iab wrote: "Does anyone else share these definitions? If yes, please site some examples."
From Design With Intent (http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/
), a website that promotes design for social change:
"I still think my favourite ‘Design with Intent’-related quote is this one from Buckminster Fuller. It has an attractive blend of humility and confidence, seeing people not as the problem but as part of the solution.
'I made up my mind . . . that I would never try to reform man—that’s much too difficult. What I would do was to try to modify the environment in such a way as to get man moving in preferred directions.'
"That’s what this research is all about. Design as trimtab, perhaps, with all the debate, decisions, multidisciplinarity and implementation issues that implies." ~ Dan Lockton of Design With Intent.
Mr. Lockton's website is replete with this philosophy of changing behavior through design. My question to him and Buckminster Fuller is "Who gets to decide what the 'preferred direction' is?" Fuller is essentially promoting the building of a cattle corral.
Persuasion Design is discussed at length in this article by Robert Fabricant where the question is asked: "If paying teens with babies $1 a day not to get pregnant again proves to be effective (as is being shown in studies in Greensboro, N.C.), then is this bad design?"
I can think of a number of reasons why this is bad design, not least of which is the establishment of 'entitlement derangement syndrome' and the creation of a system where the prospect of financial reward overrides moral values and personal responsibility. But the article goes on to say how universities like Delft are evaluating students at the end of every semester on their ability to design social behavioral changes.
In the context of design for social change, the articles states: "While [user centered design] has served the design community well, its neutral stance is being increasingly questioned. Issues of sustainability and social change are forcing designers to reconsider their detached role. Many are adopting new modes of direct engagement and influence."
This is where I see the separation between democratic (user centered) design and design for social change.
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articl ... ntent.html
iab wrote: "And why can’t the hemp bag maker market their bags? The plastic bag maker is allowed to market the convenience of their bags but the hemp bag maker isn’t allowed to market the reusability of their bag? Wouldn’t that make you a hypocrite?
Also, when ever has the end user designed anything? They don’t know they want a plastic bag, coal plants or disposable razors. They want a convenient way to carry groceries, electric power and a shaved face or legs. What about their other needs? Like not having litter in their yard or having clean air to breathe or something that won’t rip your face off after 3 shaves? Limiting yourself to narrow “needs” will make you a poor designer. Designers should see possibilities, not limitations."
Substitute plastic bags, coal powerplants and disposable razors if you want. They're just fillers. But needs go further than what you're implying as well. They don't just want electric power, they want it cheap, and solar panels are not cheap. They don't just want to shave, they want to do it conveniently, and they don't have time to sharpen the blades. They don't just want bags to carry their groceries, they want it for free. I'm not saying that those counter-products can't be designed or promoted. In certain markets, those items serve the needs and wants of the local population. The hypocrisy comes from the top-down cattle herding approach of changing personal behavior under the guise of user centered design.
iab wrote: "But are you saying the manufacturers of one product don’t have the right to say their competition sucks and the end user should use their product instead? Do you see the irony of your use of the word authoritarian?"
This is not what I'm saying at all. In a truly democratic design process, anyone would be able to design/produce/promote whatever kind of product they want, free to fail or succeed on their own merits. I think you and I agree on this approach. Under design for social change, the designer determines what I want or need.
Seurban gets to one side of what I'm talking about. It is the imposition of a change in culture, local, regional and national. Some of the articles I've read on this subject point out the necessity of political action or activism to achieve the desired change. Others say that design and politics are inseparable because of the implications of the design - which means that virtually anything and everything is political. I'm talking about more than just politics, I'm talking about ethics and morals and who decides. Is it really up to designers to decide what is best for those we serve, and is design turning from a service oriented profession to one where we essentially become moral dictators, prodding our subjects in order "to get man to moving in [our] preferred direction"?
Design without purpose is impossible.