When designing for communities some great perspective to keep in mind is that everything is designed, good or bad. Because designs for lack of a better work plans or decisions that impact others outside one’s own circle. For example, social systems that enable oppression and inequalities are designed, which makes everyone a designer (insert mind-blown)! The good news is that it also means these systems can be redesigned (so never fear). Again, great perspective to keep in mind when tackling hard issues that face society today; a little sprinkle of hope…
Now that our minds are blown and hopefully open it’s a great time to emphasis on other things when designing for communities. Specifically, Equity-Centered Community Design, components being: people, power, systems, actions, and history and healing. Through this type of design and focus we can build, take part-of, and support up-and-coming designers, (remember this is anyone and everyone in the community), that are redesigning systems of oppression in schools, cities, families, culture, and any aspect within their communities.
Going in a little deeper, when problem solving in equity and community-centered work the ECCD Field Guide has what are called Community Agreements to encourage the best outcome with collaborators and co-designers. Such as:
+ Actively listening and respecting differences in opinions.
+ Use “I” statements. You can’t speak for others, only your own experiences.
+ Lean into discomfort.
+ Address the issue, not the person. If conflict arises, we should not personally attack someone.
+ Don’t assume everyone has the same beliefs and understandings as yourself.
Some of the many great things the ECCD Field Guide touches base on when trying to achieve equity or human-equity, which takes place when outcomes are not predictable or oppressed based on people’s identities or characteristics (e.g. race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability status). Another great design system that wouldn’t make much an impact without some empathy too.
To form your own thoughts, download your own copy of Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide here.