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Mindful urban dwelling: building community resilience by caring for the commons

How can we affect policy from the bottom-up?

In the midst of climate change, a global pandemic, and an increasingly complex world, urban communities are in need of novel ways to adapt to the new conditions. Climate change causes unprecedented affects to cities around the world. Effects such as heatwaves (unusually hot weather for an extended period of time), the social challenge in focus, can impact human health severely, especially of those in poor condition. The European heatwave in 2003, claimed nearly 70,000 lives. Modern lifestyles, institutions, social processes, and the built environment are not prepared for a rapid succession of extreme weather conditions. Life in crisis is potentially a constant condition. Communities are in need of proactive, distributed, and collective decision-making.

“Stronger human relationships, can foster resilience and adaptation from crises.”
Joseph Kesisoglou

This project creates a social networking platform which helps citizens address problems in their communities through collaboration, so they can deal with impending crises rapidly and be prepared for the next one. Citizens (urban dwellers) become mindful of local situations affecting their life and that of their fellow dwellers, through the practices of observation, documentation and sharing. The platform can be better understood as the soil on which relationships can grow.

By using this platform, citizens can suggest new ideas for improving their neighbourhood’s wellbeing, as well as mobilise key people for making their ideas a reality (for example the council, neighbours, local businesses). Through a mobile app, citizens can share their suggestions for public deliberation and discuss with their neighbours. These ideas can range between street accessibility, greening, and provisions for heatwaves such as water fountains, more shade, and care for the most needy members of the community. Stronger relationships can foster greater resilience.

“Owning the right tools, can give people agency, a voice to express their vision.”
Joseph Kesisoglou

Crisis (from the Greek κρίσις – krisis) is an event of emergency and instability. A lesser known definition is that of making a difficult decision, a dilemma. On a daily basis we all make multiple decisions. Therefore, a crisis can be defined as a condition which we all experience constantly. When we talk about crises we should also be thinking of the bigger picture.

This project highlights the role of designers as decision makers, who must be mindful of increasing complexity, political polarisation, and dogmatic modes of being (infinite growth). Designers must become acutely sensitive to diverse world-views, indigenous practices, histories of technology, and therefore the limitations in designing at scale. Designers should confront the status quo, and strive for equitable futures.

“Caring for the commons is a step closer to caring for each other.”
Joseph Kesisoglou


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    Joseph Kesisoglou


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