Print Email Facebook Twitter Product Design for Social Impact Title Product Design for Social Impact Author Heijltjes, M.J. Contributor De Rijk, T.R.A. (mentor) Tromp, N. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Industrial Design Programme Master of Science Integrated Product Design Date 2011-02-25 Abstract This master thesis shows a design project in which the Design for Social Impact method is applied, and evaluated, in Afrikaanderwijk, a socio-economically weak area of Rotterdam, for housing corporation Vestia. Afrikaanderwijk is a part of Rotterdam that has been subject to numerous urban renewal plans in the last couple of decades. A neighborhood which, to an extent, has lost its’ raison d’être since the harbour it was built next to was closed in the seventies. This former harbour oriented working-class area is now a highly cultural and ethnical diverse area which, in spite of these urban renewal projects, is still plagued by an array of complex economic, social and physical problems; high unemployment rates, insufficient youth support, high crime rates, little or no opportunities for social encounters, feelings of insecurity and very limited social mobility to name but a few. Estrade, a subsidiary company of housing corporation Vestia and owning over 85% of the social housing in the area, is now the instigator of a new wave of projects with the intent to address the aforementioned problems and improve the living standard in the neighborhood. In this design project I have strived to design a product that contributes to the improvement of living conditions through implicitly influencing users’ behaviour. As a focal point for this design I have chosen the social phenomenon of ‘social ties’. First research was done on how social ties within Afrikaanderwijk should be influenced for general social benefit. Through observation, interviews and literature research factors influencing social ties, and consequently how social ties can influence the community were defined. With these factors a new context was created in which Mark Granovetter’s theory “The Strength of Weak Ties” formed the basis. This defined the design direction, or the statement; I want to create bridging weak ties in Afrikaanderwijk. Bridging weak ties are social contacts with members from social groups different from one’s own. These bridging weak ties, or social bridges generate more diversity in information flow, creating more opportunities for the members of the community, more familiarity and more social cohesion. In Afrikaanderwijk there are rigid divisions between social networks, or different communities and ethnic groups. Specifically the Turkish community is very closed off from its’ environment, but this goes for more communities within the area. Social control within the group and lack of familiarity with others outside of the group prevents social bridges from emerging. Next the most concrete behaviour resulting in the previously defined statement was defined; I want inhabitants of Afrikaanderwijk to make contact with others outside of their regular social circles. A specific domain in which these social bridges could develop with the presumed highest possibility and efficienty was chosen; parents around the schoolyard. This was directly related to the next step in which a strategy for realizing this desired behaviour was developed. The contact between parents on the schoolyard is limited, and the barriers for making contact with members of different communities are very high. The strategy applied was twofold: -I wanted in my design to focus on positive (inter-cultural) human characteristics, stressing the similarities, to create moments of familiarity to overcome, or at least lower reserves for instigating contact. -I wanted the design to focus on the children’s’ goals and concerns, and parents acting in their favor. The parents would be more willing to overcome their own inhibitions for making new contact, if they accomplish something for their child in the process. In addition, the randomness of the contacts (cross-cultural/bridging) is less apparent with the children, this opens up possibilities. The design is an addition to the way birthdays in primary school are celebrated. Birthdays are not celebrated at home in every culture, but in school everyone does. And indiscriminately the birthday is a highly anticipated event, for the child and in many cases the parent as well. The design is a slide that on regular days is part of the school playground for the older kids, ages 6 and up, accessible with stairs. However, on the 6th birthday of students the slide provides a bridge between celebrations inside, and the parent outside. This is made possible by the parents helping the parent of the birthday child in moving the slide from its’ normal position towards the classroom window, allowing the children (birthday child first) to slide down from the window to the schoolyard. Moving the slide is only possible with the help of others, this is the first moment of contact. With the joy and discharge of the child at the end of the long day in mind, the parent will be implicitly forced, but not experience this as force, to approach or come in contact with others. The focus will be on the end of the slide. The characteristic birthday treats will be handed out, and in a positive, festive and (for the children) euphoric situation emphasis is put on the similarities and positive human characteristics of the parents interacting with their children. In time, the birthday celebration can become a ritual, and a system of reciprocity (parent offering and asking each others aid) can come to be. The repetition of the ritual, and with that the accumulation of the moments of recognized similarity will build up inter-group familiarity with the ‘forced’ moments of collaboration and asking for help providing moments of contact. Subject social design To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:67988c59-bf62-41d4-af30-a627e3b328b6 Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2011 Heijltjes, M.J.