This three-credit elective course focuses on contemporary topics in Interdisciplinary Design. Students will undertake immersive educational experiences that expand their skills and understanding of design through interdisciplinary projects.

Public space is most often defined as “an area or place that is open and accessible to all peoples, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. These are public gathering spaces such as plazas, squares and parks. Connecting spaces, such as sidewalks and streets, are also public spaces.” (Inclusion Through Access to Public Space) Through these different forms, public spaces meet many of our needs. They are conduits for social mixing; they allow us to move from one place to another, and back again; they proliferate public values; they support acts of demonstration and activism. The public spaces we currently know have been designed to uphold the well-being of our cities and citizens. So what happens when these needs change – and when these spaces of health and well-being become locations for risk?

This 3 credit interdisciplinary design elective will look at what it means to design for public space while public space – as we know it – is in a state of urgent change. Students will embark on one term-long project, supported by online delivery of discussions, lectures and readings; active self-directed and supported research; and punctuated with short design prompts, guests reviewers and critiques. Projects can respond directly to current crisis’, or be structured in response to an imagined crisis (i.e. science fiction). As an interdisciplinary course, projects will vary across 2D, 3D and 4D outcomes, such as the design of human-scale interventions, publications, and digital/online publics. Students will be supported in developing design processes and projects that are reflective of their current resources, including their access to internet, tools, materials and supplies. Historically, epidemics and pandemics have informed many design developments in public space. What can design do now?

Work cited: “Inclusion Through Access to Public Space: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.” Inclusion Through Access to Public Space | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,, Date of Access April 5, 2020.