Research into what it could mean to shift from being “people centred” to “life-centred” in design practice and design education.
We undertook the project while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to help set a direction for a life-centred design approach for their new design school in Costa Rica. They are shifting towards life centred design as part of acknowledging the responsibility of the designers in having contributed to this crisis and as a potential to be the ones that can drive the change specially though designing with technology. When we design with technology we need to keep in mind the impact we have on the environment as well as what kind of behaviour we are enabling towards our planet. It’s not about resources on only finding new materials and moving towards bio solutions but it is also about understanding that design is part of the systems of human behaviour and consumption.
CIID sought to evolve their human-centered design process into a life-centered focus and develop a set of tools, methods, references and mindsets that would enable co-creation between people and the planet. Our hope is that the outcomes of the research will continue to enable instructors, students and professionals to consider a life-centred perspective.
Over the course of 5 weeks, we explored the topic first through desk research and remote interviews, then through immersive field research and continued interviews in Costa Rica. Therefore, we planned and organised a full immersive study of life centred design in Costa Rica that allowed for both structured investigation as well as spontaneous, serendipitous connections. The outcome of our research was an interactive visualisation, series of insights, a research journal and a strategy workshop.
We visited people and places throughout Costa Rica who showed evidence of a life-centred approach based on our previous desk research and expert interviews. We also followed a chain of connections from individuals such as Dr. Carlos Faerron, who focuses on planetary health, to Dr. Paolo Ortiz, a former teacher of Dr. Faerron, who works with indigenous communities. We visited urban projects such as the Parque de La Libertad, and rural centers such as the Earth University.