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Parsons the New School for Design

A Bottom-up Backpack

By Janson Cheng on December 19, 2014


  GRID-IT The other day, my bag was broken. Right after I got the conclusion that I can not live without a bag, I pressed the “ CHECK OUT” within several alternatives with one-day deliver by paying extra dollars on the Apple online shop. Next day, I got this bag, branded Cocoon. As Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur wrote on their book Business […]

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Redesigning Archives

By on December 16, 2014


The Ethnographic Terminalia collective showed again at this year’s American Anthropological Association annual meeting. Their mission is to engage research in modalities other than text through art practice. This year they set their sights on archives.

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Games and Immersive Role Play as Storytelling

By Aya Jaffar on

Gont Gitmo at the MOMA Moscow

Two weeks ago, I attended the Permanent Garbage: Victor Papanek and Beautiful Visions of Failed Systems symposium held at the Parsons School of Design. The symposium was an extension of the How Things don’t Work: The Dreamspace of Victor Papanek exhibition currently on display at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery.

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Deconstruction of time

By Sneha Srinivasan on

In the book ‘Natural Capitalism’ , Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, introduce the need for a new model of economy. A new model of thinking about economy ; from a product based economy to a service based economy. The business is not to manufacture products but manufacture services for people. So if you are […]

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Who Are The Most Marginalized?

By on


Sungmy Kim I was in a design study group with some designers in South Korea three years ago. Because we were influenced by the exhibition Design For The Other 90%, which dealt with some products and services designed for mostly the third world countries, we took lectures from guests who provided assistance with Africans in […]

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Using viruses as models for infiltrating systems

By Laura Dusi on December 15, 2014


In this first semester at the Transdisciplinary design program at Parsons I have learned that most of my fellow students are interested in making positive changes in society and we early learn the importance of having system literacy in other to achieve that. As inherent to the design field we often talk about adding to […]

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By Stephanie on


Perhaps the most unresolved topic we’ve debated over in class this semester is the question of design imperialism vs. humanitarian design. Bruce Nussbaum’s article, “Is Humanitarian Design the New Imperialism”, sparked a lively debate, to be followed with countless follow up articles, comments, and rebuttals. I began to apply this question to myself, having spent […]

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Good Intentions, Scale, and the Design of Political Possibility

By Sam Haddix on


In 2010, Bruce Nussbaum posed the question: “Is humanitarian design the new imperialism?”1 While he was likely not the first to ask, his prominence in the design community (and perhaps his identity, not so ironically) prompted a debate around the politics of design. The debate took many interesting twists and turns, but only began to change […]

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Back To The Past: Prospective Systems in the 70s

By Andrea S. Morales / www.mentapurpura.com on


I’ve recently become interested in what programming and computation can teach design about systems thinking. The connection seems obvious: programmers have been called “systems engineers”, so I would assume they have a lot to say on the topic. They have also designed most of our modern technoculture, so the pertinence of their opinions on structural design is […]

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Human Protocol: John Zorn and Composing Emergence

By Katie Edmonds on


When discussing emergent systems we generally mean local behavior producing macro results. Scientists observe emergence in nature, and engineers program emergence in the lab, but emergent systems designed for people who actively want to follow protocol to create a macro outcome is a space occupied almost entirely by crowdsourcing engineers. Composer John Zorn also in that space, but his system is entirely human.

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Communicating the new: what moves us to go beyond what we know

By Ricardo Dutra Goncalves on


Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron once said that “embarking on our life’s journey is like getting into a very small boat and setting out on the ocean to search for unknown lands”. She highlights that with wholehearted practice comes inspiration, but soon or later we also encounter fear. That journey seems to me one of exploring […]

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From Solving to Living

By Cameron on


Problems as Opportunities In his book “Community: The Structure for Belonging,” author Peter Block lays out a series of frameworks to promote community connectedness and engagement. At the core of his argument is the idea that we must “shift from seeing problems that need to be solved to seeing possibilities that can be lived into.” […]

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Protest for Uncertainty

By Kate M. on December 14, 2014


In his 2013 report, “Critiquing Social Innovation: What is it? Does it matter?” Nidhi Srinivas uses the story of Rashomon as a model to talk about social innovation from different vantage points.[1] Using specific projects he has studied, he lays out three versions of how one can look at social innovation work.

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Dreamland: tactics, strategies and an ancient village in China

By Isabella Brandalise and Janson Cheng on


Our conversation starts with Dreamland – a project that Janson has been developing with a team for the past one year. The project is constituted by a variety of design solutions for an ancient village in China, with the intention of exploring its qualities and preventing its destruction. [1] Our attempt in this blog post […]

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By Mei-Ling Lu on December 13, 2014

petit h

Ethical fashion is an important trend today.  It is highly related to creativity, craftsmanship, social and environmental responsibilities.  Fashion industry no longer lives in its own ivory tower. It has been changing by ways of designing with natural materials, changing manufacturing processes, reusing previously discarded resources, and providing employment opportunities for people in the Third World […]

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What is branding?

By Stephanie on December 12, 2014


Since attending the TransD program in the Fall semester of 2014, I’ve been reflecting on how I can repurpose my skills from working in branding and graphic design. So far I’ve learned that though it’s not something I still enjoy doing, being able to communicate my ideas visually has been a very useful asset, especially […]

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The Example to End All Debates

By Cameron on December 11, 2014


Throughout the semester, our class has engaged in heated discussions on a series of debate topics. Invariably, the conversations end up in the middle, or they pivot on the use of a single word in the prompt. I take one example of successful design – that of the mobile mapping platform Ushahidi – to make […]

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