Design Activism Seminar

‘Design Activism’ encompasses a wide range of socially and environmentally responsible actions in design and planning. From community advocacy in American inner cities and the tsunami relief efforts in South Asia to proposed alternatives to Seattle’s waterfront planning, the involvement of design and planning professionals testifies to the significance of design activism in making positive social and environmental change.

This seminar examines the dialectic connection between activism and design/planning practice as well as the politics and ethics of engaging in activism in the context of design and planning. The course covers both theoretical frameworks and practical tools of citizen movement and social/environmental activism. Discussion will be informed by cases studies from Seattle and abroad. Past guest speakers included Jim Diers (founding director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods), Isami Kinoshita (Professor, Chiba University), Milenko Matanovic (Executive Director, the Pomegranate Center), Brice Maryman (Seattle Parks for All), Cary Moon (co-founder of People’s Waterfront Coalition), Henry Sanoff (Professor Emeritus, North Carolina State University), Ben Spencer (President, Architects without Borders-Seattle Chapter), and Peter Steinbrueck (architect and former Seattle Council President).

The best way to know about activism is to engage in it. Students are encouraged to explore opportunities and undertake direct actions for their class projects.

To find out more, visit: Design Activism Course Page