The focus of SHAPING SPACE on forming synergistic collaborations between numerous disciplines enhances public scholarship and extends the impact of the research consortium beyond academia. By synthesizing artistic, theoretical and technological perspectives and positions, we will investigate key research questions about the role of the digital in relation to art, architecture and design, and the impact on the future of society, markets and innovation. In particular will address a number of key challenges facing society in relation to digital infrastructures and digital processes. These include:
How can the participating scientific and artistic disciplines be brought into a productive dialog to address the needs of future human habitats?
How can spatial design practice change or adapt to technological and social transformations?
How can design strategies be developed that are sustainable in regard to technological transformation?
What are the limits of generative or algorithmic design methods regarding human spatial perception?
What potentials lie in virtual, augmented or networked spaces in regard to new social configurations and how do these technological developments necessitate a re-thinking of the virtual and the actual?
Our transdisciplinary approach addresses the challenge of responding to current public needs given the prioritization of identified problems over other discipline-specific concerns. This will be achieved through bringing together scientific and non-scientific stakeholders. These partnerships will support capacity building within the research consortium for achieving our research objectives as well as disseminating our research outcomes through public outreach and communication.
The advantages of this constellation are that it is best suited to tackle any number of so-called wicked problems in design. Wickedness here is not solely characterized by the difficulty of finding a solution. Rather, such problems thwart solutions by displaying contradictory qualitative information because causal relations cannot be identified, or because of a constant shift in starting conditions (i.e., moving targets). Typical examples include urban renewal programs in which a host of time-dependent factors – from employment opportunities, affordable housing, trans- port infrastructures, and health services to community attitudes – make it impossible to identify a single, clear solution. Historically, wicked problems have been typically addressed through homogenous teams of scientists and technologists. Such problem spaces are highly ambiguous and have no clear yes or no solutions, only better or worse options for resolution, which themselves may reveal further design challenges. Furthermore, developed solutions may not be durable in regard to future technologies or other societal developments. SHAPING SPACE can provide an alternative to the traditional model by addressing such problem spaces with additional knowledge bases from art and design. The advantage of this approach is that flexible teams with multiple view- points, methodologies and expertise may provide more durable solutions.