Having the belief that design can foster growth among various different types of people and communities, being a part of Building the Block With Rhythm in Springdale, Arkansas solidified that notion.
Human Centered Design is a design philosophy that I have been so fascinated with ever since becoming a designer. So many times during the process of putting the block party together was I confronted with having to consider multiple different aspects that would never directly affect me or people like me. Considering the diversity of languages and cultures that would be at the block party prompted me to think every step of the way about the translation of information, or the simplification of it to make it easily understandable across different languages and cultural norms. We also had to make sure that what we were creating was with them and not for them. We had to better understand who they were and abandon our vision and instead design through the vision of the neighborhood and the community. The vision of TASC and the neighborhood was to provide a way for the people living in this specific community to connect and interact. Another goal was to create a directory that the neighborhood could use for different resources that are provided with the people living there. Even more broadly, TASC wanted a model that could be transferred to multiple different types of communities, not just this Springdale neighborhood.
In using Human Centered Design principles to guide the formation of different booths, those booths in action were places where we as designers were designing with the community. Those direct points of interaction affect where we go from there and influences how we design with them in the future. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how this block party can transform into something that is controlled by that neighborhood and designed by them. Perhaps that is something to eventually work towards to help these communities feel more confident and comfortable in their spaces. Thinking of this event as iteration one, I can’t wait to see how it continues to refine and grow.