The article by Rittel and Webber entitled “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning” lays out their idea of the “wicked problems” that face anyone working in the public sphere, though is geared towards urban planners. It was written in 1973, and seems to focus mainly on working in the United States. Despina assigned this as the first week’s reading in Principled Design, which is primarily focused on designing for social change, especially in the developing world.
This reading brings up a lot important fundamentals that people working in the social sciences need to consider, and that designing to improve people’s lives is involves confronting “wicked problems,” meaning problems that have no obviously clear solutions and many interconnected causes and effects. It contrasts previous approaches and models that were used to generate and evaluate design solutions: efficiency and rationalism, among others. It gives a good framework to see how planners have shifted gears to view problems and solutions in more holistic and interconnected ways, and was good to read before embarking on this week’s assignment of making our own model of the different forces at play when conceptualizing the context of a design solution.
I am still mulling over possible visual and experiential models that I’d like to try out. I think the goal is more to create a tool or a platform that people can frame a specific design problem within. General context, more than fixed network.