Lecture – 1.18.2017

Introduction

Terry Irwin & Gideon Kossoff

Fundamental change at every level of our society is needed to address the issues confronting us in the 21st century. Transition Design is a new area of design practice, research and study that advocates design-led societal transition toward more sustainable futures. (By design-led we mean that people from all walks of life, including professional designers, can use the tools and approaches of design to intentionally seed, catalyze and direct positive societal change at multiple levels of scale). Transition Design proposes the re-conception of entire lifestyles, integrates new knowledge from many different fields and disciplines to inform new approaches to understanding complex problems and designing for their solution using new skillsets. The lecture will also provide an overview of Transition Design and its origins: (Great Transition Initiative, Transition Network, Socio-Technical Transition Theory etc.), and the implications for design and designers.

See Additional Resources for this class before you begin the readings.

Discussion Prompts

  • What are some likely scenarios if society does not ‘transition’?
  • Are designers more suited than experts from other disciplines to address large, complex problems? What roles can design and designer play in societal transitions?
  • In what ways are complex problems such as poverty, climate change and terrorism interconnected?
  • How is design implicated in the large problems facing us in the 21st century?

Read Prior to Class

  • Escobar, Arturo. Transiciones. Unpublished article. pp 1–11*
  • Grin, John, Jan Rotmans and Johan Schot. 2010. Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Transitions. In Transitions to Sustainable Development: New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change. London. Routledge. pp 126–139*

Supplemental Readings

  • Grin, John, Jan Rotmans and Johan Schot. 2010. Introduction: Exploration of the Research Topic. In Transitions to Sustainable Development: New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change. London. Routledge. pp 11–17*
  • Orr, David W. 1994. Designing Minds. In Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect. Washington D.C.: Island Press. pp 104–111*
Discussion Session – 1.23.2017

The Transition Design Framework

Francis Carter, Michelina Campanella, Tammy Tarng and Eunjung Paik

The Transition Design framework proposes four mutually influencing and co-evolving areas in which future-based narratives, knowledge, skills and action can be aggregated and developed: 1) vision; 2) theories of change; 3) mindset/posture; 4) new ways of designing. In general, frameworks are conceptual maps or models that can guide, inform and shape practice, research and study and this framework is used to help formulate and evolve the new ways of thinking, being and designing that Transition Design requires.

See Additional Resources for this class before you begin the readings.

Discussion Prompts

  • What is the value of working with a framework such as this? What are the dangers or potential drawbacks?
  • What are the synergies and relationships that you can see between the four areas of the framework?
  • What are examples of frameworks used in design and other fields that you have found helpful? When have these frameworks become a hinderance?
  • Begin to speculate on what Transition Design is and is not.
  • What is the difference between a framework and a process?

Read Prior to Class

Supplemental Readings