How Would Design Education Engage with the Local Territorial Context? An Example from a Newly Industrialized Country

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


By its very nature, industrial design education tries to be in close contact with the industry. Design academics try to foresee the future needs of the industry and revise the existing education programs accordingly. As industrial design education is traditionally structured to address the general needs of mainly
large manufacturing companies, its sphere of interest does not commonly cover the economic and social problems pertaining to certain contexts and localities. This has been especially the experience of industrial design education in countries like Turkey as its establishment accompanied the modernization process of those countries. In these countries, the design education’s links
with the local context have been weak and the conditions existing on the ground have usually been ignored by design academics as they were expected to change as a consequence of the industrial and cultural development process that they would go through in time (Er and Kaya, 2008; Er and Er, 2006). This situation started to change mainly due to the enormity of the challenges ahead of the countries resulting from socio-economic and environmental problems. These problems force design education to re-interpret its mission and broaden its
scope of interest as to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. On the other hand, the specifi c nature of the problems to the local contexts requires the development of specifi c solutions to those contexts. This paper reports an example of design education’s engagement with the problems and challenges pertaining to a specifi c locality. The particular engagement consists of a diagnosis study to identify the nature of a productive network in a district of historical signifi cance in Istanbul. The study constitutes a part of a series of activities to increase the visibility of the positive qualities of the district and to explore how design and design thinking can help in generating viable proposals for their survival and upgrading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCumulus Proceedings Shanghai
Subtitle of host publicationYoung Creators For Better City & Better Life 2010
EditorsYongqi Lou, Xiaocun Zhu
Place of PublicationHelsinki, Finland
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)978-952-60-0046-6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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