Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’ by Alastair Fuad-Luke

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Published on March 14, 2014

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Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism

Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’ Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke Mert Kulaksız 4.03.2014 Where Goes The Daily ID 501 Advanced Project Development in Industrial Design Middle East Technical University, Department of Industrial Design

Maverick, solo designer or co-designer? “…design’s supreme role has been, and continues to be, about giving form to the concurrent industrial, consumer and information economies, all connected within a greater globalized economy. Design makes the material forms of these economies culturally acceptable.”(pp. 187) industrial economy consumer economy information economy globalized economy Currently, design to form these economies ‘Heads are round so that thoughts can change direction.’ Francis Picabia Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

INTRODUCTION “This is not to say that design has been devoid of altruism for broader societal concerns. Nor has design totally ignored the effect of its materialized outcomes on nature. Yet, as we look at man-made artefacts, the built environment, and the manufacturing and public infrastructures, we are gazing on an aesthetic that represents collectively endorsed visions of ‘beauty’ verified as economically viable.”(pp. 187) Many other visions of beauty simply do not make it to reality because they do not meet with the current culture of economics. “We need a new vision of beauty – we could call this beauty, ‘beautiful strangeness’”(pp. 188) Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

INTRODUCTIONA Beauty that is - unusual - intrigue - with full of newness - appeals to innate sense of curiosity - more than skin deep - envisioned, planned by society, not just by big business and governments - serving and healing society’s divides( around wealth, health, education, access to digital and other technologies) - adaptable to future - not ‘de-futuring’ - slowing down the economy and putting our energies into other societal values and measurables That is why design needs to take on a more activist role on behalf of society/ societies and the environment. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

Happy Planet Index (HPI) Life Expectancy X Life Satisfaction Ecological Foot Print = New Economic Foundation HPI is a measure of ecological efficiency delivering human well-being. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

Anticipating Democracy and “Countries at the top of the list may surprise: first is Vanuatu, the pacific island state, second is Colombia and third is Costa Rica, all blessed with good ecological capacity and populated with contented, long-lived peoples” “Clearly material development and wealth do not necessarily equate with subjective notions of a good or better life. Significantly, the NEF reports also indicate that higher social capital tends to exist where life satisfaction is highest.” “Building social capital and improving human well-being are therefore two mutual ambitions for design activism” Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

THE CREED OF PROGRESS Climate change will drive a dramatic re- evaluation of local and regional biotic(living) assets because existing patterns of agriculture, water use, human habitation and biodiversity will change with rising global temperatures. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

THE CREED OF PROGRESS” www.mcdonoughpartners.com . “Most countries will have to deeply consider their food, energy and water security in a more uncertain world” Plans for urban rooftop farming by William McDonough for China. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

THE CREED OF PROGRESS” . Cuba experienced radical shifts in land ownership, societal organization and application of permaculture design thinking to reduce dependence on external synthetic inputs and by regenerating using nature’s own ability to maintain levels of fertility. www.conspiracywiki.com Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

THE CREED OF PROGRESS” . BedZED, Beddington Zero Emission Development, new expressions in visions of productive urban Landscapes. www.en.Wikipedia.org Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

CONCLUSION Designers, like artists, are perceived by the public as possessing ‘natural’ creativity and the boundary between these two creative agencies is pretty blurred. The vagueness with which the public perceive designers may be an advantage to the maverick, solo designer who wishes to gain the attention of the public by an act of design activism, since such an activity would be expected of artists. Each designer may find some projects are more easily pursued solo, whereas others are better suited to more participatory, co-design modes of work. For designers that already hold an ‘iconic’ status in the profession, and with a wider public, they may bring effective leverage to solo maverick and participatory design projects. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

Suzi Gablik, in her book The Re-enchantment of Art, ‘calls for an end to the alienation of artists and aesthetics from social values in a new interrelational, audience-oriented art’.25 In the same way, design needs to enjoin with active citizens to co-create and co-design the new ‘now’, the counter-narrative that points to a new directionality, towards sustaining that which genuinely sustains. We need a participatory democracy and proper spaces for it. Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

Wharenui, Maori Gathering House http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wharenui Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

CONCLUSION Taking these living and past traditions suggests the notion of a new democratic space for design. Let’s give it the designation ‘MootSpace’ where every citizen (and citizen designer) knows their voice will be heard.(pp. 200) “Whatever form the ‘MootSpace’ takes it should be a space that the group or community ‘owns’, one where they can comfortably discourse and co-design their ‘now’ and their future. Perhaps this is one arena where design activism will gather momentum to deliver participatory democracy, human flourishing and ecosystem renewal.”(pp. 200) Adaptive Capacity: Design as a Societal Strategy for Designing ‘Now’ and ‘Co-futuring’, Design Activism Alastair Fuad-Luke

DISCUSSION POINTS To which degree should accessibility to digital and other technologies be a good concern for our project? What type of other understandings can be offered regarding ‘technology’? How can the socially responsible options and its benefits can be made visible through design to stakeholders, to make them preferable? Can a digital platform provide a proper space as ‘Mootspace’ could do? ‘…towards sustaining that which genuinely sustains.’ What types of tools can be provided to society to evaluate the genuineness of governments and big businesses.

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