Abstract

This paper focuses on designers’ roles in enabling a sustainable livelihood in disadvantaged communities. The paper draws from collaborative investigations with physical disabilities people in Amphoe Phrapradaeng in Samutprakran province in Thailand between 2007-2011.As the qualitative research, participatory action research was employed as a research strategy. This research has a basis in the theoretical frameworks established in the field of Human-Centered Design, a specific approach to design and Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, an approach for community development. The research procedures were composed of 1) recruiting participants; 2) facilitating and enabling the participants to gather their own data and do the necessary analysis; 3) providing an opportunity for the participants to create their own plans and actions, to make a decision, and pursue their own solutions; 4) encouraging them to work collaboratively with other residents and organizations; and 5) monitoring and effectiveness evaluation with the participants. The findings have shown that the shift of the designers’ role from a solution provider to a sustainable change agent can enable the participants to achieve their livelihood outcomes that they desire. As a facilitator, a designer can provide an equal opportunity to community members to take part in planning and making a decision on the project that would be implemented in the community. As an enabler, a designer can guide the participants to investigate their own situation, do necessary analysis, and transform their capabilities to their positive outcomes. As a sustainable change agent, a designer can provide an opportunity for the participants to deal with key task and issues, so that they can become more self-reliance. In this case study, the participants also devised a complementary income-generating activity which enabled them to continue to the improvement of their capabilities, to earn income and reinforce their value in their community, and to reduce their vulnerability.

Keywords

designer’ roles, sustainable livelihoods, Participatory Action Research, Human-Centered Design, Sustainable Livelihoods Approach

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Roles of Designers in Enabling Sustainability of Livelihoods in Disadvantaged Communities

This paper focuses on designers’ roles in enabling a sustainable livelihood in disadvantaged communities. The paper draws from collaborative investigations with physical disabilities people in Amphoe Phrapradaeng in Samutprakran province in Thailand between 2007-2011.As the qualitative research, participatory action research was employed as a research strategy. This research has a basis in the theoretical frameworks established in the field of Human-Centered Design, a specific approach to design and Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, an approach for community development. The research procedures were composed of 1) recruiting participants; 2) facilitating and enabling the participants to gather their own data and do the necessary analysis; 3) providing an opportunity for the participants to create their own plans and actions, to make a decision, and pursue their own solutions; 4) encouraging them to work collaboratively with other residents and organizations; and 5) monitoring and effectiveness evaluation with the participants. The findings have shown that the shift of the designers’ role from a solution provider to a sustainable change agent can enable the participants to achieve their livelihood outcomes that they desire. As a facilitator, a designer can provide an equal opportunity to community members to take part in planning and making a decision on the project that would be implemented in the community. As an enabler, a designer can guide the participants to investigate their own situation, do necessary analysis, and transform their capabilities to their positive outcomes. As a sustainable change agent, a designer can provide an opportunity for the participants to deal with key task and issues, so that they can become more self-reliance. In this case study, the participants also devised a complementary income-generating activity which enabled them to continue to the improvement of their capabilities, to earn income and reinforce their value in their community, and to reduce their vulnerability.

 

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