Designers create spaces, places, tools, artifacts, and services that reflect and are products of the lived experiences of the people they serve. As humans deal with global changes and forces resulting from past industrial and design decisions, many who live in poverty are threatened by climate, market, and international powers.
The Human-Centered Design Studies Collection seeks work revealing lived experiences globally and locally at all scales driven by human centered design. This collection will include course readings on health, justice, poverty, and technology situated in our challenging and complex 21st-century environment.
Today, many designers work to impact the lives of people who need healthier, sustainable spaces and affordable care solutions, especially for families. The Human-Centered Design Studies Collection presents how empathetic and evidence-based design can change peoples’ lived experience, especially in populations of need. We are particularly interested in design as a culture of care, i.e., spaces, technologies, places, ideas, thoughts, and objects designed to support healing, human health, well-being, justice, and equity for those who need and use them. Culture of care is a form of re-imagination that calls on all to put care at their center for those in need.
Over the past 40 years in design, as buildings, products, and services and the roles they play in our lives and the environment have become more intricate, our focus as designers has shifted to deeply research-oriented practices. Due to the complexity of design practice, evidence-based human-centered and patient-centered approaches to design are increasingly necessary. These practices are generating new knowledge, resulting in novel solutions. This collection will specifically focus on how these design practices have a social impact on those affected. We are interested in examining both positive and adverse design outcomes, appreciative and critical viewpoints.
Change-oriented critical thinking is encouraged here. We seek to both shine a spotlight on the negative impact of current and past designs, and also to advance design as a force to create change. Design is a vital and change-oriented set of practices. Underlying these practices are design leadership, theories of design change, research and other scholarship, including the scholarship of teaching and learning. Adding these for context in these course readings is encouraged.
But most of all, this collection focuses on the human level – where real humans live, work, and play. In this collection, “Lived Places” include the physical and the personal. Interest in place can be urban, rural, ex-urban, technological, and personal at all scales, including the private individual and the “public.” We welcome submissions from authors employing intersectional and inter or trans-disciplinary lived approaches. We invite all design disciplines and the “design-minded” to submit. Highly inclusive of viewpoints, practices, places, ideas, and identities, this collection will seek to embody the change we see in our designed lived experiences.
D. S. Nicholas (Dee) established the Drexel Design Research for Health Lab for human-centered evidence-based interdisciplinary research and scholarship in 2013. She is a tenured Associate Professor and the Founding Director of the MS Design Research Program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dee holds a BARCH from Carnegie Mellon, an MFA from The University of the Arts, and is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University. Primarily concerned with the health-supportive design possibilities within our built environments, Dee’s work springs from her formative experiences as a “third culture kid” and MENA woman.
Dee specializes in participatory design in her projects which include work with Penn Medicine, The Autism Institute, The Writers Room, Domestic Violence Centers of Chester County, The Alliance of Non-Profit Care Providers, Fabric Health, IMPACT Services, FAIMER, and People’s Emergency Center.
Please fill out the form to contact Dee directly: