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.
An Introduction to Service Design: Designing the Invisible
Written by Lara de Sousa Penin, this book addresses the new and emerging field of service design and the disciplines that feed on and result
from it. Divided into two parts to allow for specific reader requirements, An Introduction to Service Design starts by focusing on the main service design concepts and critical aspects. Part II offers a methodological overview and practical
tools for the service design learner and highlights fundamental capacities the service design student must master. Combined with a number of interviews and case studies from leading service designers, this is a comprehensive, informative exploration
of this exciting new area of design.
Building the Civic Design Field in New York City
Written by Camilla Buchanan, Mariana Amatullo, and Eduardo Staszowski, this paper presents the methodologies used in and the findings of a 2018 study conducted by a diverse set of practitioners in New York City. The study was aimed at mapping current dynamics and identifying barriers to and opportunities for effective application of design in the public sector.
Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon
Edited by Eduardo Staszowski and Virginia Tassinari, this book builds on the revival of interest in Hannah Arendt, and on the increasing turn in design towards the expanded field of the social, it uses insights and quotations drawn from Arendt’s major writings to assemble a new kind of lexicon for politics, designing and acting today. In 2022, the book has been awarded a Compasso D’Oro by the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI). Awarded only every two years the book won in the section for theoretical, historical, critical research and editorial projects in design. Read an interview with the editors here.
Designing Services for Housing
The publication of the findings contained in this guide marks a milestone in 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Public Libraries as Engines of Democracy: A research and pedagogical case study on design for re-entry
Written by Lara de Sousa Penin, Eduardo Staszowski, John Bruce, Barbara Adams and Mariana Amatulllo, this paper presents insights from a collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library that focused on the library’s current re-entry services directed to formerly incarcerated patrons and their families. Drawing from participatory design and visual ethnographic approaches to inquiry, this study contributes to our understanding of the relational dimensions of design and its role as a reflexive and caring practice.
Teaching the Next Generation of Transdisciplinary Thinkers and Practitioners of Design-Based Public and Social Innovation
In this article, Lara de Sousa 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.
The Disobedience of Design
Edited by Lara de Sousa Penin, this book presents for the first time in English, an extensive selection of Gui Bonsiepe’s writings. A mainstay in European and Latin and South American design culture, Bonsiepe's texts remains little known in English-language design literature. The book chronologically charts a cultural bridge between generations, spanning from design discourse of the Ulm School to the issues of early twenty-first century. Even more crucially, it provides valuable insights on the contested relationships between design praxis, design theory, and design research
The Opposing Designs of Urban Activism
A four-part series by Cameron Tonkinwise sharing lessons from Amplifying Creative Communities, a two-year project of the DESIS Lab exploring sustainable social innovations by communities around New York City.
The Politics and Theatre of Service Design
In this article, Lara de Sousa Penin and Cameron Tonkinwise discuss tensions within service design, particularly in jobs in which an inherent asymmetry between the provider and the recipient constrains possibilities for co-creation. This makes service design unavoidably political. The paper also reviews theater methods that can be used by designers to gain an understanding of the political complexities at work in service provision.
Towards a Sustainable Present: Urgency and Agency in Transition Design
A position paper presented by Eduardo Staszowski, Lara de Sousa Penin, and Andrew Moon to the Transition Design Symposium at the School
of Design, Carnegie Mellon University.
Trickery in Design: Cooptation, Subversion and Politics
In this book chapter, Nidhi Srinivas and Eduardo Staszowski discuss the question of whose interests designers serve and the way design sometimes interacts with organizational
and political processes to thwart intentions.