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.
Team Sorting Exercise: In this class we will also run a brief exercise to form three teams that will work together during the semester to undertake the 6 assignments. Transition Design is an inherently collaborative and transdisciplinary approach, so the objective is to form teams with as high a degree of diversity as possible. Ideally teams will have more than 1 discipline represented and be comprised of students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Selecting a Wicked Problem as the Basis for Course Assignments: Once teams have been formed, they will select from a list of 11 wicked problems confronting the city of Pittsburgh, one to focus on for the duration of the semester. Each team’s wicked problem will serve as the basis for the 6 assignments during the semester. Teams should begin conducting research on their topic immediately and begin adding to this knowledge over the course of the semester. We recommend using a collaborative platform such as Evernote that enables archiving in multiple formats and shared among team members.
See Additional Resources for this class before you begin the readings. We also recommend reading the About the Assignments page which will guide team’s thinking and research in order to be prepared for assignments 1-2 next week.