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  • Publications

    DESIS Lab research projects culminate in the publication of academic papers, reports, and books. Explore the links below to view recent publications by DESIS Lab members and collaborators.

    Amplifying Creative Communities in New York City

    This book presents a series of articles that analyze and theorize about the results of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded project Amplifying Creative Communities in New York City. The project explored how New York City, with its cultural and economic vitality, can amplify non-mainstream initiatives, lifestyles, and ideas to transform them into social innovations leading to sustainable ways of living.

    Critiquing Social Innovation: What is it? Does it matter? Cases from India and China

    report submitted by Nidhi Srinivas on social innovation in relation to ecology and politics. The report describes findings from research funded by the India China Institute on environmental degradation and local community responses, conducted in January and August 2011 in southwestern Rajasthan and western Yunnan. The report asks three overarching questions: What is typically described as social innovation in contexts of ecological degradation? What meanings has the term "social innovation" taken on historically? What actions have local community groups taken that have strengthened ecosystem responses to crises?

    Designing Services for Housing

    The publication of the findings contained in this guide mark a milestone in the DESIS Lab's partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Public Policy Lab, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit. The guide describes the service environment for New Yorkers seeking HPD services and/or living in neighborhoods with significant HPD agency presence. It outlines current opportunities and future possibilities for improving services and provides technical and strategic information about implementing recommendations either through agencies or in collaboration with other stakeholders. This initiative was made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

    Government Innovation Labs

    With the expert advice of Christian Bason and Andrea Schneider, Daniela Selloni and Eduardo Staszowski created a map to illustrate and monitor the emergence of Government Innovation Labs around the world. These labs propose and experiment with ideas for innovative public services and policies and also try to reform existing government operations. Amy Findeiss provided the illustrations and graphic design for the map.

    DESIS Thematic Cluster: Public and Collaborative

    Edited by Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski, this book describes the activities of European, Canadian, and U.S. DESIS Labs participating in the Public and Collaborative Thematic Cluster. The book includes 11 articles that critically reflect on the labs' projects and activities from 2012 to 2013.

    Teaching the Next Generation of Transdisciplinary Thinkers and Practitioners of Design-Based Public and Social Innovation

    In this article, Lara Penin, Eduardo Staszowski, and Scott Brown discuss the pedagogical opportunities, limits, and difficulties around the training of future transdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners seeking to address a range of complex social and political issues and willing to operate within the interstitial spaces between government, civil society, and the market, where new social innovations can arise. To do so, they focus on a fall 2013 studio course taught in Parsons' Transdisciplinary Design MFA Program titled The NYC Office of Public Imagination. The challenge was for students to design a hypothetical governmental agency, find a place for it inside the existing structure and parameters of city government, and imagine what that agency would do using design as a catalyst for social innovation.

    Towards a Sustainable Present: Urgency and Agency in Transition Design

    A position paper presented by Eduardo Staszowski, Lara Penin, and Andrew Moon to the Transition Design Symposium at the School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University.

    (New) Public Goods

    Edited by Eduardo Staszowski and Scott Brown, this special issue of the Journal of Design Strategies considers the import of design practices concerned with the production and distribution of public goods. The contributions to this issue emerged from ongoing conversations initiated at the Stephan Weiss Lectures for the 2013–2014 academic year; two public events were held at which a group of leading practitioners and scholars were encouraged to reflect on this issue and the critical questions arising from it. Bringing together practitioners, social scientists, and design theorists, this issue explores the challenges design must confront in effecting social change in the public realm. In addressing such challenges, the contributing essays explored the questions such practices pose to the relationship between the infrastructure provided by institutions and regulative norms and emerging forms of commons and community.