Roots and identities

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Roots and identities Enlarge image Stephen Bowler - Roots (CC BY 2.0)

Ideal Lab is a design research program that invites designers, researchers, artists and scholars sharing a broadly interdisciplinary perspective and a process-oriented approach. Since 2010, Ideal Lab carries out design investigations through fieldwork and workshops, with the objectives of defining upcoming needs, providing human results and realising future scenarios through tangible products and processes.

What is the problem space we will address?
We will explore design concepts for interventions in public spaces to collect, tease out and curate the many cultural, social and historical strands of local identities. Local identities connected to places or communities are often composites and, especially in larger cities, produced through the accumulation of diverse social, cultural and historical contributions. Placemaking, the process with which the identity of a specific area is gradually constructed, is often linked to the creation and retelling of stories throughout a local community.

Building upon qualitative data collected throughout the charrette, we explore design ideas for artifacts and public installations and happenings that invite the citizens of the Knowledge Mile to collect and curate local micro-narratives, thus contributing to the creation of a shared map of the local identity of that neighborhood.

Which methodologies will be adopted?
Participants will experiment with qualitative design research methods grounded in social sciences, mapping the northern part of the Knowledge Mile neighborhood, and documenting the different socio-cultural elements that give shape to its identity. They will also ideate and sketch design concepts for public interventions to make local identities and shared stories more visible to citizens and visitors alike.

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