ArCHITECTURE FOR THE process OF wellness
Today, we had the chance to hear an insipiring presentation by Rama Gheerawo (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) at the launch of Marja-Vantaa Service Architecture Competition. Rama writes, curates exhibitions, lectures and runs workshops on a people-centred approach to design for a variety of audiences, in Great Britain and internationally.
Architecture and design are more and more breaking into the field of designing processes, an area long guarded by logistics engineers. So far in Finland this field has lacked the talent to be able to engage with the people using the services. As Rama points out: we have 80 % of customer investment decisions made by women, while the people developing these services are to an 80%, men. How can these men know what they are doing?
One key factor in Rama Gheerawo´s talk is designing environments for all. Old people, wheelchairers, visually impaired and mentally challenged people must be able to use public space. In most cases, if we design the environment so that the people who exist at the “edges”, outside of the core target group we find success. If children, hippies, elderly, foreigners and people with dogs can use the service or product, we will make a product that is superior to the one only focusing on the key group (stereotypically the white male). Design has to adapt and be flexible to amore difference-inclusive world. This applies for gender, age, ethnicity etc, as well as for urban tribes: people with different lifestyles. Life style and culture is important for well being, and should not be pressed into an one-fit mold.
Considering these points made by Rama Gheerawo, one rock we have to be vary not to stumble upon in all-inclusive design, is to try to find one grand solution that fits all the same. This will inevitably be a mediocry, something made out of bowing to everyone, not stepping on anyones toes. The middle road is as dangerous as the exremes, only look at what we prduced in the 60´s and 70´s when we wanted the same new, (at the time fine) architecture made possible for everyone. Toes have to be stepped on, if we will reach system change for example in our public services in screeming need of change. Instead of a grand plan, the architecture of processes has to be flexible to be able to adapt itself to different needs. To find these needs we as designers need to communicate with the users.
Adaptability in products, environments and services
The city of Vantaa is today launching a service architecture competition for the development of the area of Marja-Vantaa. What they are doing is not asking for ready made solutions, but seedlings of ideas on “hyvinvointipalvelut” i.e. processes that make us well. This is a great challenge to designers and architects to get footed into bars, hospitals, homes market squares and talk to people, find the problems and then show their creative talent of problem-solving. //aitoa