Design and Social Responsibility

The idea that designing and building the physical environment carries social and ethical responsibilities is not new, but since the building boom of the early 21st century and subsequent market crash, there has been a growing discussion of socially responsible design. Socially responsible design goes by a number of names (including Design Activism, Public Interest Design, Human-Centered Design, Social Impact Design, Social Design) and has not been formally defined, but it is generally characterized by attitudes that value justice, equality, participation, sharing, sustainability, and practices that intentionally engage social issues and recognize the consequences of decisions and actions.

While the references below mostly consider design at an architectural scale, socially responsible design addresses a wide range of scales and practices, and includes theories and practices developed in social movements and in participatory art.

To read more on this topic and see the recommended reading list for this topic by William Mangold, click here.

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