The inner workings of our research studio

October 27, 2010 | Eric Benson  |  Share



Glide10: Ron Eglash's (RPI) work with fractals show how indigenous cultures actually use sophisticated thinking in their visual work and architecture and how fractals are everywhere in our natural world.

He asks:

  • How can indigenous people transfer this cultural wealth to a Western mainstream knowledge system (education)?
  • How can the designer help these indigenous people create educational tools to help translate what already exists in their culture and not impose our Western values to teach them foundational literacy/math/science?
  • How can we defeat myths of genetic determinism? (race limits intelligence)
  • How can we defeat myths of cultural determinism? (if you are good at math you are "acting white")
  • How can we use math to bridge cultural gaps?
My relevant design thoughts:
  • Culture is a huge part of being sustainable. Research has to be done before embarking on designing within other cultures. It is imperative to understand the culture.
  • Designer as imperialist. This was Bruce Nussbum's response to groups like Project H when they came in to Africa and imposed a Western design solution on an indigenous group that may or may not wanted it.
  • To solve this problem, look at Co-Design models that involve the community to help address their concerns and get them involved in taking ownership of the solution.

Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged!

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About the Blog
The Re-nourish Blog is a showcase of our work and research, and serves as a place to explore what's going on in the world of sustainable design. Here, you'll see what we're working on in our studio, and learn about what other sustainable designers are doing.


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