Ramia Mazé and Başar Önal (2010) 'Hands on the Future', in Proceedings of the Stockholm Futures Conference (Stockholm, Nov).

"Design is a powerful and persuasive force in shaping society, and has been part of driving and developing many of the values and practices in our contemporary consumer culture and daily lifestyles. As we try to better understand the effects of design – especially how it relates to effecting more sustainable ways of living – design research has incorporated theories and methods from the social sciences and the humanities. Human-centered design, for example, incorporates methods for understanding social, cultural and human experience, in order to design products and systems that satisfy needs and solve problems. However, these approaches are limited in some significant ways, for example with respect to considering aspects of 'futurity'. Furthermore, if sustainable design requires us to anticipate radically different futures, then it may also requires different approaches to thinking and doing research. ...

... In this paper, we reflect upon such limits through examples of our practice-based design research in the area of sustainability. The 'Energy Futures' project is presented as a case study that points to the capacity of design materials and methods to enable 'hands on' experience of possible futures and participatory debate about radical change. We argue that design is fundamentally about the future – about the future use, effects and risks of designed things – which implies common concerns and substantial synergies between the fields of futures studies and design research." (excerpts)

More about the publication

See also

/ Projects / Switch!

/ Projects / Designing Social Innovation