Public Interest Design and Its Impact on Architecture and Urban Design Education: Pointers for Turkey
Public interest design can be defined as a community-based approach to designing products, environments and systems that expands disciplinary boundaries and professional practices and relevance of planning and design disciplines in 21st century. Since 1960s, participatory design and planning began to develop based on concepts such as equity, social justice and the right to the city. Mostly, public interest design practice is working to find out ways to provide architecture and urban design services for communities who cannot otherwise afford them. In the last decade, the impact of this approach is also reflected in architecture and urban design education. Public Interest Design and Research Centres are established in architecture schools in USA and Europe where academics and students work with communities on real issues in existing contexts, either as part of the curriculum or as independent projects and programmes. In Turkey, public interest design is a growing field of practice. Young professionals and students from architecture, planning and other disciplines work together with communities often on a voluntary basis or pro bono. A recent exhibition by the Chamber of Architects brought some of these groups and their projects onto the agenda. Although professional interest is growing, architectural education has not yet responded to this new way of practice. The aim of this paper is to analyse the international experience in public interest design and its impact on education in terms of opportunities and challenges and provide some pointers for architecture and urban design education in Turkey.
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