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A cross-disciplinary team of students and faculty from the University of Washington in collaboration with Tellous Consulting are exploring creating a mobile participatory design lab to allow more access to policy making in Seattle. Currently the need to interact directly with city hall can present logistical and other barrier issues for many people – the homeless, elderly, non-native speakers, renters, artists, or really anyone who doesn’t feel welcome or included. The mobile lab would be a way to encourage a wider population of voices to be a part of the future city by reaching out and engaging people in their actual neighborhood environments and facilitating co-design explorations and research. The mobile lab could also serve as an outreach and educational component sharing information about civic matters directly with communities.
The project is exploring the concept and framing an approach contextualized around the city of Seattle. Through a historical and global lens the project will explore four main areas: 1. The nature of participatory design 2. The outfitting of a mobile lab and planning of associated design activities 3. Installation design and the construction of the site for the SDF block party 4. Policy related to housing, homelessness and artist displacement. The end point will be a display at the SDF Block Party that showcases proposed research activities and conceptual models for the lab.
The cross departmental/interdisciplinary team from the University of Washington bridges design, art and engineering. Project participants include faculty sponsor Justin Hamacher (University of Washington Division of Design and owner of Tellous), Nadine Emmons (BFA/BS student, 3D4M & Human Centered Design and Engineering), Alexis Burke (BFA student, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts), Ariel Duncan (MS student, Human Centered Design and Engineering) and Stephanie Yu (BS student, Human Centered Design and Engineering).