Human Centered Design for Empathy in the Landscape | Anna Stachofsky | TEDxBallStateUniversity

July 24, 2019 posted by

there are two things you all need to know about me before we get started number one is I am a plethora of enthusiasm and now you have all been warned about it so you can't complain the second thing is I love people and the combination of those two things has not always been very well received we will take my friend Dan for example his real name's dan I'm not shying away from that I am a type-a personality we are both Landscape Architecture students however Dan was a Type B personality now imagine being a type B personality and having a Type A personality like myself invading your privacy at 3:00 in the morning this is how Dan and I met each other to this day he still thinks I'm the world's most annoying person and those are his words not mine so I'm allowed to say it but this is just who I am I am bold I am assertive and I'm different my experiences at the College of Architecture and planning have led me to perceive that I am different and it's because most of my architectural peers are like my friend Dan they do not and are not as enthused by people as much as I am and it's been making me feel just a little bit out of place like my enthusiasm is somehow wrong it just felt like for the longest time that I did not have the right personality to be in my field but there are hundreds of personalities in the design community and we are all in pursuit of designing better environments and it got me to thinking that in today's world we have so much more that we have to show beyond our graphic skill that will actually encourage and appease the incoming generation you see it's very common knowledge at this point that humans are reaching maximum capacity I'm not just talking about world population but our daily lives we are each on the brink of mental and physical collapse brought on by the increasing needs to work to be socially relevant and to achieve this sense of perceived greatness in fact those are the many attributes associated with the astonishing rise in Western culture narcissism and you don't have to take my word for it either Peter gray PhD in biological sciences and research professor Boston College has stated that researchers have been surveying collegiate students since the 70s and their findings have concluded that approximately 70% of students today score higher on narcissism and lower on empathy than the average student did 30 years ago this means our incoming generations are gradually losing their ability to feel empathy and this is leading to a lack of interest a lack of trust and a lack of respect for other people and our environments and it's because of this dilemma that I realized just how much my over exuberant personality can actually contribute to the overall progression of landscape architecture because without these outgoing people personas like mine then we are essentially leaving the future of our social environments to our antisocial designers now I've been studying for the past few months of the year in preparation for my own undergraduate thesis crown fountain and Millennium Park continues to be a huge inspiration of mine as I seek to design landscapes like this one a place that puts equity and empathy back into our communities now in the interest of time I'm going to summarize what I've learned over the course of several months into 30 seconds human centered design is a term idea org uses in their 2015 handbook titled the field guide to human centered design in my research this includes a diverse array of designers and users who come together to plan communities that are based on the individual and collective identity furthermore this is really important for citizens because they can see how their opinions and worldviews affect the community around them all in all this should encourage the designer and citizen alike to increase their amounts of empathy and start to see what their value and impact has on the communities around them now if I were to ask you to repeat what I just said to you would you be able to do it no don't even try and challenge me on this here's the thing human centered design is a difficult definition and that's not the point that I want you to know it is not a textbook definition it is an idea and what matters is how this idea can positively impact the future of our communities because human centered design is the link between creativity and philanthropy it means its fostering a deeper understanding between the people that make communities and the people that live in them furthermore it means that the humans who involve themselves in this activity trigger a sense of higher value and purpose to do this architects and planners much reach out to include people in our decision-making and it cannot be left to public agencies and traditional platforms alone and you would never think that architecture had any impact on you especially not your levels of empathy but just imagine what happens these strangers gather together on the quest to improve our quality of life and these strangers sitting next to you hold a value and opinions and purpose just like you maybe you'll realize that the person sitting next to you has more value and more in common with you than you have previously perceived and if we have the power to improve our quality of life what is then stopping us from then improving the quality of life for all peoples by engaging in political social and ecological debates because we continue to divide our country because we have been so absorbed and so powerless under the demands of our own daily living we have the chance to change our fate in this story of human centered design but in order to see where it leads us it must begin so let us be bold be assertive and be different and if designers and community members of all personalities can learn to embrace one another it may just be what this country needs to forge into the future as an empathetic nation thank you you

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