inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #76 of 83: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 30 Apr 08 06:56
    
I think new professional organizations are probably in order. I can't
imagine, for example, the AIGA or the Graphic Artists' Guild advocating
the radical choice Jet suggested (don't do a print piece, do something
online) as opposed to the incremental choice I suggested (just make
recycled/fsc certified paper part of the assumption).

Although it does entertain me to think about forming a radical
splinter group of the AIGA.

I'm curious whether you think there are any parallels to, say, LEED ND
or even regular LEED and Alexander's "a pattern language" -- he
advocated many of the same approaches (at least in terms of thinking of
house/neighborhood as a system that needs to work well together) and
approaches cult status in some small communities -- but is largely
ignored otherwise.  Are these LEED programs destined for the same fate?

I guess my strategy question is -- how do we make these part of a
general cultural assumption, not just a smaller community of true
believers?
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #77 of 83: I dare you to make less sense! (jet) Wed 30 Apr 08 09:25
    
I think part of it is education of both consumers and designers.  I'm
considering buying up all the used copies of "How Things Don't WOrk"
or "Design for the Real World" and giving them to students and
friends.

A working group within the AIGA or IDSA could be really interesting,
especially if the group starts calling for major changes in how
designers practice.
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #78 of 83: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 30 Apr 08 10:50
    
I wonder if there's some historic precedent for that, in any of the
design fields or in others (medical, maybe?). It'd be interesting to
see how it happened.
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #79 of 83: And now with my official Inkwell hat on (davadam) Wed 30 Apr 08 10:52
    
We're turning our Inkwell spotlight to a new conversation today, so
I'd like to thank Ann and Jet for leading us for a fascinating couple
of weeks. I'm going to have to go back and follow up on all of the
interesting spurs and links.

Just because we're focused on a different conversation doesn't mean
this one has to end, though.  You're welcome to stick around and chat
as long as you like.
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #80 of 83: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 30 Apr 08 11:35
    
Lots of great ideas to chew on here.  Thanks so much !
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #81 of 83: Ann Thorpe (ann-thorpe) Wed 30 Apr 08 14:16
    
Hey, I’ve really enjoyed it and would like to thank everyone for
participating. I’ll keep checking back over the coming weeks, but
probably not with daily frequency like I have been.

Re professional organizations – evidence it that many people agree
with David in that “new professional organizations are probably in
order.” We’re seeing a lot of new ones spring up along the lines of The
Designer’s Accord,  Design21, Architecture 2030, Architecture for
Humanity and so forth (I’ve got more listed here
http://www.designers-atlas.net/weblinks.html and I’m always looking to
add to the list). 

None of these represent a design discipline across a range of
professional issues, but they all capture some element of social or
environmental design that seems to be slipping through the cracks in
the mainstream orgs. Maybe this is the way it will continue..

As Jet points out (eg Design for the Real World--1971), none of this
is new, and graphic designers put forth what seems to be one of the
first “manifestos” of discontent back in 1964 (which was renewed in
2000). I wrote about some of these manifestos in my design activism
blog (http://designactivism.net/?p=36). 

It strikes me that IDSA (industrial designers), which has its
environment section and AIA (architects) which has its committee on the
environment (COTE) are both very active. They may have even been
radical 8 or 9 years ago, but now they are becoming somewhat
mainstream. But some of the designers active in those committees are
probably starting to ask some of the same question we are about
“resetting the defaults” in design practice. 

On the other hand, one does wonder how these big professional
organizations which have been built entirely around “corporate”
(commercial) models of design can really take the lead in looking
beyond that, in the same way that a lot of the leading/elite design
schools I mentioned here in London are not looking beyond their
conventions.

But perhaps some of the changes in the prof. org.s will be driven by
member chapters that do take more radical actions and then lobby for
more of that at higher levels.
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #82 of 83: Ann Thorpe (ann-thorpe) Wed 30 Apr 08 14:47
    
Parallels with “a pattern language”? I suppose yes and no. It does
seem that a pattern language has gained a broader audience than it used
to have, but at the same time these concepts (such as “long life loose
fit” or “urban context and access” or “collective wisdom and feedback
loops”) remain great ideas that are, for a variety of reasons,
difficult to pull off, particularly at a frenzied commercial pace. So
they remain peripheral in that way until there’s a more seismic shift.

But I think now that we have more of a perceived “emergency” with
climate change, all of this will stick a little better. It may hurry
the seismic shift, I just worry that there will too much of a focus on
the technical and the hardware and not enough on the software of people
and economy. 

As an aside, there’s been a renewed pattern language developed in the
northwest for a “conservation economy” (there’s that word again) based
on the work of Ecotrust in Portland,
(http://www.conservationeconomy.org/). They say, “fifty-seven patterns
provide a framework for an ecologically restorative, socially just, and
reliably prosperous society.”

But regarding setting a new “default” position, I think it is the big
question that has no silver bullet answer. One could say you do it one
project at a time. I guess my broken record message is you do it by
using the whole economy – push commerce and finance out of the driver’s
seat and balance it with civil society and government policy.

This message is hard for designers because they don’t think it
concerns them or see how they can have a role in it – but they have a
fundamental role. Also, it’s hard to say this in an American context
and be heard or understood. Perhaps partly because of the pervasive
free market ideology that doesn’t tolerate “values” (except its own) in
the system; perhaps since the “American dream” is built more on robber
baron than communitarian?
  
inkwell.vue.325 : Ann Thorpe: The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability
permalink #83 of 83: Cupido, Ergo Sum (robertflink) Thu 1 May 08 12:46
    
>So maybe corporations can't change, but consumers can change their
decision making processes and at least create a new market for
local/slow business?   Does the question become how to get the
designers out of the corporations and design firms and on the ground
with the people they're actually designing for?<

Is the question more to do with implementation with the world as is
where is?  As noted earlier, is skillful implementation more important
than great ideas or design?  

The current world is very much the result of development effort.  It
is very difficult to see the future world coming without similar
development effort.
  



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