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The UC San Diego Design Lab

The UC San Diego Design Lab

The UC San Diego Design Lab

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and MakingTOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

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"I think we have to start over. And we may need very separate networks. The notion that there is one network that is for everything maybe is wrong. We used to have separate networks. They were, in fact, determined by the technology. Hence radio was different than telephones, which was different than television, which was different than printed books. And today we say, “Nah, it’s all information,” and that this isn’t that neat, because on the internet you can do all of that. Well, OK. But the content is really what’s important, not the technology or the way it’s distributed. And I would love to find a different scheme where people are controlling their own data." - Don Norman

Opinion: Becoming a World Design Capital would improve life in San Diego-Tijuana

San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed by Mayor Todd Gloria

I believe that San Diego is one of the world’s greatest cities, and together with our sister city Tijuana, we form a dynamic, multicultural area unlike anywhere else. Both as a lifelong San Diegan and the mayor of San Diego, I am proud that our city is one of two finalists in the running to be selected as the World Design Capital in 2024. Earning this designation would highlight the unique character of our binational region and show the entire world that our diversity is our strength.

Just as design has continued to address complex challenges at our border and between our cities, we continue to improve the quality of life in San Diego through thoughtful, human-centered design. The transformation of the Plaza de Panama at Balboa Park, Waterfront Park and Liberty Station are only a few examples of how we’ve begun to think about public space differently in San Diego over the last decade.
Building New Bridges: San Diego And Tijuana’s Combined Bid Breaks Down Barriers To Bi-National Cooperation

Building New Bridges: San Diego and Tijuana’s Combined Bid Breaks Down Barriers to Bi-National Cooperation

As dusk hovered over The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park on October 3 at the ‘Welcome Home, Bienvenido a Casa’ event, reflections off the San Diego Bay illuminated an evening of excited anticipation more than five years in the making. Will the San Diego-Tijuana megaregion take home the win in their bid to be the 2024 World Design Capital? Or will it be their competitors, Moscow?

Hosting the event and spearheading the San Diego-Tijuana bid initiative is the interorganizational collaboration of Design Forward Alliance, UC San Diego Design Lab and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement, with the full support of the City of San Diego and City of Tijuana and regional elected officials. This collective was created to amplify San Diego’s capacity as a global leader in human-centered design-driven innovation. The combined communities of art, culture, business, education, civic and design worked together in a multi-year, multi-national collaboration culminating in this night of solidarity for the joint-effort to win the coveted World Design Capital designation—a year-long city promotion program that would begin in 2024 and put the region on the global stage as a world-class innovator of economic, social, cultural and environmental design solutions for a better society.

“It’s not just about gaining the World Design Capital title,” said the Director of The Design Lab, Mai Thi Nguyen. “It’s about how we actually want to contribute and collaborate on multidisciplinary design innovation throughout the region, nationally and globally.”
Mai Nguyen

Announcing Appointment of Mai Thi Nguyen, Director of The Design Lab

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen as the next Faculty Director of the Design Lab, effective March 24, 2021.

Dr. Nguyen holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine and an M.A. in Sociology from Pennsylvania State University. She is an associate professor in the department of City & Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she directs the Center for Community Capital, a non-partisan, multi-disciplinary research center housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Nguyen additionally directs the Academic Leadership Program at UNC-CH, providing leadership training and mentorship to cohorts of academic leaders. She also serves as Director of the Equity and Resilience Lab, whose members are dedicated to the inquiry of equity and resilience in urban planning and public policy.
Idea Lab Design Lab

IDEA LAB Spring 2021

In collaboration with UC San Diego The Design Lab and The Basement, the Idea Lab is a quarter-long foundational program designed to introduce students to the ideas of design thinking and how it complements entrepreneurship through hands-on experiences and collaborative work with students from a variety of academic disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives.  This program is ideal for both students who want to learn about design thinking and for students who need help getting “unstuck” from their current problem space.  Participants who successfully complete the program requirements of the Idea Lab may have the option to continue their journey with a focus on entrepreneurship in The Basement’s Summer Converge Program.

Application opens Monday, Feb. 1st at 12PM noon, closes Sunday, Feb. 21st @ 11:59pm
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