Today’s design pedagogies lack the characteristics for redressing the nature of the ‘wicked problems’ they attempt to solve, such as sustainability. We argue it is not fair for future generations to suffer the systemic effects of our unsustainable consumer culture, partly resulting from today’s design professionals’ decisions, which ensue because design is an amoral discipline lacking a systemic perspective.
To rectify design’s characteristic failings, as part of a PhD study, we report a new pedagogical architecture founded as the synthesis of the practices of design and civics, forming the relationship design-as-civics (DaC): a practical philosophy. We position DaC as a reflexive, systemic radical political praxis for every citizen, possessing the explicit teleological goal to achieve the ‘good life’ for all.
DaC takes a transdisciplinary approach. It integrates the discoveries of cognitive science and linguistics to expose how we construct our understanding of the world interpreting metaphors and frames, which we utilise to ‘aim’ DaC. Alongside shared social practice theory (SSP) and insights from developmental psychology that reveal the distinctly human capacity of “shared intentionality” engendering humankind’s willingness for cooperation and empathy for fairness. That living in a fairer society is desired by people from rival political perspectives, with egalitarian societies reporting lower environmental impact lifestyles and more willingness for transitioning towards sustainment.
Thus, it is humankind’s cooperative behaviour and aligning values that provides the foundational rationale of DaC’s SSP goal to achieve the ‘good life’ through the ongoing critical examination of its ‘aim’ of resolving ‘fairness between citizens.’