Videoconference: Strategic design, slowdown, and the infrastructures of everyday life

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    The infrastructures of everyday life shape how we live together, and what we’re about. They might be housing or transit, wifi or civic apps, playgrounds or forests, streets or markets, libraries or health services, participation processes or parking spaces, energy grids or e-bikes. All of these things are designed, of course, though often by disparate design disciplines that have rarely collaborated coherently, and often without integrated or coherent approach to wider governance, either. And all have assumptions, beliefs or motivations embedded within them.

    Over the last decade, Dan has been helping shape the practice of strategic design, as an integrated, holistic approach to shared societal challenges, By sharing some of his recent work at Vinnova, the Swedish government’s innovation agency, as well as elsewhere, Dan will describe what it might mean to reorient around social progress, climate resilience and public health, rather than unequal economic growth, poor health, social injustices and environmental degradation. The work suggests various ‘battles’ for the infrastructures of everyday life, a genuine engagement with the technologies around us, and with new ways of thinking and acting about public and civic sensibilities and structures, participation and practices.

    Unpacking his concept of ‘dark matter’ in this context, and drawing from multiple projects, Dan will show how traditional lenses of design — from architecture to interaction design — might be trained on these big picture challenges. Recently appointed Director of the Melbourne School of Design, the graduate school in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, Dan will draw from his wide-ranging career in design leadership roles at the Swedish government’s innovation agency in Stockholm, Arup in Sydney and London, the UK government’s Future Cities Catapult, the Finnish Innovation Fund, Monocle magazine, and the BBC, roaming across interaction design, service design, architecture and urban design — and ultimately strategic design.

    Register in advance to attend via Zoom

    About Dan

    Dan Hill is Director of Melbourne School of Design, the graduate school in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. A designer and urbanist, Dan’s previous design leadership roles include the Swedish government’s innovation agency Vinnova, Arup in London and Sydney, the UK’s Future Cities Catapult, Fabrica in Italy, the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, and the BBC. Dan is also a Visiting Professor at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Practice and a founder member of the Council on Urban Initiatives, a joint venture between UN HABITAT, LSE and UCL.