UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE

Muddling Through Worlds of Environmental Injustice: Wicked Problems, Difference, Systemic Design Tools

Muddling Through Worlds of Environmental Injustice: Wicked Problems, Difference, Systemic Design Tools
Date:
30-Sep-2021
5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Venue:
To be held virtually via Zoom
Title:
Muddling Through Worlds of Environmental Injustice: Wicked Problems, Difference, Systemic Design Tools
Speaker(s):
Dulmini Perera
Research Associate and Lecturer at the Chair for the Theory and History of Modern Architecture, Bauhaus University Weimar

Zoom details:

Time: Sep 30, 2021 05:00 PM Hong Kong SAR
URL: https://hku.zoom.us/j/91995703493?pwd=MWYzclpoaVYrcmVDTmZ5TUt2TEFtZz09
Meeting ID: 919 9570 3493
Password: 587561

Abstract

The collapse of the Meetotamulla trash dump in Colombo (2017) exemplifies ‘crisis events’ within the Global South through which complex questions of environmental injustice enter design and policy discussions. This talk engages with the difficulties related to sensemaking encountered by designers who work within such sites by framing these sites as examples of wicked problems. Why are there more attempts at providing quick environmental fixes (systematic solutions) that tend to make the systemic and messy nature of environmental injustice invisible? Instead, what does it mean to engage with the mess in the context of design and policymaking processes? Why is working towards a particular kind of change problematic in the context of such crisis events?

I argue that a significant part of the issues relates to the reductive ways the notions of ‘difference’ and ‘change’ are framed within crisis-related design discussions. I will discuss how the concept of a ‘Meta-institute’ can be utilized both as a research and teaching tool to utilize design’s capacity to engage with systemic notions of difference and change. Initially introduced in the design context by Lebbeus Woods, the ‘Meta-institute’ helps develop a broader link between the theories of ‘difference’ and ‘institutions’ in the socio-political work of Felix Guattari, David Harvey, and theories of ‘sensemaking’ and ‘methods’ in the work of Horst Rittel, Donald Schön, Gregory Bateson.

Speaker Bio

Dulmini Perera is a Research Associate and Lecturer at the Chair for the Theory and History of Modern Architecture at Bauhaus University Weimar. She works at the intersection of architectural theory, systems research and design methods studies. Her research, teaching and writing focus on the wicked and complex relations between ecology questions and questions concerning technology. This talk is based on her current research project, Mess and Methods, where she experiments with second-order design and research tools that contribute towards better ways of working with wicked problems.

Enquiry: hieunice@hku.hk

All interested are welcome.

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