I do agree with Monica that putting these to in opposing paradigms is reductionist in itself. By doing so, we overlook many important situations because we have already put them in a box or on a spectrum. The world is indeed complex and unable to be supported fully on a structure of distinction in this way. However, I do think being cognizant of these modes of thinking and how they have influenced the world is helpful, but perhaps most helpful to critique how the framing of it came to be in the first place.

      • I really appreciate Monica and Tammy’s thoughts on creating false dichotomies. I think the framework that we’ve used to explore the concept of worldviews is helpful in that it allows us to navigate a great deal of complexity. At the same time, I also agree that dividing the world’s paradigms into two diametrically opposing worldviews is a very reductionist approach. I think it’s important that we recognize and discuss the limitations of this approach and to perhaps use these paradigms as a starting point for a more broader conversation around worldviews.

      • I also agree with Tammy and Monica. I think dividing a perspective into certain categories might create bias around the context. In order to tackle the problem in systemic level, we need both mechanistic and holistic view to break the monster down into little pieces to make it weak. This approach will help us to find some pinpoints that might have an opportunity area as a starting point. It seems impossible to take only one or the other way of thinking to solve today’s complex problem.

    • It saddened me to see the kinds of thoughts put forward for this class, assuming us a credulous bunch.

      Abram’s essay The Mechanical and the Organic was full of fallacy and misrepresentation. It centrally considers mechanisms as being similar to the mechanisms that humans have traditionally been able to create (macro-scale, metal and wood contraptions, relatively simple arrangements of objects) and proceeds to use this limited definition far past its threshold of usefulness. The operation of proteins in biological entities is, I’d argue, just as mechanistic an arrangement, even though it is tremendously more complicated. These molecules interact on a terrifically small scale and through intermolecular forces that are much more subtle than macro-scale contact. But that doesn’t divorce them from being arrangements that behave according to their structure, which is what I’d define as mechanism.

      Any research into the operation of nucleic acids will reveal that “machines” can assemble themselves. It requires a very limited appreciation of the subtlety of physical law to presume that such organizations of atoms are impossible, and fundamentally strips away the capability of the universe to produce complicated systems out of its own parameters.

      He also invokes Francis Bacon to attempt support of this term “natural magic”, selectively quoting so as to support his point. In reality Bacon holds the polar opposite position than what was quoted. Magic, Bacon categorizes, is a “distemper of learning”, a “vain imagination”.

      He says “natural magic pretendeth to call and reduce natural philosophy from variety of speculations to the magnitude of works; and alchemy pretendeth to make separation of all the unlike parts of bodies which in mixtures of natures are incorporate. But the derivations and prosecutions to these ends, both in the theories and in the practices, are full of error and vanity; which the great professors themselves have sought to veil over and conceal by enigmatical writings, and referring themselves to auricular traditions and such other devices, to save the credit of impostures”

      I’ll quote again: “For as for the natural magic whereof now there is mention in books, containing certain credulous and superstitious conceits and observations of sympathies and antipathies, and hidden proprieties, and some frivolous experiments, strange rather by disguisement than in themselves, it is as far differing in truth of Nature from such a knowledge as we require as the story of King Arthur of Britain, or Hugh of Bourdeaux, differs from Cæsar’s Commentaries in truth of story”

      and again “whosoever shall entertain high and vaporous imaginations, instead of a laborious and sober inquiry of truth, shall beget hopes and beliefs of strange and impossible shapes. And, therefore, we may note in these sciences which hold so much of imagination and belief, as this degenerate natural magic, alchemy, astrology, and the like, that in their propositions the description of the means is ever more monstrous than the pretence or end.”

      Be wary of belief systems that claim much but cannot be used to make predictions of future states. That is the only metric by which we can see how much a system of belief accords with reality.

    • I agree with Monica. I find the dichotomy and the term “worldview” misleading. Nobody sees everything only in terms of either mechanistic or holistic. I think there is value to both ways to evaluating a situation; the appropriateness of one or the other approach in a specific context may be debatable, but to suggest that one is inherently bad is, as Monica said, reinforcing a mechanistic, compartmentalized, myopic way of seeing the complex systems we are trying to work with.

      • I also agree. While viewing the world holistically most definitely has its positives, it cannot work alone. Without some reduction and a mechanistic framework, any problem could become unmanageable and unsolvable. As was illustrated by the wicked map activities, in order for people to gain a full understanding of a complex problem it may be necessary to reduce portions to digestible sizes, and then connect them after the fact.

  7. During the in class activity, our group talked about how even though our wick problem map is an attempt to use a holistic worldview, it ended up being very mechanistic. One step followed another and eventually when we had enough isolated strands, we were able to make connections between them; making them appear more holistic. Our conversation then transitioned into how people generally don’t just follow one type of world view: holistic or mechanistic. It is usually a combination of the two: a range between the two extremes. Even scientists, who might be seen as being mechanistic are not actually solely supportive of that world view. They, or we, all need the combination of the two world views to truly understand the world. For example, in order to understand a tornado, you would need to understand both what is happening with the surroundings, beyond the tornado itself, and down to the very molecules that are bumping into each other.

    So I think it is never about one view vs another. In order to under, we should pay attention and have mind for both the big picture as while as the finer details.

    • Insightful thought Lisa.

      I wonder a little bit at the distinction between holism and mechanism. I’m not sure that holism and mechanism are true opposites. It seems to me that holism and reductionism are more directly opposed. More directly to your point, within the wicked problem mapping space holistic and mechanistic analyses are occurring simultaneously and synthetically. Indeed a whole structure always has parts, and parts are always part of a whole.

      I think it’s almost like a microscope, with different power lenses. When you look at something with the naked eye, certain details and properties are clear. When you look at 10x, other properties become clear, when you look at 100x still other properties become clear. I would argue that we should view holism and mechanism in a similar way.

  8. This distinction between mechanistic worldview and holistic worldview feels a forced categorization. Transition Design talks about complex systems and connections and networks. It talks about one wicked problem giving rise to another and how we need to understand the entire network and keep having to shift our mindset and posture from narrow and focused design to looking out for the horizon and designing, keeping in mind the future generations. Then how can these two worldviews be so distinct from each other? Is there no overlap at all? Does having a human-centered approach imply that the environment, earth and everything else is being completely ignored? I completely agree with Monica when she says that the world is far more complicated than mechanistic or holistic worldviews. There sure is a more gray area that Transition Design has the capacity to highlight and that we need to critically analyze to solve the problems in the systems we are trying to redesign. Is it even possible to design with a holistic worldview without breaking the problem down into smaller parts to solve?

  9. I appreciated that we have an opportunity to reflect on mechanistic world view which is so prevalent and inherent in our mind. I do agree with Vicky, Delanie, and Scott in that we need to equip with the both view. Actually, I think completely seperating the two way of thinking is impossible.
    We always use the both view simultaneously by constantly shifting to one another. For instance, when my group examined a wicked problem, the lack of public transportation, as soon as we thought about the issue at the element level, such as taxi, bus, and subway, we imediately changed our view into holistic way and thought about it at system level like how the whole linkage of them serves the public.

  10. I agree with some of the points already made about mechanistic and holistic world views being present at the same time–I don’t agree that perspectives have to be boiled down to discrete categories. I connected this discussion back to an exercise we did last semester in Cameron’s class that helped us understand our world views and perspectives at that point in time-it might be worth reintroducing some of those frameworks at this point in transition design. Understanding your own perspective as a designer means understanding your own bias and how that might influence your approach to problem solving. It’s important to be aware of different approaches to problem solving and to recognize that perspectives can be fluid. For me, that means being predisposed to viewing problems within a more mechanistic worldview.

    • I appreciate your perspective here, Ashley. I agree with some of the comments above that reducing things into a mechanistic or holistic worldview is an oversimplification of how the world (and our minds) actually operate. We may be predisposed of thinking predominantly with one type of worldview, but the way we rationalize and navigate the world is always more complex and messy. We may lean more mechanistic in one part of our lives and then in a different context think more holistically. However, I think training ourselves to identify when and how we are applying our various biases and worldview into a situation is a critical step in self awareness and should be a pre-requisite in the design process. Relatedly, I don’t think that the either the mechanistic or holistic worldview are wholly right or wrong. We will likely create our best design propositions when we include a diversity of worldviews in the conversation and lets possibilities emerge from the intersections of these different ways of thinking.

  11. It seems inevitable that we see everything around us, from our world view. We are always at the center of it all. It always has been ‘me’ and everything else. We have ruled over other living beings like plants and animals, the earth itself. Now to think of it, designers have always been designing to give us more control – over people, over our surroundings, over everything. I wonder what would happen if we start designing to give away control. Does this also mean that new areas of design, like animal centered design or better even, earth-centered design emerge? Just making that shift from me being at the center to me being a small part of it all requires a huge leap in thinking.

    Given the current state, I wonder if its important to constantly shift between the worldview to better understand both sides of the coin.

  12. The mechanism is so inherent in our mind, and, so does holism. The essential thing is that dualism is a deficient thinking mode for people– why we always treat things as “black or white”? Why don’t treat these worldviews in a dynamic and flexible way?
    In my view, the mechanistic worldview helps us break down a problem into parts, simplify a problem, find a logical way to solve them, it’s efficient, rationalized and predictable which gives people a sense of being under control. But trapped in this worldview, our designed system would be rigid and fragile.
    Meanwhile, the holistic view is flexible, sustainable and context-based, with which people appreciate the creativity and uniqueness. But if just adopting this worldview, everything seems unpredictable, too diversified and we will feel overwhelmed.
    The world itself is complex and constantly changing, everything is intertwined. Just two worldviews are not enough for us to analyze it, however, they can help us analyze at least one aspect of the world. So adopting different worldviews and integrating them according to different contexts, that will be helpful.

  13. I agree with Minrui that two world views are not enough to analyze the world. I don’t think that there are just two world views. I don’t believe that people just view things as mechanistic or holistic. You can appreciate aspects of both and if anything, that’s more useful.

    I could see how the mechanistic worldview can cause designers to be blind to certain problems, *if* that designer only adopts that worldview and doesn’t consider others. The mechanistic worldview does allow us to break a problem into manageable parts, so that we can feel more in control. The problem with this is that it can make designers become very narrow and not consider the consequences or eco-system of their designs. However, this is not to say that I wholly disagree with this worldview. The mechanistic worldview allows for actionable items, which is a good thing. We need to couple that with other world views and we’ll be on the right path!

    • I agree with Denise and Minrui, in that talking about two kinds of worldview is quite reductive and disregards cultural differences.No one can make the claim that they have a kind of worldview or another, or that they have a combination of just mechanisticc or holistic, humans are more complex and nuanced than that. Context plays an important role in developing a worldview, and by context I mean a number of things geopolitical context, class, race, gender context, etc.

  14. The mechanistic worldview is a very effective and useful way for design practice. Not matter water kind of worldview a design holds, he/she would always a design frame to start with. Besides, even though holistic worldview would benefit problem-solving in better seeing all the relations tangled in wicked problems, mechanistic is more efficient methodology while facing an emergent situation.

    Just like the others mentioned before, mechanistic worldview and holistic worldview should not be applied separately. They are not completely opposite to each other. As designers, we need to have a holistic worldview as a long-term goal while reaching short term goals using mechanistic principles. Only wisely and appropriately applying both of them, we may eventually find a better solution to fix transition design problems,

    • I agree with what Leah said here. Although the mechanistic worldview might simplified the actual situation of the problem, it is at least a feasible way to approach the problem. And as people learn more and more about the system, the problem structure established from the mechanistic worldview will be closer and closer to reality. I acknowledge that this worldview can cause designers to be blind to certain part of the complex problem, but I guess it is inevitable. What we can do is to always be cautious of our limitations in both ability and sight.

      It is definitely possible to design responsibly and sustainably within a mechanistic paradigm. But just like what Leah said, using solely the mechanistic worldview might not be enough, since a holistic worldview tend to provide a longer term perspective to the wicked problems and would help making design solutions derived from mechanistic worldview more responsible and sustainable.

  15. It’s difficult not to view design problems from a mechanistic worldview. After this week’s readings, I reflected on many of my design projects, both in academia and in the professional world, and tried to analyze some of the ways we had pursued the projects. It is very true that the mechanistic worldview influences most aspects of our thinking methods – it is so prevalent in our culture and norms, as well as the way society is structured to think. The argument that it is a factor of causation in many wicked problems in our society is something that is debatable but I can see from the readings and class discussions how it can be a major contributor to our wicked problems. Looking at the flexible and inclusive nature of holistic worldview thinking, I am sure many of these problems can be assessed, but I strongly feel the nature of design problems need to have a balance of both structures of thought.

  16. I think it is apt to say that the practice of designing under the cocoon of mechanistic worldview not only influences but also limits us as designers, or even as individuals to sense issues that might make a deeper impact in the longer run. The mechanistic worldview, as I understand, revolves around predictable behaviors and behavior change patterns. While thinking about this belief of mechanists, I was reminded of Hannah Du Plessis’s thoughts about the forces that shape our behaviors, in one of the social-innovation design class. She mentioned how our genes, external norms of socialization and trauma experienced by a person really shape our behaviors. I am sure this only scratches the surface of how different factors and complexities define the mechanistic worldview and there is much more to explore even before we start building our values as designers.

  17. Well, mechanistic worldview is rooted in 18-19 century’s industrial revolution, which hugely affected the meaning of design, and so we are still living in the same frame of approaching design with commercial purposes and perspectives. Building attractive business model has become the most fundamental aspect when we design something (in fact, everything). Most of successful businesses are basically based on attracting people and sometimes without caring about sustainability, which proves mechanistic worldview is working. Some of wicked problems is coming from mechanistic worldview. We are literally living in a world where mechanistic worldview is everywhere. We can’t get rid of it. But what I think we should pursue is that, we should think about a novel way that encourages us to consider and care about sustainability within mechanistic worldview. I don’t think this typical worldview is about wrong or correct.

  18. When our group took a look at world views in relation to our wicked problem—the mechanistic worldview was deeply rooted in the problem of affordable housing, particularly here in Pittsburgh. It was clear that the prediction of the “tech boom” increased development and was a driving factor for gentrification in many low-income neighborhoods. Having us work through each of these topics with our wicked problems has given me a broader view of the issue at hand and has allowed me to look at the problem from many angles. While this problem was driven by mechanistic approach, I believe that we as designers can facilitate solutions that may take a more holistic approach. We discussed a lot surrounding affordable housing and policy. We also discussed how designers might be able to offer alternatives to building large developments that displace residents. I think that it is one of many challenges we face—designing in a mechanistic worldview. It is also important that we are able to work in any world view and design for a better outcome.

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