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Practice : Spring 2012
Susan S zenasy, Met ropolis Mag azine form-ma ker and form-finder through explorations from her own work that focus not on the final form of the designed object but on the nexus bet ween material science, the natural science s and computer science s. Form doesn’t a lways arise from a visua l image, she pointed out, but from the ma nipulation of materia ls and the process of fabrication. She al so prioritized putting the craft element back into the design studio a long with technology; “the ne w digital digerati must go back to working with his or her hands.” Research and Scholarship. Many speakers pointed out that research and scholarship are central to the intellectua l and practical strength of all fields and disciplines. How can designers and educators support their own s chola rship, especia lly in competition with other fields that have a longer history of research-ba sed knowledge production, often with significant outside funding? What forms of resea rch are native to spatial de sign? Time. The design profe ssions are c aught bet ween how long it ta kes to lea rn the requisite skills, at least as they have been defined in the pa st, a nd the current speed of change. Jim Cramer called attention to the fact that “a lot of the time we’re working so hard with our old strategies towards a context that doesn’t e xist anymore ... we’re spinning our wheels and wasting our time, a nd we need to open our minds about the new rea lities that are ahead.” In addition, any new form of education has to “adapt to the time rea lities of our students” a s wel l as the challenges of learning in the office within a le aner structure. Technolog y. Technolog y and economies of scale have helped the larger firms carrying out larger projects —increa sed speed, accurac y, and the ability to have staffing in multiple loc ations and time z ones. Complex projects c an be produc ed in ways that were never before possible. Technolog y has als o provided ways for people to be more c onnected on individual level s a s well. How can practice utilize technology at both of these scales? But new te chnologies create strains as people, firms, a nd institution s struggle to keep up. Jim Cramer pointed out that resistance to new technology isn’t always bad; as a dyna mic counterpoint to the speed of change, it ca n help determine the best new directions. Public Ser vice. Some a sked; who are the new clients for design services? If design has been seen as a luxury, how can the profes- sions that provide these ser vic e s shift into new roles a s public servants and providers of necessary social good? One table discussed the idea of increasing cultural awareness and social commitment to de sign education a s a way of moving forward with a kind of social entrepreneurship, not just business entrepre- neurship. John Ca ry spoke of the need to involve clients and potentia l clients, those outside the confines of traditiona l practice, in this ongoing revisioning project. Sustainability. Although the idea of sustainability has been taken on by the Scott Simpson, Kling Stubbins; Jim Cramer, Greenway Group PRACTICE 48 FEATURE] CHANGE ORDER