Mapping Eco-Social Design: Tactics and Strategies in the Field (MESD)

Bianca Elzenbaumer, Leeds College of Art, UK / Fabio Franz, Sheffield School of Architecture, UK / Kris Krois, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, I

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What tactics, tools and modes can designers mobilize, in order to foster positive eco-social transformations? What elements of design practices that are developing in light of the current multiple crises can be reproduced, adapted and scaled? What are the potentials and risks involved in this? What are the values and value-practices that the different directions of eco-socially engaged design practices are based on and reproduce?

Mapping Eco-Social Design (MESD) is a research project that firstly sets out to identify, describe, map and disseminate key strategies and tactics that can be adopted by designers who are working towards progressive eco-social change. These strategies and tactics will be drawn from a variety of actors producing projects that foster eco-social transformations. Inspiring examples of best-practice will be drawn mainly from the expanded field of design, but will be integrated with examples from other fields – such as civil society initiatives, co-operative and social businesses, and open innovation – which have the potential to be productively mobilised by designers.

Secondly, through the investigation of the methods, economies and tools deployed by a set of diverse eco-socially engaged practices, the research wants to assemble a ‘toolbox’ featuring a multitude of tactics along with inspiring and guiding elements that designers and other practitioners can activate to strengthen their eco-social work and make their practice more resilient.