The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has awarded Parsons The New School for Design and Clemson University the 2014 NCARB Award to aid the development of innovative programs that merge practice and education.
What unites contemporary design? What is the through line that connects designers between continents and across decades? This spring, The MA program in Design Studies at Parsons The New School for Design presents a two-day symposium that will bring together a rare interdisciplinary group of professionals and academics to explore narratives surrounding the field of design, and attempt to answer these questions. The conference, Narratives and Design Studies: A Task of Translation, will be held March 7 – 8.
Although university is meant to be a place of educational exploration, paths, particularly for architects and designers, tend to be extremely prescribed. In "Notes from the Dean," originally published in Metropolis Magazine, Executive Dean Joel Towers describes how the Parsons New School for Design is pioneering a new design program that is more reflective of modern design approaches: "The world has changed; the role of design has changed. And the way that designers are taught to engage with the world must change, too."
Every generation is presented with challenges specific to its time and place. We live in a world changing in ways that were unimaginable at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when design education first began to take shape. Technology (aided and abetted by design), advances in scientific knowledge, and shifts in social and cultural norms shaped design in the twentieth century. Our problems today involve more complex and interconnected systems—climate, cities, resources, networks, flows—and call for a new paradigm. Design in the twenty-first century is of critical importance in both addressing these challenges and transforming them into opportunities to remake the world around us. To do so, design education must change.
Design schools have traditionally adhered to a model that builds programs based on a foundation year, a well-defined and contained introduction to the basics of material, form, and color. And while that foundation is an important cornerstone of design education, it leaves little room for the more exploratory methods of cross-disciplinary and technology-based learning, and for understanding and applying design in the context of the larger world. That old model needs to evolve to reflect design’s enhanced role as a catalyst for innovation and creativity.
On November 8, Philips and Parsons The New School for Design will bring together architects, lighting designers and researchers for a symposium on the dualistic relationship between natural light and the latest electric lighting technologies, and the influence these systems have on human well being. The event is part of Luminous Talks, a programming series now in its second year, which was developed by Philips and Parsons to inspire dialogue around relevant topics in the field. This year’s theme, Nature and Man-Made, builds on last year’s focus on human health and well being to consider the human presence amidst these forces and their psychological and physiological impact.
Meagan Durlak and James Frankis, both students studying Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons New School for Design, have developed a mobile mapping tool to unveil the true dynamics of informal slum communities, as revealed by Metropolis Magazine.
The system, called Mark, is being tested in the Heliopolis favela of Sao Paulo, Brazil, after which the duo hope it will be "scalable and adaptable" enough to be applied to other informal settlements all over the world. The SMS-based tool is designed not only to provide information about the settlements to external organizations, but also to be a sharing platform for the residents who become cartographers of their own neighborhood.
Read about the motivation behind the Mark project after the break
Launching in fall 2012, Parsons The New School of Design is offering a new graduate program in urbanism in New York City, the MA Theories of Urban Practice. The 2-year, 36-credit research-oriented program is designed for those who want to transform cities through actionable research, strategic knowledge, and critical theories. In other words, knowledge can transform cities! The program will redefine urbanism and urban design as a field of transformative practice. They are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis for the academic year, which begins in August. For more information, please visit here.
The DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design presents Amplifying Creative Communities in NYC: North Brooklyn from November 7–20 at Arts@Renaissance. This exhibition and workshop series, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Cultural Innovation Fund, are part of a two-year, design-driven initiative aimed at helping neighborhoods and communities to support social innovations that create a more sustainable New York City. These activities range from healthy and local food initiatives, to environmental efforts, alternative modes of transportation, and sharing economies such as co-housing, food cooperatives, and bartering. For more information about this exhibition and workshop series, please visit here.
Parsons The New School for Design has announced new graduate programs including a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies and a Master of Arts in Theories of Urban Practice. What makes these programs unique is their focus on urban designers and planners as agents of social change: What kind of deep knowledge do urbanists need to be able to design cities in a much more effectively manner? And how do urbanists use their creative training and visionary skills to engage with the deeper structures of society?The programs represent a wider initiative at Parsons, one of the world’s leading schools of art and design, to offer graduate programs that define the next phase of global design. The programs will launch in Fall 2012. More information on the programs after the break.