February 15, Monday: VISION: Connecting Planet, Communities & Place

Discussion leaders : Crystal Lin / Calvin Keetae Ryu

Discussion Questions: + the importance of designing for initial conditions → hard to predict outcome and can’t control → magnifying itself to huge consequences.

1) Designing for a place means taking into consideration the geographical limitations, the cultural, people in the community, religion, psychology. You have to understand yourself and the environment, belief system.

It is important for communities to foster symbiotic relationships with local ecosystems because otherwise those resources will be depleted and worse off in the long run for the community. For example during monsoon season, it is a time that’s easy to catch fish, but they are reproducing, so there would not be any new fish the next year if they were all caught at this time. Indigenous cultures have tended to have close harmony with the land, and take into consideration the seasons and carry capacities of the region.

Initial conditions can be designed to foster relationships. But there is a huge question of if it is possible to design new rituals and how to go about doing that. There has to be an exterior mindset and posture when doing so.

2) Food would change drastically if living in a cosmopolitan localist lifestyle. For example, how would it be possible to have a Taiwanese store, that would import goods to provide a certain type of cultural food. How would we prevent it from being a completely homogenous place versus a more diverse community?

Relationships would change, for example in Korea there are many experimental smartphone shapes, but in America everyone has the same phone. What if each region had a naturally sourced phone and looked different in each place. Game of Thrones creates very distinct subcultures that each have a certain look, using vocabulary of form pervasively.

There should be a way to create it in a more widespread socioeconomic society. Currently farmers market that source local food is much more expensive than sourced in food from giant eagle. It would take a shift of the entire system to encourage and expand accessibility to local products. It becomes a privilege to eat local foods.

Q: Did you talk about growing food locally at all? What happens when there is peak oil and you can’t go to another country?

Homogenous societies — everything was different in Europe and each city had distinct cultures and looks, but now it has dissolved. Design had previously moved at a cultural level and now it happens like memes and fashion that has disposable trends in and out. Technology has made everything more ephemeral.

It’s important for designers to have mindfulness in the things you make or design. Sometimes designers get caught up in just coming up with what’s new and different because you can. Designers need to ask what it is connected to, is the solution actually making things better?

3) What kind of government would be appropriate for a cosmopolitan localism society? Socialism? Some of the far right aligns with strong local government without overarching powers. How would would go about creating this idea, and by being prescriptive in some way, would this be ok? Also the question comes up if is there any way to even reverse Globalization.

Would it be ethical in constraining human values? Also the question comes up of humans are cooperative in nature (for the greater good) or are most about survival and greed? We would think that most are cooperative in nature, and much of the survival of the fittest have been institutionalised in economic-social dominant ideology. However, a decade or two after Darwinism it was actually discounted a decade or two by anarchists. There had always been cooperation in nature between species, and much of humanities before pre-industrialization had been a complex nature of cooperation. This validates a desire for empathy, and desire to act for the collective good is actually hardwired in humans to make society work. For institutions to change, it would take a glass roots bottom-up approach rather than top down.

4) What constitutes a lifestyle is who you are and who you want to be. Basic needs (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) were discussed in being critical to lifestyles.

How can designers to contribute to lifestyles? By using media or advertising of how people look at lifestyles. For examples becoming more

urban, living in smaller living spaces. Banking determines how you use money, a designed space determines how you use it.

Thank you,

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